Firstly, the foreign business owner would need to think about business operations and how he would like to manage them. For example, would his presence be regularly required for the day-to-day operations and management of the business? Would he only be around during meetings? Depending on how hands-on his management approach is, he would need to make an application for two different types of professional employment passes (PEP) or visitor visas from the government. In this instance, his application would be to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Business owners who intend to work in Singapore would be eligible to apply for the EntrePass which is an employment pass designed for foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in setting up a business and ultimately working in Singapore. Those with families would be allowed to make an application for them on the same EntrePass and this visa gives them the ability to stay and leave Singapore as they wish while the company is still in operations in the country.
Business owners who intend to apply for the EntrePass will need to ensure that the company meets all requirements as stated by the local authorities. The legal entity is required to have been registered or incorporated as a private limited company less than 6 months to the date of application for the employment pass. As the owner of the company, the EntrePass applicant is required to possess a minimum of 30% of total company shares and paid-up capital for the company should not be less than $30,000. If the business owner is able to meet such requirements, it is likely that he will be granted the EntrePass. While the eligibility of the pass depends on the company itself, successful first time applicants are normally granted with 2 year passes which is renewable in subsequent years. If the business owner then intends to hire other foreign professionals to work in Singapore – and this happens mostly if the business is a subsidiary – he would then need to look at professional employment passes (EP). Criteria for these passes normally depends on years of experience as well as monthly salary. All these factors would account toward the success rate of the application for the foreign worker.
On the other hand, business owners who only intend to stay in Singapore for short visits and would effectively be operating from outside Singapore can also apply for the Multiple Journey Visa which allows them multiple visits into the country. If their intention is for business opportunities or investments on a short-term basis, this is the best choice of visa for them. The requirements for this visa would be less stringent and visa holders would be granted 1, 3 or 5 year passes according to the discretion of MOM. However, the foreign investor must then note that it is compulsory to enlist the services of professional accounting or legal advisory consultants to assist with the incorporation of the company in Singapore even if he does not intend to live and work in Singapore. These Professional Employment Passes give applicants the ability and legal right to work in Singapore but there are still things which need to be done with regards to the legal business entity itself. This is the reason why it is important to seek out the services of professional consultants who would be able to give more information and data on the whole process.