What does it take to incorporate a Business in Singapore?
Basically, the entire incorporation process is very easy and straightforward and in most of the cases it does not even take long. There are two main pathways one can take when registering a company in Singapore: that of relocating there completely or that of opening an offshore business there.
If you decide that you want to move to Singapore and open a business there (and run it from there), then you will need an EntrePass, a working visa that will enable you to live, work and do business in Singapore. Obtaining this visa is quite easy as long as you can prove the fact that you can be a valuable asset to the country. Even more, after a while you are allowed to apply for a permanent residence visa and your family and children can receive it as well (but do take into consideration the fact that your male children who are under 21 of age at the moment at which they receive the visa will have to serve in the Singaporean military).
Once you obtain an EntrePass, you can register your company yourself by making sure that you meet the minimum criteria and by filing all the necessary documents. This does not usually take very long and in a few weeks you can actually start to run your business.
The other path to opening a business in Singapore does not need you to have any kind of visa. You will not be able to live there for extended periods of time, but you will be able to visit the company when that is needed. Furthermore, you will have to meet additional criteria and you will have to hire a specialized agency to file the documents for you.
The Main Factors to Consider when Hiring a Singapore Company Secretary
In the Asian world of business, company secretaries are extremely important for the businesses to which they offer their services. Basically, this job implies the fact that you will have to take care that the company respects all the norms, laws and regulations that apply to certain situations (such as the Annual General Meeting for example). Furthermore, the company secretary will have to ensure that the company register is updated on a regular basis.
When you search for a company secretary in Singapore one of the main factors you should take into consideration is whether or not the person is a local or not. Hiring a foreigner may seem appropriate because you will be able to relate to him/her better, but the truth is that you will need a Singaporean secretary if you want to do business there.
If you want to incorporate your business using your own EntrePass, then you may not be required by law to have a Singaporean company secretary. However, it may be better for you because a local will understand the way businesses are run here in a better and deeper way and because he/she will understand all the norms and laws better.
If you want to register an offshore business, having a local company secretary will be absolutely mandatory (as well as having a number of directors and shareholders that are local). Since you will not be there to run the business, this criterion is quite easy to be understood and it is beneficial for both of the sides (for you because you reap the benefits of high quality company secretaries and for the country because it creates jobs for its locals as well, and not just for foreigners).
When choosing a company secretary service provider, make sure that he/she is precisely what you need. Make sure that he/she has the necessary knowledge to run all the secretarial tasks in the company and that he/she is well acquainted with the law, so that you do not have any unpleasant surprises later on.