Singapore is a popular destination among foreigners, not only for tourism but also for migration with the hope of better work and business opportunities. There are several visas offered to foreigners that allow them to work in Singapore such as S pass, Employment Pass, Personalised Employment Pass, and EntrePass. Each work pass has its own eligibility criteria and is suited for different purposes. It can get a bit confusing to identify the most appropriate pass you are eligible for. Hence, having a basic understanding of each of them is a must.
In this article, we will be focusing on two passes that are mainly for foreign business professionals and entrepreneurs – Employment Pass and EntrePass (Entrepreneur Pass).
Employment pass (EP) is a Singapore working pass issued to foreign professionals, managers, specialists, and executives to work in Singapore, provided that they earn a fixed salary of at least $3900 per month and have acceptable qualifications from accredited institutes.
EntrePass is a Singapore working pass issued to foreigners who want to start and operate a new business in Singapore, provided that their business meets the criteria for application as an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor.
Comparing Employment Pass and EntrePass
While both Employment Pass and EntrePass allow you to stay and work in Singapore, there are many differences between the two passes. Below is a comparative analysis of the two passes that will help you get a clearer understanding and decide which pass will be applicable for you.
|Who is it for?||Any foreign employee who has a job offer to works in a managerial, executive, or specialized job in Singapore.||Any foreigner planning to move to Singapore to start a business that adheres to any of the following criteria:
1. Has raised funds of at least $100,000 from a government recognized venture capitalist or business angel
2. Is an existing incubatee at a government recognized incubator or accelerator in Singapore
3. Has a proven entrepreneurial track record and business experience along with strong industry connections that are related to your proposed business
4. Holds an intellectual property (IP), registered with an approved national IP institution that gives your business a competitive advantage and cannot be replicated easily
5. Existing research collaboration related to your proposed business with a research institution under the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore
6. Exceptional technical or domain expertise in an area related to your proposed business
7. Has a track record in investing in businesses and would like to invest a substantial amount in a local Singapore business
|Businesses not eligible||An EP holder can work in any industry provided that it’s legal. They can even start and own a 100% share of a company but cannot be employed or registered as a director of the company they own. An EP holder can work only for the employer who has sponsored their EP.||An EntrePass is not eligible for the following businesses:
1. Coffee shops, hawker centers, and food courts
2. Bars, nightclubs, and karaoke lounges
3. Foot reflexology and massage parlors
4. Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and herbal dispensing businesses
5. Employment agencies
6. Geomancy business
|Who can apply?||Only the employer or a third party agency appointed by the employer can apply for an EP||The candidate can apply for the EntrePass on their own.|
|When to apply?||EP can be applied any time after the company has been incorporated||EntrePass can be applied before or up to 6 months from the time the company has been incorporated. If the Entrepass is obtained before the company is incorporated, the entrepreneur needs to incorporate the company within 30 days upon receiving the pass. Find out more about our company incorporation services for foreigners.|
|Pass Validity||2-3 years||1-2 years|
|Educational Qualifications||Should have acceptable qualifications from reputed and credible institutions or universities||No specific educational qualifications required|
|Salary requirements||A fixed monthly salary of at least $3900 for fresh graduates. For more experienced candidates, the minimum salary range is higher.||No minimum salary requirement|
|Shareholding requirements||No shareholding requirements||The pass holder must hold at least 30% of the shares of the company. Any applicant holding less than 30% of shares has to apply for an EP instead.|
|Minimum investment||No investment required||No minimum paid-up capital is required, although it is advisable to have a paid-up capital of at least $50,000. This will also automatically make you a member of the Singapore Business Federation.|
|Quota & Levy requirements||No foreign worker levy or quota required||No foreign worker levy or quota required|
|Pass renewal criteria||An EP can be renewed for another 2-3 years if the holder is still working for the employer. The pass can be renewed only by the employer or an authorized third-party agency.||An EntrePass can be renewed for another 1-2 years if the company meets the goals and objectives in the business plan, along with the below criteria:
|Family Passes||EP holders are eligible to bring their family over, provided that the EP holder is earning more than $6000 fixed monthly salary.
They can apply for a Dependant Pass (DP) for their legally married spouse or unmarried children under 21 years and a Long term visit pass (LTVP) for a common-law spouse, unmarried handicapped children above 21 years old, and unmarried step-children under 21 years old. They can also apply for LTVP for their parents if they earn more than $12000 per month.
|Entrepass holders can bring their families to Singapore on either DP or LTVP.
If the total annual business spending is at least $100000 and they employ at least 3 LQS or 1 PME in their company, DP can be applied for legally married spouse or unmarried children under 21 years and LTVP for a common-law spouse, unmarried handicapped children above 21 years old, or unmarried step-children under 21 years old.
LTVP can also be applied for EntrePass holder’s parents if their total annual business spending is at least $200000 and they employ at least 6 LQS or 2 local PMEs
|Can pass holders apply for PR?||Yes, after working in Singapore for some time, they can apply for permanent residency.||Yes, after working in Singapore for some time, they can apply for permanent residency.|
By now, you should have a good understanding of how Employment Pass and EntrePass differ from each other.
The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reviews each application based on its merit and there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. Make sure you apply for the right work pass and provide correct details and authentic documents to increase your chances of approval. At HeySara, our extensive experience in work pass applications can assure you a streamlined process and lessen the work burden on your side. Read more on how we can increase your chance of getting a work pass approval or contact us for a no-obligation, free advice today.