Singapore is one of the countries in Asia with the most stable and booming economy. This creates immense investment opportunities, and as a result, investors from all parts of the world are attracted to invest in Singapore. The Singaporean government does not bar foreigners from investing in the country as long as they meet the minimum requirements.
If you are planning to move to Singapore and set up a business, you first need to apply for a visa. There are two visa options you can apply for depending on the funds available for investment. A foreigner can apply for the EntrePass scheme or permanent residence (PR) under the Global Investor Program (GIP) scheme.
It is important you first speak with a qualified consultant because they fully understand the eligibility criteria, required documentation, and also help you easily navigate the application process. In this article, we look in detail at how a foreigner can immigrate to Singapore to start a business. But first, let’s look at why you should relocate your venture to Singapore.
What are the benefits of business immigration to Singapore?
Many foreign ex-pats and investors are moving to Singapore every year and the reasons can be pretty obvious. Singapore has been consistently ranked as one of the top countries in the world in the ease of doing business. This means that there exist immense investment and employment opportunities. One of the things that have made the city-state stand out when compared to other countries is its pro-business policies.
Singapore is popular for its attractive tax incentives, strategic placement for business, and excellent connectivity. Singapore has also entered into trade agreements with more than 100 countries throughout the world. On top of that, there are numerous options for businesses that a foreign investor can set up in Singapore. You can decide to fully relocate your company to Singapore or set up a branch or subsidiary.
The scenarios for business immigration to Singapore
You can start up a business in Singapore if you are a holder of the Employment Pass (EP) or apply for the EntrePass or permanent residency through the GIP program. You can always consult qualified immigration experts to walk you through the process. Let us look at each scenario in detail.
Setting up a business in Singapore with an employment pass
If you are a valid employment pass holder, then you can be eligible to set up a business in Singapore. It is usually the simplest way to start up a business in Singapore. There are agents you can get in touch with that can assist you in incorporating a private limited company in Singapore. The agents will nominate a temporary resident director for you and take care of other requirements like a company secretary and the location of the company. Once the business has been set up, you can apply for an employment pass and move to Singapore to run your business.
Incorporating a business with an EntrePass
This is another option that a foreign investor can use to start a business in Singapore. If you are an experienced foreign entrepreneur with an existing business or one that wishes to start a business in Singapore, then you can apply for this pass. The Singaporean government introduced this pass as a means of attracting foreign talent, which will then transform the country into one of the world’s biggest economic hubs.
For your EntrePass application to be approved, you must meet the following requirements:
- Aged at least 21 years and possess relevant academic qualifications from a recognized institution.
- In possession of a business proposal that is highly innovative in nature with the potential to create employment for locals.
- Be ready to move to Singapore to run the business.
On top of that, you have to meet any of the criteria below to be eligible.
- If your business will receive S$100,000 as funding or investment from an investor accredited by an agency of the Singaporean government.
- You run already established businesses with an excellent entrepreneurial track record.
- You have a good investment track record.
- You have intellectual property.
- Good achievement record in your area of expertise.
Business immigration under the Global Investment Program
This is a visa that’s commonly given to foreign investors with a high net worth and excellent track record. Once this visa has been approved, you also get Singapore permanent residency. The investor can invest in a startup business or a GIP-approved fund.
The applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Invest at least S$2.5 million in any Singaporean company or a GIP fund
- Applicants must possess at least three years of entrepreneurial track record and also provide audited statements for their company for the last three years.
- Hold at least 30% of shares in their company.
Foreigners can immigrate their business to Singapore through any of the above ways. The island country offers a conducive environment for business in terms of legal setting, market, and a stable political environment, so it is a place that any investor seeking an international exposure can easily invest in.