Tougher EntrePass Criteria May Be a Double-edged Sword: Asiabiz Services

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Tougher entry and renewal criteria for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs means that Singapore will attract a new breed of startups and at the same time, repel others that do not fit the mould, says Singapore work visa consultancy Asiabiz Services.

AsiaBiz Services - Singapore company formation consultancy

AsiaBiz Services - Singapore company incorporation consultancy

The businesses that are approved will demonstrate some kind of substance and no doubt have to fulfil local employment rules on pain of losing their presence. This could benefit Singaporeans.

In a bid to create a better workforce and better workplaces for Singaporeans, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has recently announced that it has tightened the entry and renewal criteria for new Singapore EntrePass applications. The new EntrePass framework, designed for entrepreneurs to relocate to Singapore, will come into effect on 1 September 2013.

Analysis by Asiabiz Services, a leading Singapore work visa consultancy, demonstrates that the new framework, which features tougher entry and renewal criteria, will only attract a certain calibre of startups, but at the same time, close the door to others that do not fit the criteria.

According to MOM, with effect from 1 September 2013, EntrePass applicants must meet at least one of the following entry requirements, on top of the current set of criteria:

  • Receives support from a Singapore Government agency;
  • Holds a nationally-recognised proprietary or licensed Intellectual Property (IP);
  • Has research collaboration with recognised research institutions such as A*STAR or a local tertiary institution;
  • Is an incubatee at a government-approved incubator; or
  • Funded by an approved third-party venture capitalist or business angel.

Commenting further, Mr. James Nuben, Head of Tax Division, Asiabiz Services said, “To encourage entrepreneurship in Singapore, the EntrePass scheme has been introduced in 2004 as an avenue for business persons with innovative ideas to relocate to Singapore and run their business in the city-state. Entrepreneurs who were not eligible under the Singapore Employment Pass scheme could somehow relocate, register a business and earn their fortune then. However, the criteria has gotten tougher five years later. Come September, it will get even tougher for foreign entrepreneurs to relocate to Singapore, if they don't meet any of these new requirements.”

Further analysis by Asiabiz Services show that new applicants must demonstrate that their businesses are in some way, approved by the Singapore government.

“This could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the government is defining the kinds of businesses that it thinks will add value to the population and hopes will create meaningful jobs for Singaporeans. The businesses that are approved will demonstrate some kind of substance and no doubt have to fulfil local employment rules on pain of losing their presence. This could benefit Singaporeans,” added Mr. Nuben.

“On the other hand, not all Singaporeans may want to work in these sectors or have the skills to match these sectors. This could then create yet another dilemma, which inadvertently creates a legitimized demand for Singapore work pass holders and leaving less of the economic pie to be shared among Singaporeans on the ground. The looming chasm between well meaning policies and what is cannot be understated,” affirmed Mr. Nuben.

Asiabiz Services is a Singapore-based consultancy that offers business solutions for both local and foreign professionals, investors and entrepreneurs. Our areas of expertise include Singapore company registration, incorporation, offshore company setup, accounting, taxation and other related corporate services. Asiabiz Services also provides Singapore work visa and immigration services for foreign professionals wishing to relocate to Singapore.

120 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068589
Phone: +65 6303 4614

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James Nuben
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