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Contractors in Singapore

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CooperS
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Contractors in Singapore

Postby CooperS » Thu, 06 Sep 2007 11:20 pm

Hi guys – I hope this finds everyone well. Let me start by apologising if the subject concerned has already been raised in previous threads; I’ve tried to scour through every page however I don’t think this question has been asked.

I work as a freelance IT Consultant here in London, England. Freelance meaning on a contract basis - I prefer this style of working as the contracts are usually project based, short-ish and pay extremely well in comparison to the full time packages. To maximize my income I run everything though my own company; this allows me to set my own salary, make claims on travel, fuel and daily subsistence as well as pay myself in dividends. In short it’s a great situation to be in personally.

I have recently been offered a position in Singapore with a large European bank requiring consultancy. It’s a 10 month contract initially and starting soon-ish. I got head hunted from an agency directly in Singapore which I still find strange as I never applied????

Anyway – my question to you experienced expats is - are any of you there as contractors? And if so do any of you run a local scheme (our own company) to maximize your incomes? Although coming from London I am not being offered an expat package and everything I’ve been quoted has been in S$. Also, recruitment officers here in the UK are a bit like lawyers – blood sucking monsters!! Can I trust the local recruitment officers or is that just a stupid question.

Appreciate any responses – sorry again if this has already been discussed in previous threads.

Anwar

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 06 Sep 2007 11:28 pm

Welcome to the SingaporeExpat forum. I have taken the liberty of deleting your identical spammed post in the General Forum (multiple postings). We do this to conserve bandwidth and repetitive wasting of peoples times as we generally scan most of the threads here.

Regarding your queries, the following two threads might be a good place to start. Strong Eagle and ukdesigner both have set up IT companies. Most recently ukdesigner. Hope these help for starters.

Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Entrepass Likelihood


Local headhunters? Definitely a notch below UK ones. At least from a professionalism point of view. (the majority anyway) I had 16 years in that arena. There are a few reasonable ones but none that I would recommend by name.

sms

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Postby CooperS » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 5:10 am

Thanks SMS - appreciate your response; looking into it now.

Sorry about the double posting.

Have a good one

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 3:05 pm

You might want to post a few more queries just to bump up your post count to 5. This will cause your PM function to activate giving you the option of making queries directly to Strong Eagle or ukdesigner directly if you don't want to put something on the open forum.

sms

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Postby CooperS » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 3:32 pm

;-)

Cheers Ears

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Postby ukdesigner » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 4:00 pm

As sms has mentioned me I think I ought to jump in here.. :lol:

I recently set-up my own graphic design business here from the UK. I kept UK clients so luckily earn uk money!! :D

To be freelance you need an entrepass as sms mentioned. Basically you have to submit a business plan, cashflow projections... blah blah blah.. you know the stuff. Same as what a bank manager wants!! If the company are going to employ you then they will have to apply for an employment pass for you. Pros and cons of both really. If you have entrepass and you like it you can stay (normally for 2 years then needs to be renewed). However I am not 100% sure if they will give you one just for a one off 10 month contract as that tends to be more of an contractual job and therefore not self-employed. That would entail the employer sorting out the EP for you and you can then only work for them. When the contract ends they will terminate your EP and off you go home. Simple and straightforward, subject to getting it in the first place.

I must admit that I followed the information on this site regarding submitting an entrepass application but I sent it in from the UK. I used a local company address (serviced office - I can give you the details if you want of them) and another local company to register the business once I had the approval in principle letter. It was all very straightforward with exception to one thing. The LOCAL bank. I will give you a warning.... to open a bank account is straightforward. To get some of them to provide you a guarantee letter (basically a £1000 / $3000 bond) is another thing. My bank (and I wont say here - PM me if you wanna know) took 6 weeks to do it and they charge you and I even provided them with the letter. USELESS is the polite word. As a fellow brit I'm sure you can imagine the other "polite" words I used. Just be careful because with that bond you can't get your pass and with the pass you can't work etc etc. A nice vicious little circle.

On a personal note I love it here. Warm climate, nice people, cheap food and transport, booze is pretty much the same price as in the uk and ciggies are marginally cheaper. property to rent is cheaper than London in my opinion but the clubs, pubs etc aren't on a par. They're good but not as good. All in all if you want to experience a bit of culture, shops that open everyday till late and want to visit a few places in asia I'd say take it (depending on what salary they offer you). £1 is about $3 so we have it quite good. Tax is lower aswell - way lower than the uk, so you'll have extra benefits on that side.

