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Employment and Business Start UpsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Singapore - Self-Employment and Business Start Ups
Purchasing land or buildings in Singapore can be difficult for foreigners since permanent residents and foreigners are only allowed to buy apartments that are in buildings that are at least six stories high, in a development approved as a condominium development, or any non-residential, commercial or industrial property. If you wish to purchase landed residential property or any vacant land zoned for residential use then you must seek prior approval from:
Controller of Residential Property Land Dealings (Approval Unit)
Shenton Way #27-02, Temasek Tower
(+65) 6323 9853
It can be difficult for foreigners to start a business in Singapore without a lot of capital upfront. Most foreigners come to Singapore with an employment pass and those who do come with the intentions to start a new business do so with a large investment.
To register your business you can file online at Bizfile through the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority at http://www.acra.gov.sg. You might also need help with banking, finance issues, legal issues and insurance. For these needs, you can visit the Monetary Authority of Singapore at http://www.mas.gov.sg.
There are some organizations that might be able to assist you in starting your business endeavors. The Economic Development Board, for instance, provides investor support in Singapore. The Standards, Productivity, and Innovation Board falls under the Ministry of Trade and Industry and was developed to help companies find support in management development, funding, and marketing. In addition, it is the national standards and accreditation body. Enterprise One is a portal that has been designed to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Not only does it have information on government services, it also has how-to guides.
Economic Development Board: http://www.edb.gov.sg/edb/sg/en_uk/index.html Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board: http://www.spring.gov.sg International Enterprise Singapore: http://www.iesingapore.gov.sg Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority: http://www.acra.gov.sg EnterpriseOne: http://www.business.gov.sg
If you hold a Dependent Pass you may set up your own business. Most people choose to start as a sole proprietor since costs are reasonable and the administrative process is simple. It only takes around 2 weeks for the process, from start to finish.
Register Companies and Business
10 Anson Road
# 05-01/15 International Plaza
Tel: 6 227 8551
Fax: 6 225 1676
For some fields, there are special licenses and restrictions. This is particularly true in the medical field so you’ll want to be aware of these. The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) is a non-profit organization that helps small and medium sized businesses in Singapore. You can visit their website at: http://www.asme.org.sg
If you are self-employed then you must continue to pay social security taxes if you are a United States citizen. In Singapore, you must also contribute to Medisave if your net trade income is above S$6,000 per year.
Some expats also take over established businesses as a fast way to become self-employed. This can help you have a built-in client base and will revoke the need to start from scratch, saving you time and money.
When it comes to immigration issues, the EntrePass is available for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Singapore. These applications are jointly assessed by MOM and the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board Singapore. If your application is approved then you will be issued a pass for up to 2 years. If your business passes the renewable criteria then it will be re-granted for 3 more years. If you are using the EntrePass then be aware that you must make a minimum investment of S$50,000. However, if you are moving to Singapore under the Employment Pass scheme then there isn’t a minimum investment mandated by the Singapore authorities. Instead, it will depend on the size of your business, the number of staff you intend to employ, the location, etc. There are other costs associated with starting a business, however. These include the company incorporation fees and other licenses (food shop, liquor, etc.) where applicable.
Some accounting firms specialize in small business start-ups. Having a certified accountant is important and finding one that has a background in business start-ups can be invaluable. Since setting up a business is different for citizens, foreigners, and permanent residents, it is advised that you visit the ACRA website: http://www.acra.gov.sg
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