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Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
Gothenburg
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Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby Gothenburg » Tue, 17 Apr 2018 8:51 pm

Hi,

I am new here, and joined to ask the following question.

I am 36, Swedish and met my girlfriend while she was working in Sweden. She was born in Malaysia but has lived her entire life in Singapore. She has PR in Singapore and recently applied for citizenship. We have no children.

She recently had to move back to Singapore for work. The plan is for her and myself to move permanently to Sweden in 2020/2021. She will need these 2-3 years to advance her career sufficiently so she can get a permanent position in Sweden.

I am trying to find out a way to spend at least some of those 2-3 years in Singapore with her. I am self-employed in Sweden as owner and CEO of a small software company (no employees, only a couple of freelance contractors), and I could theoretically work from anywhere, as long as I have internet. I make six figures in SGD per year. I know that I can stay up to 3 months in Singapore as a tourist, but this would probably be limited to 1-2 visits before I must have a proper visa. She, on the other hand, barely has any holiday at all, and cannot work remotely.

Our plan is to get married in 2020/2021, once we have moved to Sweden. I have spent a couple of days researching various options for me to stay in Singapore in the meantime, and it seems that the only option for me would be to set up a company in Singapore, shift over (some of?) my IT business from Sweden to that company and later apply for an Employment Pass as owner/CEO, once the company has been running successfully for a while. My clients do not care where my business is based, so moving the business should be a fairly straightforward operation.

Is this a feasible plan? Are there other options? Would someone be able to recommend a reliable law firm or similar company in Singapore where I would be guaranteed accurate answers to my questions? Google brings up a host of companies offering incorporation + EP in Singapore, but I have no means of verifying how reliable they are.

While looking at the EP requirements, I noticed that university degrees were mentioned. I never finished mine, I set up my company as a student and ended up never finishing my degree. I've been in this business for 15 years and have never needed a degree, which is common enough in software development.

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Strong Eagle
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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 10:32 am

Gothenburg wrote:Hi,

I am new here, and joined to ask the following question.

I am 36, Swedish and met my girlfriend while she was working in Sweden. She was born in Malaysia but has lived her entire life in Singapore. She has PR in Singapore and recently applied for citizenship. We have no children.

She recently had to move back to Singapore for work. The plan is for her and myself to move permanently to Sweden in 2020/2021. She will need these 2-3 years to advance her career sufficiently so she can get a permanent position in Sweden.

I am trying to find out a way to spend at least some of those 2-3 years in Singapore with her. I am self-employed in Sweden as owner and CEO of a small software company (no employees, only a couple of freelance contractors), and I could theoretically work from anywhere, as long as I have internet. I make six figures in SGD per year. I know that I can stay up to 3 months in Singapore as a tourist, but this would probably be limited to 1-2 visits before I must have a proper visa. She, on the other hand, barely has any holiday at all, and cannot work remotely.

Our plan is to get married in 2020/2021, once we have moved to Sweden. I have spent a couple of days researching various options for me to stay in Singapore in the meantime, and it seems that the only option for me would be to set up a company in Singapore, shift over (some of?) my IT business from Sweden to that company and later apply for an Employment Pass as owner/CEO, once the company has been running successfully for a while. My clients do not care where my business is based, so moving the business should be a fairly straightforward operation.

Is this a feasible plan? Are there other options? Would someone be able to recommend a reliable law firm or similar company in Singapore where I would be guaranteed accurate answers to my questions? Google brings up a host of companies offering incorporation + EP in Singapore, but I have no means of verifying how reliable they are.

While looking at the EP requirements, I noticed that university degrees were mentioned. I never finished mine, I set up my company as a student and ended up never finishing my degree. I've been in this business for 15 years and have never needed a degree, which is common enough in software development.


You probably have a better chance than most in forming a private limited and applying for an EP so that you can legally reside in Singapore. You will need to start with one of the firms that supplies rented directors, as you cannot be a director without an EP, and you can't get an EP without having a director apply for it.

Be aware that these companies will require that they be your secretary, your auditor, and your bookkeeper, and they will require that they see all bank transactions, approve all employment passes, etc. This is because their rented director, no matter "nominee" or not, is legally liable for the actions of your company.

If you read some of the many threads I have posted in, you will see that it is incumbent upon you to prove up you have a real business, real clients, business know how, and cash to see you through to profitability. Do not let these muppets at the rent_a_director companies sell you a pile of crap by applying for an EP for you at $10,000 per month with no supporting revenues. You will be rejected.

Instead, you must submit a realistic business plan with financials that show how you get paid, either via cash infusion from loans or equity into the company, or from profits. In your case, your lack of a degree matters far less than your ability to demonstrate that you know how to run a successful business. You might read up in the Business forum on the somewhat dated but still relevant, "Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass." You'll get an idea of where you need to come from to be successful.

But, the Entrepass these days is not the way to go... you probably won't qualify and the requirements to retain it are onerous.

