Setting up a company in Singapore and is it easy for a foreigner to set up business in Singapore?

Setting of a company is not a piece of cake as one fine day you dream of setting it and next day you have done with it. No, it is not that easy and involves fulfillment of certain legal, government and fiscal obligations on the part of the proprietor. In fact there are certain steps; which are required to be followed for brining the company into legal existence.

Every country has its own rules and regulations; that have to be adhered with while setting a company. Similarly in you are planning to set the company in Singapore, it is imperative to follow the rules and laws laid down by the acts and government of Singapore.

The process of setting up a business in Singapore for a foreigner is administratively easy. They should first obtain either Employment pass or the Entrepreneur pass. Both the passes allow the foreigner to become the local resident director of the company.

Below are certain key requirements for the foreigners to adhere to while setting up a business in Singapore:

1. Registering a sole partnership: Foreign nationals can apply for sole partnership after having appointed authorized representative; who will be the resident of Singapore. Individuals, who come under the bracket, are Singapore citizens, Entrepass holders and Permanent Residents. However, if you are planning to reside in the country, then you have to apply and obtain Entrepass on Ministry of manpower website.

2. Partnership registration: Same as sole proprietorship, foreigners can register for partnership in Singapore if either of the partners is the ordinarily resident in Singapore. In case if all the partners are foreign nationals, then it is imperative to appoint an authorized representative, who is ordinarily resident of the country. And if you and your partners are planning to reside in Singapore and run and manage the partnership business yourself, then you will have to apply for an Entrepass on Ministry of manpower website.

3. Incorporating a Company: Unlike sole partnership and partnerships, the setting up of foreign companies is a bit tough and time consuming process. Incorporation of company comes under two categories:

a. Foreign nationals, who wish to set up a local Company in Singapore

b. Foreign companies wishing to set up in Singapore.

a. Setting up a local company: In case you are a foreigner, wishing to set up a local company, then you will have to appoint at least 1 locally resident director and you can reside in your home country or any country outside Singapore. The rest of the incorporation process is same as that of any local company incorporated there. But, if you are planning to stay there for managing and operating the operations of your business, then you have to apply for Entrepass with the Ministry of manpower website and then proceed with the process.

b. Registration of foreign company: In case, you are the owner of the foreign company and wish to set up in Singapore, there are four entry options viz. branch office, subsidiary, transferring its registration from one country to Singapore and a representative office. Each entry option has its own ifs and buts and one has to take into account various aspects like tax exemptions and extent of liability. Foreign companies have to take pros and cons, before deciding the best entry option.

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