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Working on foreign contract on a 90 leisure visa?

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nissim
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Working on foreign contract on a 90 leisure visa?

Postby nissim » Thu, 26 Feb 2009 8:44 pm

Hi,

I'm in the situation that I got employment from my home country, but would like to live in Singapore and do my work remotely from there. I would leave and enter Singapore during and thus make sure to be on a valid 90 days leisure visa throughout my stay.

1. Is this legal in Singapore, as long as I am on a 90 days visa? In other words, is a WP required to work in Singapore, or to be employed there?

2. Is there some other pass or registration I would need to do or apply for to do this?

3. Does a foreign contract entitle me to apply for a WP, or does that have to be local contract?

4. How does taxes apply in the above situation? Would I still be taxed in Singapore if I am in the country for more than half a year?

Many thanks!

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 26 Feb 2009 9:09 pm

If you are being paid outside of Singapore for work being done outside of Singapore you have no problems... it is legal.

If you get paid in Singapore, then you would need to have a work permit.

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Postby nissim » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 6:51 am

Thanks SE,

I will be paid by and work for a foreign employer, so that's good news! So I'll just make sure to keep my leisure visa valid, and I'm fine...

What about taxation? I assume that is different from a the work permit issues, and I would still need to follow those rules (I believe Singapore gets the right for your taxes after you've been in the country for more than 183 days). Would I need to register anywhere for that?

Again many thanks!

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 8:13 am

If you are not earning your income in Singapore and you are paying taxes in the country in which the income is earned, your income is not subject to Singapore tax.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 12:39 pm

I believe that information may be incorrect......technically that is.

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/forum/su ... ras#376595

I wrote to IRAS a while back for the above thread to find out. IRAS and MOM treat things differently so there is some difference in the way that things are being handled by both agencies. While the letter I received from IRAS was based on other than an Employment Pass or Work Permit, a dependents pass is a little bit different than a Social Visit Pass.

So, I think I would seek an answer from IRAS if I were you. I also doubt that you would be able to get constant 90 visas as ICA would get wise very soon and you might find yourself with only 30 day visas and quite possibly a 3 day visa inside of a year. They are getting rather strict on abusers so be careful as you will get caught. It's just a matter of when.......

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Postby NC30 » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 1:45 pm

Should be no problem for the 90... just don't stay troughout 88, or 89..
i mean travel more frequently, even after 1 month (if you can do so) and just tell them that you are exploring Asia and travel. You follow the law and there is nothing much they can do about it as long as you follow the law.. Once you are away 2 or more days from Singapore its ok, as long you have the money to rent here ( or buy condo, allways the same address on your immigration card) and stay here and travel, there is no problem. Tell them maybe you want to live here and become PR later on...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 1:59 pm

NC30, from what I know, the OP would have to live in hotels as without a proper visa he cannot rent property. Having played the visa game for 11 consecutive years here myself before it was tightened up, I can tell you that they will, in fact, shut you down. Even if you leave the country for a month at a time. I had the same address for the entire 11 years here but it did not stop them from issuing me a warning (and I had a local wife and 2 kids). The ICA knows that you can visit everyplace in Singapore in less than a month. If you are here more than that, you have family ties here. If no family ties, then you are up to something dodgy and they will eventually show you the door. (don't forget, you are using the countries facilities and trying to evade taxes at the same time - they frown on that)

You follow the law and there is nothing much they can do about it as long as you follow the law..


Wrong. They can unilaterally declare you as undesirable and kick your butt out. Every country in the world can do that. Wake up.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 3:04 pm

Thanks for clearing some things up, SMS. And I'd like to add just a couple of other items. Your intent to essentially live here but without going through the necessary steps to be a legal person means that you always have to fly under the radar.

It is certainly not the intent of a social visit pass for a person to 'move in' permanently. Even those with lots of cash need to apply for special permits to live here permanently. As SMS has noted you could readily be denied a visa at any time, at the whim of ICA and you really have no recourse.

Not only can you not rent, it is difficult to get a bank account. Your FIN and/or NRIC is key to doing just about anything in Singapore financially. Certainly forget about a car or insurance or a license... you need an ID.

After mulling this over, I think you will be caught and tossed in the longer haul.

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Wow

Postby soundmeister » Fri, 27 Feb 2009 4:27 pm

You have to be really brave (or foolhardy) to mess with SG authorities, especially since they are pretty flexible and open to discussion on case to case basis.

The spirit of the social visa is that you cannot be gainfully employed during your stay in Singapore. The line may be blurry for a role like researching a book, for example, but for most jobs it is fairly clear cut. Listen to what some of the others say- be honest, or prepare to be fined/booted out someday.

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Postby nissim » Sat, 28 Feb 2009 4:08 pm

Thanks everybody for the discussion - it is highly helpful and appreciated!

But it seems I may have been a little unclear in my situation. I have no desire to live under the radar of authority. It's just that working on a foreign contract I just cannot get a work permit, and I don't know if there are any alternatives to the leisure visa in that case?

Again, leaving the country at least every 90 days is no problem, but of little use if there is a limit to the number of renewals you can get.

If registering with IRAS would help this, I would have no problem to do so. On the contrary, there is nothing I would rather do than pay tax in Singapore, which are way lower than my home country, which would in this case loose their right to tax me.

So my follow up question would be: if I register with IRAS (and perhaps other authorities?) and tell immigration that I will be working on a foreign contract, can provide for myself, but at the same time want to enjoy the Singapore weather, would they have anything against that?

Many thanks for your help.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 28 Feb 2009 4:43 pm

There is one easy way you can get a work permit... file for an Entrepass.

You do a couple of things.

a) You get paid in Singapore instead of overseas, and thus, pay Singapore income tax... which, relatively speaking, is a joy compared to tax rates elsewhere.

b) Now you are attractive to Singapore... bringing in the cash... and you put it into SG banks of course.

c) You file for an Entrepass, and when you describe your business, you note that you already have an income stream and can support yourself. You tell them how you hire SG accountants and lawyers and keep your money in an SG bank.

My guess is you get approved, you get your FIN, no visa hassles, lower taxes.

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 03 Mar 2009 10:33 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:c) You file for an Entrepass, and when you describe your business, you note that you already have an income stream and can support yourself. You tell them how you hire SG accountants and lawyers and keep your money in an SG bank.

One problem with this -- the OP says he is employed elsewhere, not running his own business. I don't think MOM will accept salary slips as business income :o
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