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UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

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LadyR0uge
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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby LadyR0uge » Sat, 11 Apr 2015 12:33 am

Thank you so much for your answers. This helped me a lot. As I do not have the specifics for now, I will wait and see the details of the contract. At least, I know I do not have to decline the offer right away because I am in Singapore. If I need to seek the assistance of IRAS, ACRA or MOM in the future about the situation, I will definitely post the results here.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby singaporeoz » Thu, 08 Oct 2015 2:57 pm

Great information and experiences on this thread! Hope I can get some great assistance too!

I too am on a dependants pass and although have 20 years 'all round' IT support experience I find I'm not 'specialised' enough to get work here, particularly with the local employers finding it easier to employ locals/PR, BUT I am happy to setup as a sole trader (or even company, the extra fee and reporting is pretty straight forward) but I have a question regarding 'freelancing' as a sole trader or company.

When one sets up they must choose an SSIC code closely related to their line of work, mine would be an IT related code. What is the legality in freelancing doing other 'odd jobs' that may not be related to the business name or SSIC code? Is it allowed? Would one be savvy if they at least chose a business name itself that was a little generic in regards to 'consultancy' to at least present themselves easier to those who may use their services without tending to restricting oneself, rather than being specific ie 'Mr Smiths Computer Repairs'.

What have others done and experienced in this regard?

Thanks!

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 09 Oct 2015 2:15 am

There are no legal issues involved. The SSIC code(s) (you used to be able to add several) are for statistical purposes only... nobody is going to come to your door demanding that you cease the activity because it doesn't fall under your SSIC code.

Do be aware, though, that your LOC was issued on the basis of what you said your business would provide. The gahmen would not be happy to see you cleaning houses as an "odd job" with a LOC issued for IT activities. Otherwise, I don't see an issue.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby singaporeoz » Sun, 11 Oct 2015 10:41 pm

Thanks for that, I'll keep it all in mind. :)

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby mayrolllate » Mon, 19 Oct 2015 12:16 pm

It is generally very difficult to get all the right answers from posts because ICA and MOM regularly update their rules and don't publish all of them - the system is very much 'merit-based' (according to their definition of merit). I recommend the following:
1) Read ICA and MOM's websites carefully because they will list everything technical and it is updated
2) Find a plan A, plan B, and plan C and start pursuing plan A
3) Apply without delay for the necessary steps and approval from each entity because it will take time to revert to you
4) Email them for answers because if you call, it's not in writing. They will respond within a few working days to each inquiry
5) Use these posts and local friends as guidance, but the best resource would be free inquiries with local accountants who have been in business a long time - they generally know the 'merits' very well because they establish businesses and do accounting for businesses of expats regularly
Mind you this process will take awhile, but polite persistence pays off in Singapore - good luck

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby roger le goeland » Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:21 am

Jumping into the thread since it seems to be the most relevant one.

PR just got denied (despite 2 Oxbridge degrees, EU passport, 4 years in Singapore at P1 level income, etc. - maybe applying during the elections was a bad idea).

I'm working in IT and my employer is OK with me supplementing my income with consulting clients in APAC (since it makes my situation more stable and so me less likely to go find a job elsewhere). My wife is a Singapore PR. Thanks to reputation/experience/saying the right thing over drinks there are a few companies in the region willing to triple my income that way which is obviously quite tempting.

I have three options:
1. stay on EP, have employer bill new clients, have income "passed on" as bonus which AFAIK is legal (effectively they rent me out as a consultant)
2. apply for LTVP, once approved, open Pte Ltd as local director, use that for billing clients (including current employer)
3. pay the "rent" to the various companies that do it for a local director, incorporate Pte Ltd that way, apply for EP on it, bill clients as per 2

In the current climate, what is most optimal? By applying for the LTVP, am I risking the Pte Ltd not being openable? Are banks going to deny the bank account? I like the 2nd option best just because of the flexibility it allows me, including sub contracting without involving my employer in the payments, and pursuing a few startup projects on the side, but am worried about some of the earlier comments about LTVP holders finding it hard to open bank accounts and incorporate...

