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Brunei – Self-Employment

Brunei is a small but wealthy country located on the island of Borneo. With a stable economy and a low cost of living, Brunei offers attractive opportunities for expats looking to become self-employed or start a business. In this article, we will explore how self-employment works for expats in Brunei, provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed, discuss the possibility of working as a digital nomad, and outline how to start a company in Brunei. We will also look at the incentives and programs available to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Brunei.

Self-Employment in Brunei

Self-employment in Brunei is possible for both locals and expats. However, expats must obtain a work permit from the Brunei government before engaging in any self-employed activities. To obtain a work permit, expats must have a job offer from a local company or submit a business plan for their proposed self-employed activities.

Registering as Self-Employed in Brunei

To register as self-employed in Brunei, expats must follow these steps:

Step 1: Obtain a Work Permit

As mentioned above, expats must obtain a work permit from the Brunei government before engaging in any self-employed activities. The work permit application must be submitted by a local sponsor, such as a company or a Bruneian citizen.

Step 2: Register with the Registrar of Companies

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Once you have obtained a work permit, you will need to register with the Registrar of Companies. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Your personal details
  • Your proposed business activities
  • Your business address
  • The name of your business
  • Your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited company)
  • Your capital investment

Step 3: Register with the Inland Revenue Department

After registering with the Registrar of Companies, you will need to register with the Inland Revenue Department. This will involve obtaining a tax identification number and registering for relevant taxes, such as income tax and goods and services tax (GST).

Working as a Digital Nomad in Brunei

Working as a digital nomad in Brunei is possible, but there are some restrictions. Digital nomads are required to obtain a work permit and register with the relevant government agencies. Additionally, there are restrictions on the types of businesses that digital nomads can operate in Brunei.

Starting a Company in Brunei

Starting a company in Brunei is a straightforward process. Here are the steps you will need to follow:

Step 1: Choose a Company Name

The first step is to choose a name for your company. The name must be unique and not similar to any other company names already registered in Brunei. You can check for available company names on the website of the Registrar of Companies.

Step 2: Determine Your Business Structure

The next step is to determine your business structure. The most common types of business structures in Brunei are:

  • Sole proprietorship: Owned and managed by a single person.
  • Partnership: Owned and managed by two or more people.
  • Limited liability company (LLC): A separate legal entity from its owners.

Step 3: Register Your Company

To register your company, you will need to submit the following documents to the Registrar of Companies:

  • A completed application form
  • Your company name and proposed business activities
  • The names and addresses of your company directors
  • The address of your company’s registered office
  • The amount of share capital invested in your company

Step 4: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

After registering your company, you will need to obtain any necessary permits and licenses for your business activities. This will depend on the nature of your business and the industry you are operating in. For example, if you are starting a restaurant, you will need to obtain a food and beverage license from the relevant government agency.

Incentives and Programs for Self-Employment and Business Start Ups in Brunei

Brunei offers several incentives and programs to encourage self-employment and business start ups. These include:

  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Development Program: This program provides financial assistance and support to small and medium-sized enterprises in Brunei. The program offers loans, grants, and training programs to eligible businesses.

  • Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB): The BEDB is a government agency that promotes economic growth and development in Brunei. The agency provides support and incentives to businesses in various sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, and technology.

  • Investment Incentives Order: This order provides incentives to companies investing in Brunei, including tax exemptions and reductions, duty-free imports, and other financial incentives.

  • Tax Incentives for Exporters: Companies that export goods or services from Brunei are eligible for tax incentives, including tax exemptions and reductions.

  • Brunei Darussalam Entrepreneurs Financial Scheme: This scheme provides financial assistance to local entrepreneurs in Brunei, including start-up capital and working capital loans.

In conclusion, Brunei offers attractive opportunities for expats looking to become self-employed or start a business. While there are some restrictions and requirements for obtaining work permits and registering as self-employed, the process is relatively straightforward. Additionally, there are several incentives and programs available to support and encourage self-employment and business start ups in Brunei. With a stable economy and a supportive business environment, Brunei is an excellent destination for entrepreneurs from around the world.