Strict Rules For Entrepass Gets Expats Worked Up


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Strict Rules For Entrepass Gets Expats Worked Up

  1. 1. Story Print Friendly 11/4/09 11:24 AM Print Article >> Back to the article Nov 4, 2009 Stricter rules for EntrePass get expats worked up Foreigners who set up businesses here will have to hire S'poreans By Ang Yiying REVISIONS to a scheme for foreigners who want to set up businesses in Singapore are causing jitters among some expatriates. The amendments to the EntrePass scheme, made at the end of September, have made it more rigorous for new applicants, but those already on it fear they too will be asked to meet the new, higher standards. Previously, applicants for the pass had to submit a business plan and put down a $3,000 banker's guarantee or get a Singaporean sponsor. Now, new applicants also have to: Register their company as a private limited concern; Hold a share of at least 30 per cent in the company; and Have at least $50,000 in paid-up capital There are also specific guidelines to ensure that the businesses they set up create employment opportunities for Singaporeans. When they first renew the permits - each permit is valid for a maximum of two years - the business owners will have to show that they employ at least two Singaporeans and have total business spending of at least $100,000 over the past year. At subsequent renewals, they have to employ at least four Singaporeans and have total business spending of at least $150,000 over the past year. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which administers the scheme, said the changes are a way of ensuring that Singaporean workers benefit from enterprises set up here. Said a spokesman: 'A key characteristic of the new EntrePass framework is the requirement for all companies set up by EntrePass holders to employ locals.' Asked if the change is due to businesses under the old EntrePass not giving jobs to Singaporeans, the ministry said the old framework also considered employment creation, but the new framework has put down mandatory business requirements. MOM receives about 3,000 EntrePass applications a year, of which about half are approved. Those under the old framework - about 1,700 - have been given a choice to stay on it or transit to the new requirements. Asked if those renewing their passes under the old framework will also be subjected to the more rigorous assessment, the MOM would only say it is on a case-by-case basis. The changes are already causing some concern among foreigners who had intended to come here to start a business. Mr Pardeep Boparai, head of business development at Janus Corporate Solutions, which runs a website advising foreigners on how to do business here, said that about a third of those who had made enquiries about EntrePass applications have decided not to proceed because of the new framework. 'Many of the EntrePass applicants thinking of running a one-man business are discouraged now. They are not interested in applying for it any more,' he said. Some current EntrePass holders are also worried - they fear that they will be held to the higher standards when their permits come up for renewal. Among them is Canadian Jonathan Kwan, who has been running Kwantum Leap - a career counselling business - since July. He said he will opt to stay on the old framework when he renews his permit next year, but is unsure if his business will meet the new requirements. 'I can't imagine them giving me a lower standard... I think they will push up the criteria,' he said. The 31-year-old had not planned on hiring any help in the first three years of his business because he wanted to establish himself first. He added that service- based businesses like his will have a hard time chalking up total business spending of $100,000 a year. 'They're trying to close the gap a bit but not taking into consideration the businesses that are making a difference but cannot meet the loftier requirements,' Mr Kwan said. Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access Page 1 of 2
  2. 2. Story Print Friendly 11/4/09 11:24 AM S M T W T F S Take Our Poll Site Map FAQ About Us Advertise Weather Email Us SPH 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 RSS News Alert STI Widgets Newslink NewsPost ANN 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Best viewed at 1152x864 resolution with IE 6.0 or FireFox 2.0 and above Copyright © 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn No. 198402868E | Privacy Statement | Terms & Conditions Page 2 of 2