Set up a business office Get started on setting up your business office, or if your company does not require a physical office, you can consider having a virtual office in Singapore.
NOTE: If you intend to operate your agency from a home office, you’ll need to get an approval from either the HDB (for flats/apartments) or the URA (for private residences).
Apply for licenses (if any) Some businesses require additional business licenses before you can start operating. Find out more about licenses here.
Setting Up an Employment Agency
Singapore is pro-business and attracts foreign investments – this means hiring professionals both locally and globally is important aspect for businesses.
Employment Agency Licenses
There are two types of licenses for employment agencies:
Select License – requirement to apply for this license if your employment agency does placement for local or foreign candidates who monthly base salaries are upwards of SGD7,000
Comprehensive License – to apply if you do not qualify for the Select License
File and submit an application to the Ministry of Manpower
Processing takes about 1-3 weeks
Notification through email if approved, along with an in-principle approval (IPA) letter attached
Submission of these documents to obtain the Employment Agency license:
Copies of ID/ Employment Pass
Recent passport-sized photograph
Latest copy of your agency’s business profile from ACRA
Copy of the IPA letter
Copy of certificate which states that you have passed the Certificate for Employment Intermediaries (CEI) course
Completed checklist form
Any additional document requested in your IPA letter
NOTE: Key appointment holders must get certified, regardless of whether they perform or do not perform work related to employment agency activities. For the other employees, they only need to get certified if they perform employment agency activities in their work. Agencies with Select Licenses do not require certification.
Setting Up a Singapore Trading Company
A Trading Company is a business that connects buyers and sellers, either within the same country or on the international trading market. It is otherwise known as an import/export company or business.
Before you can import or export any goods in and out of the country, you will need to activate your account with the Singapore Customs and get an IN and OUT permit through the TradeNet.
IN Permit – required to apply before the goods are imported into Singapore
OUT Permit – required to apply:
Before the goods are exported out of Singapore (if goods are transported via road or rail)
Within 3 days of exports (if goods are transported via air or sea)
Before exporting any goods that were previously imported under the Temporary Import Scheme; or
Before exporting any goods under the Temporary Import Scheme
Other required licenses
There are certain licenses/ certifications required for various goods:
Permit for controlled goods – for import or export of controlled goods
Import Certificate and Delivery Verification – for import of high-technology goods
License for strategic goods – for export/ trans-shipment/ transit of strategic goods
Certificate of origin – for export of local goods
Ordinary Certificate of Origin – certifies that the products being exported are wholly obtained, produced, or manufactured in Singapore
Preferential Certificate of Origin – enable buyers to claim preferential tariff treatment when they import goods under one of the Free Trade Agreements or Schemes of Preference
Setting Up a Real Estate Company
Many foreigners are opting to live in Singapore and it is a good business opportunity when it comes to setting up a real estate company. For definition, a real estate agency, also known as a real estate brokerage, is an agency involved in the business of helping potential clients buy or sell houses.
Estate Agent License
Companies, partnerships, and non-individual sole proprietorships involved in the business of buying, selling, and leasing of properties must apply for the estate agent license. This is issued by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), and can be applied on the website.
The criteria for New Estate Agents are as follows, among others:
Must be a registered entity with ACRA
Must have a Key Executive Officer (KEO) who satisfies the requirements of the Estate Agents Act and Regulations (as below)
Must not hold a moneylender’s license
None of the estate agent’s directors or partners or sole-proprietor or KEO hold a moneylender’s license, or are an employee, director, or partner of a licensed moneylender
The estate agent’s KEO and all directors or partners or persons responsible for the management must fulfil the fit and proper criteria under the Estate Agents Act.
CEA shall determine if the person is fit and proper for registration after considering all relevant facts and matters. In the circumstances listed below, a person shall not be fit and proper for registration, unless CEA determines otherwise:
Where the person has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or fraud, or any offence under the Estate Agents Act
Where the person has had a judgment entered against him / her in civil proceedings that involve a finding of fraud, dishonesty or breach of fiduciary duties on his / her part
Where the person is an undischarged bankrupt or has made a composition or arrangement with his / her creditors
Where CEA takes the view that a person is not fit and proper after considering any other relevant facts or matters
As for the appointed KEO, he/she must fulfil these requirements, among others:
Have a minimum of 4 GCE ‘O’ Levels passes or equivalent
Possess a pass in the Real Estate Agency (REA) examination in the 2 years immediately before the application for a license
Be a sole-proprietor, director or partner of the estate agent
Have at least 3 years’ experience in estate agency work
Have concluded at least 30 transactions in the last 3 years as or on behalf of a licensed estate agent or have at least 3 years of experience in managing the business of a licensed estate agent as an executive director, a chief executive, key executive, key executive officer, partner or sole proprietor
Setting Up a Telecommunications Company
Singapore has one of the best telecom networks in the world. With the telecommunication service sector is growing fast in Asia-Pacific in the past few years, it’s no wonder why people are setting up a telecommunication company in Singapore.
Types of Telecommunication Licenses
Facilities Based Operator (FBO) License
License for In-Building Terrestrial Telecommunications Systems
Satellite Downlink License
Satellite Uplink/Downlink License for Broadcasting Purposes
Satellite Communication Station License
Portable Satellite Communication Terminal License
Earth Station License
Tracking, Telemetry and Command (TT&C) Earth Station License
Service-Based Operation (SBO) License
SBO Class Licenses
SBO Individual Licenses
Mobile Network Licenses
General Radio Communication License
Localised Private Network License
Localised Radio Communication License
Wide-area Private Network License
Telecommunication Dealers License
Experimental Station License
Permit for Road Occupation Management
ADVISE: With the breadth of licenses for the telecommunications industry, it is recommended for new telecommunications companies to engage a professional services firm to assist in the incorporation process.
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