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PNGMK
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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 1:28 pm

SE - his SPR girlfriend can be the requisite resident director (but not secretary) - that solves his problem.

I agree for this case it's a pretty easy path forward as the OP has a viable business to transfer into Singapore. In fact there is a new visa coming out for these cases (some sort of new IT entrepreneur visa?).
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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby Gothenburg » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 2:05 pm

Thank you. I recently paid a visit to one such company in Singapore, and was far from impressed. Virtually no legal advice whatsoever, just a long list of services I may or may not need and their associated costs. Basically only information already available on their website. It also seems that some of these companies say you can apply for EP after 3 months' operation, others say you need to wait 6 months.

I would be very grateful if someone can recommend a reliable provider of such services. I will search the forum for related threads in the meantime.

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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 4:27 pm

Gothenburg wrote:Thank you. I recently paid a visit to one such company in Singapore, and was far from impressed. Virtually no legal advice whatsoever, just a long list of services I may or may not need and their associated costs. Basically only information already available on their website. It also seems that some of these companies say you can apply for EP after 3 months' operation, others say you need to wait 6 months.

I would be very grateful if someone can recommend a reliable provider of such services. I will search the forum for related threads in the meantime.


You don't strictly need a provider. You can register a company online right now with ACRA.gov.sg and your gf details and you can get going. You do need some assistance with the forms for annual submissions - I use a local provider but honestly they are all the same I think.

Steps - most of this can be done remotely.

1. Register with ACRA - use your gf as director and her residence as address.
2. Open company bank account in Singapore
3. Create business plan and begin company activities while....
4. Apply MOM for EP as employee of company. (Investigate the new visa category)
5. When time for annual report comes up then find a local secretary company.
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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby joannajane » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 4:42 pm

I set up a Pte Ltd in December and got my EP in January. I didn't submit a business plan or anything. To be honest I still consider myself ridiculously lucky but having said that you need to have quite a fair bit of cash and to follow the rules. You can PM me if you like, I wholly recommend the lawyer I used (don't think I'm allowed to say her name on here) and a friend has just been down the same route as me, with her. As others have said, your gf can be the Company Secretary so that already shaves off a fee.

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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby joannajane » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 4:43 pm

joannajane wrote:I set up a Pte Ltd in December and got my EP in January. I didn't submit a business plan or anything. To be honest I still consider myself ridiculously lucky but having said that you need to have quite a fair bit of cash and to follow the rules. You can PM me if you like, I wholly recommend the lawyer I used (don't think I'm allowed to say her name on here) and a friend has just been down the same route as me, with her. As others have said, your gf can be the Company Secretary so that already shaves off a fee.


Having said this I was already working in Singapore for 6.5 years and in a similar role for 3, but she can definitely advise you honestly.

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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 18 Apr 2018 9:44 pm

Gothenburg wrote:Thank you. I recently paid a visit to one such company in Singapore, and was far from impressed. Virtually no legal advice whatsoever, just a long list of services I may or may not need and their associated costs. Basically only information already available on their website. It also seems that some of these companies say you can apply for EP after 3 months' operation, others say you need to wait 6 months.

I would be very grateful if someone can recommend a reliable provider of such services. I will search the forum for related threads in the meantime.


PNGMK is correct... I missed the fact that your girlfriend is PR. She can setup the company and be its resident director.

The application fee at ACRA is a tad more than S$300, as I recall, and a Singapore CPA should be able to get everything filed, get your minutes setup, etc, for about a $1000 in total. Since neither you nor your GF are familiar with the Singapore Companies Act, you'll want an outside secretary even if you do have two directors in the future. I forget the costs for same but they were reasonable.

PM me and I'll give you the name of the CPA I used for my company. She also handled all my bookkeeping chores and financial statement production, again, for a reasonable sum. She will be able to handle all of the mechanics of any transaction you need to carry out with IRAS, ACRA, and a bank... it's still going to be up to you to have a coherent plan for getting that EP.

PS: All those companies offering a rented director are pretty much useless but at this point in time, are the only game in town unless you have access to another legally resident director, crazy enough to take on the legal responsibilities of your company, ie, your girlfriend.

Historically, it used to be that practically every CPA in town had some uncle or auntie hiding in the wings who would be glad to be your nominee director for $600 per year. Then, one or more of the companies that these rented directors directed, got into deep shit for money laundering and/or other illegal activities, and it was the director that was left hanging, because, in the end, it is the director who is civilly and criminally liable for the actions of the company.

Word travels fast at the monthly CPA meetings, and before you know it, no CPA is offering rented directors any more... except the firms that you've been talking to. About all they know for sure is that they are on the hook for your actions... therefore, they want to keep an eye on you like a June bug under a magnifying glass... and of course, in addition to a pretty stout amount charged for the director, there are the fairly outrageous fees for other services, it's a profitable business.

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Re: Swede + Singaporean PR gf

Postby Gothenburg » Sat, 21 Apr 2018 11:03 am

Thank you, everyone. Would be very grateful for contacts (CPA etc.).


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