Good luck and if you want to know more let me know and I'll see how I can help.
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Postby CooperS » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 4:55 pm

UKD - wicked mate - cheers for the info - really appreciate it. I find out next week what the deal is - And then i'm not sure when it all kicks off. I'm trying to get my bearings around it all however i'm SO excited. Fingers crossed!

Will DEF PM once i a)get PM status :-) and b)signed the contract ;-)

Anwar

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 5:08 pm

If you are working on a free lance, consulting basis then it is safe to assume that the company who wants to hire you will expect that you will handle your own employment pass. If you are a contractor, they cannot apply for an EP for you as they have not hired you full time.

As I stated in my post about the Entrepass I believe that a private limited or limited liability partnership is the way to go... I believe UK designer is set up as a sole proprietorship. That the banks are clueless about a repatriation guarantee shows just how little this means is used... almost always guaranteed by the company.

Just one work of caution. Be sure you have an airtight contract with the firm that guarantees you your full 10 months. I know of a person who did the same as you, only to find a couple of months in that he was without a contract... company changed strategy. And, you will need to think longer term about what you will do after 10 months. Singapore is a very tightly networked community and getting in the door without knowing someone is very difficult.

If you don't mind me asking: 'IT' is a rather broad description of many different jobs; what do you actually do?

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Postby CooperS » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 5:14 pm

I'm an AD/Exchange Consultant - I specialise in migrations, immplementations, mergers and new designs. Domain migration and Exchange mail migration mostly - but they throw all kinds my way :-)

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Postby ukdesigner » Fri, 07 Sep 2007 6:45 pm

strong eagle is correct. I came in as a sole prop and the banks were clueless. If I was to do it again I'd set up a limited company as 1. it's quicker and 2. the banks know how to deal with them.

I wouldn't wish the experience I had on anyone. Talk about frustrating!! :x

I lost a few jobs because of the banks idiocy and when I told them that they lost me money they just looked at me blankly! Go figure that one.

So I think you need to seriously think what the longer term will be rather than just this 10 month contract. And as Strong eagle said make sure you have a contract and its water tight. if there's a get-out clause make sure YOU receive a penalty payment for their cancellation.

I actually had that on my application that if my UK clients sought business elsewhere then they had penalties to pay. 1 had to pay me a sh*t load if the cancelled within 6 months. The contract lasted for 2 years, which "coincidently" :roll: is the length of an entrepass... :lol:
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Postby jpatokal » Sat, 08 Sep 2007 2:01 pm

ukdesigner wrote:strong eagle is correct. I came in as a sole prop and the banks were clueless. If I was to do it again I'd set up a limited company as 1. it's quicker and 2. the banks know how to deal with them.

I'll heartily second this. Setting up a Pte Ltd in Singapore takes all of 15 minutes and cost me a grand total of S$315.
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Postby CooperS » Sun, 09 Sep 2007 8:39 am

Thanks jpatokal -

Thankful for everyones response - hoping to get more information from client and recruitment officer this coming week - will be in better position once i know more about my parameters.

Cheers guys -
Anwar

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Postby Superglide » Sun, 09 Sep 2007 1:02 pm

As for an hourly fee, that would be appropriate for your business, a S$ 150 per hour is a reasonable and average fee for your IT consultations.

Good luck!

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Postby jpatokal » Sun, 09 Sep 2007 10:31 pm

Superglide wrote:As for an hourly fee, that would be appropriate for your business, a S$ 150 per hour is a reasonable and average fee for your IT consultations.

C'mon, you can't generalize like that. There are people in Singapore who charge under $30/hour -- and there's a guy I know who won't get out of bed for under 1000 pounds an hour and usually has a chartered jet waiting for him when he's called up. Then again, his last job involved strapping on galoshes and reinstalling a telco billing cluster from scratch after sprinklers dumped 50 cm of water on the whole lot :shock:
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Postby Superglide » Sun, 09 Sep 2007 10:45 pm

It's not generalizing JP, it's about the average consulting fee in IT services.


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