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Singapore is a booming country with lucrative job opportunities and well planned developments. Singapore is a place constrained by resources and has limited space. Under such conditions, foreign professionals and attracting talented people from various fields was inevitable for Singapore’s progress. Over the years, Singapore has understood this and has taken steps to make the country conducive for foreign talents. These include many facilities and services offered to immigrants. Singapore is a very welcoming country and has a huge inflow of skilled workers. These include executives, managers, investors and people renowned in the various creative fields. Singapore offers many visa types for foreigners depending on their type of stay and other requirements. With the positive effects of globalization, many such countries have opened doors to foreign talents in order to boost the economy of the country. It gives a different perspective and also helps in benefiting from the different cultures and values of immigrants.

Thus, talented workers from other countries help in the overall development of a country and Singapore is certainly seeing its benefits. This has strengthened the position of Singapore and it is now looked at as the aggressor country in Asia. Due to its geographical location, Singapore is also a gateway to Asia for many big corporations. Due to all these contributing factors, Singapore is an asset for many companies. Singapore has all the essentials for starting and expanding a business. Big corporations from every sector are looking at Singapore as an important destination for setting their foot in Asia. Singapore has a reputation of a country instrumental for business and growth. It is a melting pot for talented people and also has a good job market. Individuals from all the fields can get a good paying and interesting job in Singapore. Due to globalization and transparency, there is a rise in the capital flow from other countries to Singapore.

This has made possible the smooth flow of money, talent and resources to Singapore. Due to the inflow of immigrants from various countries to Singapore, there has been a rise in population residing in Singapore. Due to this, the Singapore government has tightened the laws of immigration. This is also beneficial for the immigrants as it covers solutions to many issues and ensures better handling overall. These changes include strict criteria for various visa pass like employment pass, dependant pass and others. Singapore has to maintain its reputation of being an immigrant-friendly country. The following is the description of various visa pass and its requirements.

Employment Pass For Foreign Professionals

The applications for the employment pass are carefully reviewed by the Ministry of Manpower (MoM). The checking involves aspects like educational qualifications, job qualifications, nationality, experience and other. The employment pass (EP) has three sub categories. These are: P1, P2 and Q1. The salary of the application is a crucial aspect while reviewing the application for this pass. Following is the chart describing about the minimum salary requirement for the sub categories of this pass:

Pass Type Minimum Monthly Salary Dependent Privileges
P1 S$8,000 Parents, spouse and children who are unmarried and below 21.
P2 S$4,500 Spouse and unmarried children under 21.
Q1 Q1 S$3,000
S$4,000
None.
Spouse and children who are unmarried and below the age of 21.

Singapore has laws which are meant to make it easy for businessmen to do business in this country. It allows full ownership of business for foreigners. This allows foreign entrepreneurs to invest and get full returns. Investors can apply for an employment pass after incorporating a company in Singapore. Such applicants will be reviewed in a stricter way. Qualifications, background, work experience of these individuals will be checked and other criteria include a work profile of the company and the number of locals employed.

The validity of employment pass is of two years. Once that expires, it has to be renewed. The only requirement for that is the applicant is employed with the same employer. If he changes his employer, the EP has to be applied for again. E Pass holders may eventually apply for permanent residence, a status given to professionals which is ranked higher than EP. In order to be eligible for that, the pass holders have to live for a considerable time in Singapore and progress in the job. P level holders can also apply for the Long Term Visit Pass for a number of their people back home. These include :

  • Common-Law Spouse
  • Unmarried daughters above 21 years of age;
  • Handicapped children above 21 years of age;
  • Stepchildren and,
  • Parents (P1 Passes Only).

Another type of pass offered is the PERSONALIZED EMPLOYMENT PASS (PEP). This pass is offered to the cream layer of professionals. These professionals are more successful and have better qualifications. In order to qualify for this pass, a candidate must be exceptional in the career of his choice and posses good experience and other qualities. Hence, they also enjoy special privileges. The advantage of the PEP is that the holder has the freedom to switch companies without having his pass revoked. PEP holders are also entitled to stay in Singapore for up to six months between jobs to evaluate opportunities.

Personalized Employment Pass Has Different Rules Than EP. These Rules Are The Following:

Personalized Employment pass validity of three years. It is not renewable and requires the candidate to switch from PEP to EP and then attach with an employer to get a new PEP.

