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Info on Singapore work visa required

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IanE
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Info on Singapore work visa required

Postby IanE » Sat, 13 Jul 2013 2:47 am

My situation is that I currently work in London as a self employed contractor, which I have been doing for over two years.

The company that I contract to in London would like me to move to Singapore to work for them there.

I have a UK and an Australian passport.

I believe that I will be expected to continue to use my UK company to invoice the company that I contract to whilst I am in Singapore.

I would like to work in Singapore for one year initially, with the possibility of staying longer.

The questions that I have are as follows:

1. Would I be eligible for a Singapore work visa?

2. If I would be eligible for a Singapore work visa, would I have to apply before I leave the UK, or do I apply when I arrive in Singapore?

3. Would my girlfriend be eligible for a visa to come with me (we've lived together for five years)?

4. How would the tax situation work if I use my UK company to invoice in Europe?

I am sure that I will have further questions based on the answers above.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.

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Re: Info on Singapore work visa required

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 13 Jul 2013 4:39 am

IanE wrote:My situation is that I currently work in London as a self employed contractor, which I have been doing for over two years.

The company that I contract to in London would like me to move to Singapore to work for them there.

I have a UK and an Australian passport.

I believe that I will be expected to continue to use my UK company to invoice the company that I contract to whilst I am in Singapore.

I would like to work in Singapore for one year initially, with the possibility of staying longer.

The questions that I have are as follows:

1. Would I be eligible for a Singapore work visa?


Every work pass must have a Singapore registered company as sponsor. If you are coming as a contractor and not as an employee of a company with a legal presence here, then it would be necessary for you to create your own private limited, with a Singapore nominee director, then apply for an employment pass via that company. There are several threads in this forum discussing this process. Not easy to do, and it can be done.


2. If I would be eligible for a Singapore work visa, would I have to apply before I leave the UK, or do I apply when I arrive in Singapore?


As noted above, work passes are company sponsored, so this question is sort of non-operational. You could engage a CPA to get your company set up, and then get the work pass process moving while you are still in the UK.

3. Would my girlfriend be eligible for a visa to come with me (we've lived together for five years)?


You need to provide evidence of a common law marriage. Visas are not granted for girl friends. Common law spouses cannot work unless they get their own independent work pass.

4. How would the tax situation work if I use my UK company to invoice in Europe?

I am sure that I will have further questions based on the answers above.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.


Money earned in Singapore for services performed in Singapore is taxable in Singapore, regardless of where the invoice is originated. You'd really want to invoice in Singapore and pay a much lower ($100,000 profit exclusion first three years) tax rate than pay UK taxes.

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Postby IanE » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 1:12 am

Thanks very much for your feedback, it's much appreciated.

As I suspected, it seems to be quite complicated, so I will do some searches in the forum to try and work out how to create a Singapore company etc.

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Postby PNGMK » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 1:15 am

IanE wrote:Thanks very much for your feedback, it's much appreciated.

As I suspected, it seems to be quite complicated, so I will do some searches in the forum to try and work out how to create a Singapore company etc.


There must be a reason why your current work needs you in Singapore... perhaps a sister or client company can sponsor your work visa?

Be aware that there are income limits associated with various passes (work visas) as well.

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Postby IanE » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 1:26 am

PNGMK wrote:
There must be a reason why your current work needs you in Singapore... perhaps a sister or client company can sponsor your work visa?

Be aware that there are income limits associated with various passes (work visas) as well.


Thanks for your response.

As far as I know the company that I currently contract to (via an agency - just to complicate things more) don't have any sister or client companies based in Singapore, they are a US company and I know they have European offices, but I will check about Singapore.

Do you mean minimum or maximum income limits (or both) that I need to consider?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 2:15 am

Minimum income limits in order to get a work pass. And, those are just the minimums, and no guarantee you will get the pass. For the least resistance in getting a pass, you want to go for a P1 employment pass which means you need to make at least S$8,000 per month.

Are you employed by the agency, or are they just a contracting entity who receives a fee and you are paid by the company you are contracted to? If they agency is paying you, then they could set up a wholly owned subsidiary pte ltd and hire you out here.

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Postby IanE » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 2:38 am

Thanks for the clarification on the minimum income limits. I will be on the same rate as in the UK, so I will be quite a bit above S$8,000 per month, so that's good.

So when you say about getting a P1 employment pass, do you mean that that's what I should apply for through the limited company that I should set up in Singapore?

