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Compare EntrePass and EP: Guide for Finding the Right Visa

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Incorporation in Singapore is accompanied with comfortable migration schemes that are represented by the EntrePass and the Employment Pass. They both can be used for relocation of foreign directors, but in all other aspects, they differ in requirements, usage, and timelines. Their special features allow catering for even the rarest corporate needs and achieving more benefits. To work out the most winning relocation scheme for your situation, please refer to this comparison guide and don’t defer to leverage our FREE Singapore visa assessment.

EntrePass and EP: Similar Features

  • As was mentioned before, both visas can be used by business owners/directors for shifting to Singapore; however, in every case, such relocation has different conditions.
  • Both the EntrePass and the Employment Pass allow their holders to bring family members and parents along to Singapore but under different conditions.
  • Both visas are temporary and require renewals.
  • Both passes open the door to Singapore permanent residence; however, the suitable time to apply for it would be unique in every situation.

EntrePass and EP: Differences

1. Application

The Employment Pass enables overseas company directors and professionals to get hired in Singapore (in the case with directors or company owners, they must be employed by their own companies). The EntrePass is intended for successful overseas entrepreneurs who arrive for setting up new companies in Singapore and would like to take charge of them.

2. When to apply

When it comes to the company incorporation, the rule of relocation is: before and 6 months after the company’s registration, the EntrePass is available; the Employment Pass can be obtained only after the incorporation. It means that the entrepreneur whose company was registered later than 6 months ago can shift to Singapore only on the EP. The EntrePass allows the businessman to arrive in the country before the registration for making necessary preparations and handling the registration, but the firm ought to be registered no later than 30 days after the issuance of the EntrePass.

3. Paid-up Capital Requirement

Forming the company’s share capital of at least 50k SGD is a mandatory requirement for getting qualified for the Entrepreneur Pass. The government insists that the new firm must be incorporated as the Private Limited Company. The entrepreneur must be holding at least 30% of the shares. For the E Pass, the company’s capital isn’t that crucial; however, it will be one of the criteria against which the hiring company will be assessed. Higher paid-up capital, as well as longer track record, boosts the chance of the EP approval.

4. Business Specialisation

Unlike the Employment Pass, the Entrepreneur Visa has strict restrictions for certain kinds of businesses: massage, non-traditional medicine (or traditional Chinese one), nightclubs, coffee shops, staffing & travel agencies, hawker or fast food kiosks, geomancy, similar businesses do not qualify for the EntrePass. You should probably get a diligent assessment of your business idea for fitness for the EntrePass before moving on to the application procedure.

5. Education & Skill Requirements

Professionals and directors pursuing the Employment Pass must prove their high educational qualifications (degree or diploma from an avowed university) as well as competitive and called-for skills in the niche. The government will assess every candidate’s valuable knowledge and skills they can contribute. For obtaining the EntrePass, the educational requirement isn’t so crucial: the government is more interested in the outstanding entrepreneur background which the candidate must prove with his/her business portfolio.

6. Business Plan

Providing a detailed business plan on 10 pages is mandatory for getting the Entrepreneur visa. In this document, the entrepreneur must describe his/her business idea and argue its ability to boost the local economy. The businessman is required to stick his/her business plan, and, therefore, it must be a real and a well-considered plan. Writing an outstanding and persuasive business plan requires knowledge of the local business features and how the business develops in Singapore; that is why it is recommended to ask local visa/incorporation specialists for a piece of business advice.

7. Salary Criterion

The EP implies the minimum salary that shouldn’t be less than 3.3k SGD; but the principle is: the older the professional/director is and the more experienced he/she is, the higher salary he/she must be paid. Company directors are expected to show stronger skills and richer experience, and, therefore, such executives must qualify for the visa’s higher subclasses - P1 or P2 – which demand a higher salary. The Entrepreneur visa hasn’t any minimum salary criterion, but there are lots of specific entrepreneur criteria.

8. Renewals

The Employment Pass enables foreigners to stay up to 2 years in Singapore being employed. The exact visa validity is decided on a case-by-case base. Before the visa is going to expire, the company that hired the professional/director can renew the visa using the electronic account (starting from 6 months before the expiry date) or manually (starting from 3 months before the pass expires). The EP extension isn’t given automatically: the government will assess both the company and the overseas director/professional again according to the initial requirements. The maximum extension for the EP is 3 years. The Entrepreneur Pass must be renewed yearly based on such criteria: the entrepreneur’s company must spend at least 100k SGD and hire no less than 2 local employees. Every year, the amount of obligatory spending will increase gradually (150k, 200k, 300k SGD, and so on) and 2 new locals must be hired. The renewal procedure for the EntrePass starts 3 months and ends 2 months before the expiry date.

9. Inviting Family Members and Relatives

The Employment Pass holder’s ability to take a family to Singapore is defined by his/her means while the EntrePass holder must meet certain business requirements. Such family members as under-age children and legal spouses can get Dependant’s Passes and join the EP holder in Singapore if the monthly salary of the latter is at least 5k SGD. Parents (as well as step children or de facto partners) can arrive on the Long Term Visit Pass that requires the EP holder to have a salary of at least 10k SGD. The Entrepreneur is able to invite his/her family members only after the first visa renewal under such conditions: hiring 4 Singaporeans and spending over 150k SGD (it is more than for a regular renewal); for taking the parents along, the EntrePass holder will have to hire over 8 Singaporeans and spending over 300k SGD.

10. Innovative Criteria

Since 2009, the EntrePass has 2 special requirements the government introduced for innovating the local business: the new company must draw investment of at least 100k SGD from venture capitalists or angel investors and get its intellectual property protected by the relevant local institution. Other optional innovative criteria are: collaborating with universities or the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in the research area or participating in any of the government’s start-up incubator programs (as an incubatee). A company that hires a director on the Employment Pass doesn’t face such requirements.

11. Processing Time

Due to lighter requirements, Employment Pass is faster to get – 7 working days – while processing of the Entrepreneur Pass may take up to 4-6 weeks. Such timelines, however, aren’t fixed and can vary in different situations.

12. Approving authority

The EP application is submitted to and processed by one authority – the Ministry of Manpower. For the EntrePass, 2 authorities are involved: the MOM (for getting the visa) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (for registering the company).

The EntrePass and the Employment Pass provide different benefits and compensate weak points of each other. If you aren’t sure which relocation scheme to choose for your new Singaporean business or need a deeper understanding of some of the requirements, please, try our FREE assessment that helps to find a custom and efficient pass solution.

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