Foreigners, who are overseas, may apply for the PEP if they have not been unemployed for longer than 6 consecutive months and last drew a fixed monthly salary of at least $18,000. P1 Employment Pass holders are eligible to apply for the PEP if their fixed monthly salary is at least S$12,000. PEP holders are made to submit a report of their earnings to the MOM within 30 days of calendar finish. PEP status can be cancelled if the individual remains unemployed for more than six months. Family, spouse and unmarried children of PEP candidates can apply for a dependant pass (DP). Holders of DP can seek employment opportunities in Singapore if the prospective employer obtains a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the MOM.

S PASS

This pass is for skilled professionals who are less qualified than EP holders. It is for mid-level professionals. S Pass has various different rules. It is tied to the quota system or a Dependency Ratio scheme. There is also a rule regarding the number of S Pass holders a company can employ. A total of 20% of employers in a company can be S Pass holders. The minimum fixed monthly salary requirement of an S Pass holder at present is S$2,000. From 1 July 2013, the salary threshold will be raised to S$ 2,200. The MOM reviews the application based on a points system, taking into account criteria such as education, experience, skill level and job type. The S Pass has validity of 1 or 2 years. It must be noted that only S Pass holders earning a minimum monthly fixed salary of S$ 4,000 are eligible for dependent privileges. In this case, only spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age will be given a Dependent Pass (DP).

ENTREPRENEUR PASS (ENTREPASS) is a type of pass given to entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in Singapore. These are very important for the growth of the country and therefore have high facilities. This is a special type of Employment Pass and was introduced in 2004. It was introduced to encourage business and jobs in Singapore. Via this scheme, Singapore hopes that these businesses will generate employment for Singaporeans and add vibrancy to its business ecosystem. Although applications are submitted to the MOM, the business plan is subject to review by various government agencies such as Economic Development Board (EDB) and Spring Singapore. The proposed business idea, total investment, projected revenue and growth, projected local employment creation and technological innovations involved are some of the criteria which is considered for the approval of the Entre Pass applications.

From the year 2009, a minimum shares of 30% have to be held and minimum of S$50,000is a requisite for Pass. While the educational qualifications is not a very important determinant for this type of pass, the applicant should have relevant experience and track record, and the business plan along with the application must demonstrate the viability of employment generation for the local people and a minimum Total Business Spending (TBS), that excludes the salary paid to the applicant. The renewal of the EntrePass will depend on the fulfillment of the employment generation and TBS commitment declared in the business plan which is given earlier by the applicant. Therefore, while drafting the business plan, it is important to depict an accurate picture of the business and its operations potential and provide insight on the strategies that will be deployed to achieve the commitments. There are a total of three sub-categories of pass renewals. Following is the chart regarding the salary and other aspects of EntrePass.

EntrePass Type Minimum Locals Employed TBS Minimum Monthly Salary
P1 8 S$300,000 S$8,000
P2 4 S$150,000 S$4,500
Q1 2 S$100,000 S$3,000

EntrePass holders are entitled to dependent privileges for their immediate family members, i.e., spouse and children (Q1 pass holders must earn a monthly salary of at least S$4,000). The pass is generally issued for a period of one or two years and renewal is contingent on the fulfillment of employment and TBS projections spelt out in the Business plan. The EntrePass holder may eventually apply for Permanent Resident status. There have been some changes made in the EntrePass qualifications and review process. This change will be effective from 1 September 2013. The intention is to weed out low potential small businesses and also attract high technology startup companies and innovative ideas that add value and vibrancy to the business landscape of Singapore. The new EntrePass will be valid for the period of one year.

Additional criteria for this pass include meeting at least one of the following requirements: Receive funding from a recognized third-party venture capitalist or business angel; or Hold a proprietary or licensed Intellectual Property (IP) recognised by an approved national IP institution; OR Have research collaboration with a research institution recognized by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), or any local tertiary institution; or Is an incubatee at a recognized incubator supported by SPRING Singapore or National Research Foundation (NRF); or Receive support from a Singapore Government agency.

Global Investor Programme For Foreigners (GIP)

A foreigner, who’s interested to set up a company or investment in Singapore, may tap around the GIP plan and along the way earn a Permanent Residence (PR) status. The GIP plan requires substantial investment and it is therefore appropriate for people from other countries with immense liquidity. The plan is given by Contact Singapore (an alliance from the Economic Development Board and also the Secretary of state for Manpower). You will find two options under the scheme.

  • Option A: Invest a minimum of S$2.5 million inside a start up business expand a current business operation.
  • Option B: Invest a minimum of S$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund that invest in Singapore-based companies. Additionally to invest funds you must nicely demonstrate good business background business history by posting 3 years audited financial statements the organization.
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