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby mayrolllate » Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:20 pm

I would initially guess that 3 is the best, but if your goal is PR, I'm not sure it will help. I am an LTVP and am not allowed to register as a director through ACRA BizFile because I don't have a SingPass (because my wife is PR and not a citizen, which would give LTVP+ status and allow a SingPass). So, for my company we have to use a secretarial agency like you mention (which is ironic bc EPs get SingPass's). To work, though, LTVPs need an approved letter of consent from MOM, and I hear they do get denied sometimes although mine went through. I personally like LTVP so far bc I am tied to my wife's PR status rather than a company employing me, but you should also look into an EntrePass because it may give you the flexibility you want and get you more 'points' toward PR (although I imagine higher income would help too). It should be true consulting gigs though - LTVPs can only work for one company, the one which has the approved letter of consent. In terms of opening a bank account - I think that will be tricky if you don't have a local and a certain amount of capital - you may want to speak with a secretarial agency and a few banks before you make any final decisions, on my end we also have locals in our company so it wasn't a problem.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 01 Dec 2015 3:53 am

My comments below.

roger le goeland wrote:Jumping into the thread since it seems to be the most relevant one.

PR just got denied (despite 2 Oxbridge degrees, EU passport, 4 years in Singapore at P1 level income, etc. - maybe applying during the elections was a bad idea).


Or perhaps because of... there is probably strong anecdotal evidence that someone with your credentials won't stay for the long haul, especially because your wife is also PR.

I'm working in IT and my employer is OK with me supplementing my income with consulting clients in APAC (since it makes my situation more stable and so me less likely to go find a job elsewhere). My wife is a Singapore PR. Thanks to reputation/experience/saying the right thing over drinks there are a few companies in the region willing to triple my income that way which is obviously quite tempting.

I have three options:
1. stay on EP, have employer bill new clients, have income "passed on" as bonus which AFAIK is legal (effectively they rent me out as a consultant)


Quite legal. The simplest option for you and one I'd recommend if your company is willing to do it. Downside for your company is that it must do the invoicing, etc, and any amounts invoiced count against gross revenues but no impact on corporate tax if they pass 100 percent to you. They are nice folks if they are willing to do this for you without taking a cut.

Also, if your employer is GST eligible, and any company with $1 million in turnover is, you will need to charge your clients GST. This won't matter to your clients if they are also GST eligible because it's a wash but if not, it adds 7 percent to your consulting fees.

2. apply for LTVP, once approved, open Pte Ltd as local director, use that for billing clients (including current employer)


Your problem with this idea is that a plain LTVP does not permit you to work and your role in your company as a director is considered to be working. It's a non-starter. A LTVP+ would permit you to do this but this pass is only available to spouses of Singapore citizens.

3. pay the "rent" to the various companies that do it for a local director, incorporate Pte Ltd that way, apply for EP on it, bill clients as per 2


You could probably do this. You will need to read my other threads (search my username) concerning your ability to convince MOM that you are not setting up a scammy business. Otherwise, you will be rejected.

Alas, you cannot work for two companies on an EP. Therefore, you would need to terminate employment with your current employer and go to work for them on a contract basis. What this would do to your benefits, retirement, etc is not known to me, but working for your own company on an EP precludes working for someone else on an EP.

In the current climate, what is most optimal? By applying for the LTVP, am I risking the Pte Ltd not being openable? Are banks going to deny the bank account? I like the 2nd option best just because of the flexibility it allows me, including sub contracting without involving my employer in the payments, and pursuing a few startup projects on the side, but am worried about some of the earlier comments about LTVP holders finding it hard to open bank accounts and incorporate...


Item 2 is non-operational... you cannot start your business nor be a director on a LTVP. You can be a shareholder but what does that get you?

Item 3 is non-operational unless you are OK with terminating your employee relationship with your current employer and taking them on as one more client.

That leaves item 1 as the only viable course of action in my books.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby roger le goeland » Tue, 01 Dec 2015 7:50 am

Thank you for the always clear explanations!

At a risk of slightly hijacking the thread, what is the reasoning behind "spouse has PR" leading to "these two will probably leave the country"? Statistics? From my point of view, locking up 25% of income into CPF (vs the comfort of an EP) and going through the hoops would be a commitment to the country, no?

