EntrePass Visa Rules Revised By Singapore Government

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New changes in Singapore's EntrePass eligibility and renewal requirements are designed to ensure that this visa is made available only to those foreign entrepreneurs who are serious about starting and growing their Singapore business.

By basing EntrePass renewals on a company's total business spending and local work-force employment, the authorities can assess the EntrePass holder's economic contribution to the Singapore economy

The Singapore government has tightened the rules governing the EntrePass scheme - a work visa designed for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to relocate and start a business in Singapore. GuideMeSingapore.com's analysis of these revisions concludes that the primary motivation behind the new regulations is to ensure that the new venture that is to be setup by the foreign entrepreneur under the EntrePass scheme is engaged in a real business and is not a sham venture, established merely for obtaining the immigration. Over the long-term, the new venture must also make positive contributions to the Singapore economy and it should result in increased local employment.

The EntrePass visa scheme was originally introduced by Singapore government in 2004 and it targets business professionals who have good entrepreneurial background but are unable to qualify under the traditional Employment Pass category due to the lack of good educational credentials. Previously, the main eligibility criteria to apply for a Singapore EntrePass have been a) a sound business idea, b) good business plan and c) a proven entrepreneurial background. There was no minimum investment amount that was prescribed by authorities until the recent changes. But under the revised EntrePass visa scheme, the eligibility rules have been tightened by including the following additional requirements:

  • The proposed business must be registered as a Singapore private limited company
  • The applicant must have at least 30% shareholding in the company
  • The company must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$ 50,000

Furthermore, the criteria for renewal of EntrePass visa upon expiry of the initial validity period has also been fine-tuned to include factors such as the company's performance, local workforce employed, corporate taxes paid, adherence to the original business plan, and the amount of business expenditure incurred.

"By basing EntrePass renewals on a company's total business spending and local work-force employment, the authorities can assess the EntrePass holder's economic contribution to the Singapore economy," said Jacqueline Low, the Director of Corporate Services at Janus Corporate Solutions, the firm that operates the GuideMeSingapore.com website. "Since its introduction, the EntrePass scheme has been very popular with foreign entrepreneurs who for various reasons never received a good education but otherwise have good business instincts. Singapore provides an excellent business environment for them to relocate and start their business venture here. With the revised EntrePass policy, Singapore government is determined to continue attracting foreign entrepreneurs but also wants to make sure that these new ventures are making a positive contribution to the local economy and employment situation. The government wants to make sure that it's win-win situation for everybody," she added.

In addition to the lower barrier on the educational requirements, one of the other significant advantages of EntrePass is that the applicants are not required to incorporate a company until the EntrePass is approved. This works well for those entrepreneurs who don't want to commit to company incorporation expenses until they are assured of the relocation visa approval. The EntrePass holders are eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residence (PR) in due course of time and many entrepreneurs often consider this to be an attractive route for gaining the PR status.

The revised EntrePass rules will be effective starting from September 28, 2009.

About GuideMeSingapore.com
GuideMeSingapore.com website is a unit of Janus Corporate Solutions Pte. Ltd, a leading professional services firm that specializes in Singapore company formation, work permits, taxation, and related business services. For detailed information about Singapore EntrePass scheme and related topics, please visit http://www.guidemesingapore.com/.


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