At the moment, I have a contract with the agency in the UK who I invoice monthly and then they invoice the company who I actually do the work for.

So my company is (1), the agency is (2) and the company who want the work done (and who want me to go to Singapore) is (3) although to confuse things more, the work that I do for (3) is based at their customer (4) site full time.

If I manage to get to Singapore then I would invoice (3) directly and also work at (4)'s site still.

This is all getting quite confusing for me, so thanks for your patience!

If I was to set up a Singapore Limited company and then apply for an employment pass for myself, would I be able to do that from the UK?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 3:07 am

You might as well create your own company for the purposes of invoicing. You will be invoicing in Singapore for work performed in Singapore, and therefore, will be paying Singapore corporate tax (which will be zero for at least the first 3 years), and a much lower rate of personal income tax.

Read these two threads. The first is about the Entrepass, which you do not want to apply for... but the information about what it takes to get the Entrepass has a great deal of applicability for those trying to work on a professional service basis in Singapore.

The second thread pertains directly to what you wish to do.

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Postby IanE » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 3:36 am

Thanks for getting back to me about this again.

If I am to go ahead with this way of doing things, could I set up the Singapore company and then apply for the employment pass from the UK, before I go to Singapore?

This is important for me because if for whatever reason I am unable to get an employment pass (which looks like a possibility from what you have said) then I don't want to have incurred costs of moving to Singapore and given up my job in the UK.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 3:47 am

Yes, you can do it all from the UK.

Acquire a Singapore CPA who can set up the company and present you with a nominee director. Costs: S$ 300 to register, about $1500 for the nominee director, and $600 for the CPA to handle the work. Your CPA will also be your secretary. I recommend my CPA.

See if you can get some people who have gone this route will comment with their suggestions to maximize success.

Prepare your business plan, list of client(s), pro forma statements and have your nominee director file for your EP. Your CPA as secretary could also make the filing. Make sure that supporting documents are filed as well.

Wait... if rejected, review what was missing from your submission and try again.

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Postby IanE » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 4:21 am

Thanks again for your help and patience with this, it's much appreciated.

Do you know what the approximate time frame for processing all of the setting up of the company and applying for the EP? I realise that it varies in each case, but was just wondering vaguely how long it may take.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 9:44 pm

IanE wrote:Thanks again for your help and patience with this, it's much appreciated.

Do you know what the approximate time frame for processing all of the setting up of the company and applying for the EP? I realise that it varies in each case, but was just wondering vaguely how long it may take.


Once you have acquired a CPA and a nominee director, and chosen a name, you can get the company set up online in about 15 minutes. Your CPA will prepare all the necessary legal documents to create and maintain a pte ltd.

Your director can submit the EP application online but I am not sure whether this is the best way to go as I do not know if you can submit the additional documentation online as well. Perhaps someone else will chime in on this detail. A bog standard EP can be done in as little as 48 hours, those where research needs to be done to verify credentials can stretch into several weeks.

If you submit manually, it will take as much as several weeks for the application to be accepted or rejected.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Jul 2013 10:14 pm

Electronic submission of Employment Pass applications: 80% are done within 7 days.

Manual submission will take around 5 weeks. Again, in both instances, provided nothing looks amiss in the applications.

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Postby IanE » Tue, 16 Jul 2013 2:00 am

Wow, thank you both for the feedback, I am glad that it looks like it can all be done quickly.

My fear was that it could have taken around four months or so.

Thanks again for all the information supplied, I'm very grateful, it has made things much clearer for me to move forward.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 16 Jul 2013 3:53 am

IanE wrote:Wow, thank you both for the feedback, I am glad that it looks like it can all be done quickly.

My fear was that it could have taken around four months or so.

Thanks again for all the information supplied, I'm very grateful, it has made things much clearer for me to move forward.


Be aware that this is no slam dunk. It continues to be more difficult to obtain all sorts of work passes, and the government continues to be driven by the populist noises that all of Singapore's ills are due to "foreign talent" taking all the good jobs, driving up rents, and causing all the public transportation to be overcrowded.

Having said that, if you have a real live guarantee of income at above the P1 level, and in a professional position, you'll probably be considered an asset and will be approved. But, you will need to properly prove this up, you may be asked for additional documents, and you may find your initial application has been rejected and you will need to appeal.

So, consider the numbers as the best case scenarios. Contact stiwi and ask him what he did. You need to be well armed before starting.


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