I am OK terminating the employee relationship since it's a Singapore employee relationship - just about the only thing it gets me is their name on the pass. It's always been "just salary". And I'd like to scale the consulting operation in the future, hiring people or at least being able to pass on some of the fees without bothering my employer's CFO. So I guess I will attempt to open a Pte Ltd, apply for an EP (referring to your other threads), and if it is rejected, stay on my current one.

Thanks for the heads-up about GST. Hadn't thought about it. I'll have to discuss it with the new clients.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 01 Dec 2015 10:07 am

roger le goeland wrote:At a risk of slightly hijacking the thread, what is the reasoning behind "spouse has PR" leading to "these two will probably leave the country"? Statistics?


No statistics that I am aware of... just my view of the flow of thinking of the government as time has passed.

When I came to Singapore in 2004, PR's were cheap. My sense of the situation is that the focus was on getting skilled technical professionals to come settle in Singapore. My initial application for PR was rejected... when I submitted my company's financial statements and employment records, I was approved within two weeks.

Fast forward. I am a PR who left the country and it is highly unlikely that I will return. When my REP expires the party is done. Circumstances changed in Singapore with the global recession and my way of making a living mostly disappeared.

Couple my experience with those of other similarly situated expats, then toss in the high flyers... the finance community... Singapore handed out PR's to the investment industry like so many lines of cocaine.

But then reality sets in. Recession happens and PR status means nothing to those to have to leave because there are no jobs. PR means nothing to those that get promoted to the next global position.

So... you roll in with your degrees, your experience... and you are seen as a negative... look what the others have done.

Couple this with the fact that Singapore likes to be racially simple and in balance... you don't fit in any neat box... not Chinese, not Indian... how are you going to be accounted for as a white boy? It's true for Vietnamese and many others as well... you complicate Singapore's efforts at racial quotas... what the hell are they going to do with you?

Bottom line to my ramblings: Singapore has become much more targeted in the people they will consider for PR. You will be much more racially homogeneous. While you will have good credentials, you won't have the kind that internationally attractive. Your background will be from a country where Singapore looks like a step up, not a step sideways.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby roger le goeland » Tue, 01 Dec 2015 4:30 pm

Interesting insights. Why does Singapore care if some of the "high flying" PRs leave? That just makes room for more, after all the supply is limited by the country's demographic growth targets...

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 01 Dec 2015 10:44 pm

roger le goeland wrote:Interesting insights. Why does Singapore care if some of the "high flying" PRs leave? That just makes room for more, after all the supply is limited by the country's demographic growth targets...


Another good question. My sense is that the government has more or less decided that PR is the first step in a vetting process towards citizenship, so they are trying to control the "gate" that lets people move towards PR and citizenship by denying those who look like bad bets.

There has also been a lot of populist screaming about the number of PR's granted, without ever looking at the number of PR's rescinded. By not granting PR's to those who have been statistically shown not to stay, the government looks like it is reducing the overall PR influx while probably not making much difference at all. My $0.02.

OTOH, someone like you could marry a local gal, domino a couple of national service boys, operate a small business and be a shoe in for PR because it looks like you might stay.

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby Addadude » Fri, 27 May 2016 4:54 pm

sabbiewebbie wrote:I have been working in the corporate world for more than 10 years & I've always been looking forward to build something on the side. Especially when the economy outlook is gloomy. I've started my Travelpreneur journey... Now it would be my time to pay it forward & help anyone along. Feel free to chat me up. :D


The Ban Hammer is about to fall in 5... 4... 3...
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby systengr » Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:10 pm

I am seeking a job in Singapore not for salary but just photography huge collection in a year with minimum salary (food, accommodation, medical and transportation), any employer interest to hire me? and visa support.

Is it possible in Singapore? What Singapore Employment Lay Say?

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Re: RE: Re: UPDATE - Freelancing while on dependent visa

Postby ecureilx » Thu, 15 Sep 2016 8:03 am

systengr wrote:I am seeking a job in Singapore not for salary but just photography huge collection in a year with minimum salary (food, accommodation, medical and transportation), any employer interest to hire me? and visa support.

Is it possible in Singapore? What Singapore Employment Lay Say?

No


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