Singapore is considered by most expatriates as one of the best places to live and work in the world. The city-state presents a plethora of opportunities and career development for you, your partner or any other family member. It is also easy for your partner who has a (Dependants Pass) to start and run business in this state. Because of this fact, many expatriate families relocate to Singapore each year.
Options for Dependant’s Pass Holders in Singapore
Singapore is consistently rated by expats as the best place in the world to live and work. The city-state provides expats with a perfect mix of career advancement, skills development, and quality of life. It is also fairly easy for spouses to advance their own careers as they have the option to either work in Singapore if they are here on a Dependant’s Pass (DP) and obtain a Letter of Consent (LOC), or start a company in Singapore by applying for an Employment Pass. This piece provides an overview of the Dependant’s Pass and the various ways that you can work or start a business under the pass.
What is a Dependant’s Pass?
This is a permit that allows spouses and kids of individuals who possess an Employment Pass or S Pass to join them in Singapore. Legally married partners and children who are under the age of 21 are allowed to apply for this permit. However, holders of the employment pass must be earning a minimum of S$5,000 per month for them to bring their dependants into this country.
If a member of your immediate family (spouse and children) is a holder of the Singapore S Pass, he or she will not qualify for a Dependant Permit (DP). An individual with a DP is eligible for employment in any organization or industry in Singapore and is allowed to run a business as well. A child or marriage partner of an individual holding an employment pass (EP) can get a Letter of Consent so as to start a business or get employment.
Before you can be issued with a Dependant Pass, you must meet certain criteria:
- Legally married to the Employment Pass holder
- He/She must be under the age of 21 years old
- If the child is adopted, legal documents showing this must be provided
What is a Letter of Consent?
DP holders can work in Singapore once their employer obtains a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the Ministry of Manpower. So, this is an official document given by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to permit qualified Dependant Pass, Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) or Long-Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) holders to look for employment or run a business in Singapore. If you want to be employed, your employer will have to apply for this document on your behalf after securing the employment. This means that the process is easy for you. However, if you want to start a business, you will apply for this document separately through your business entity.
Eligibility for the Letter of Consent (LOC)
For you to qualify for LOC you must meet the following conditions:
- You must hold a valid Dependant Pass valid for a minimum of three months
- You must have a job offer by an employer in Singapore
- You must be an immediate family member of an EP holder
It is imperative to point out that your employment as an LOC holder depends on the employment status of your spouse. This means that if your marriage partner gets laid off or is relocated from Singapore, you will also lose your LOC status. However, if your employer can directly secure an EP for you, meaning that you will not depend on the status of the Employment Pass of your spouse, you will not lose your right to work in Singapore.
The requirements for an E pass are strict; through background checks will be done to ascertain your educational, professional and criminal backgrounds. This is done to ensure that your application meets all the laid down requirements and procedures. The processing time for a letter of consent takes approximately one week.
With a Letter of Consent, you can start any business including a sole proprietorship business, private limited company or a jointly owned company. It is important for you to clearly understand the advantages and disadvantages of each business venture you choose to start in Singapore.
Dependant’s Pass vs. Employment Pass
The process of applying for an LOC is straightforward and quick. There is no education or professional eligibility requirement. Additionally, employers are not charged a foreign worker quota or levy when they hire a DP pass holder under an LOC.
However, LOC-based employment is dependant on the employment status of your spouse. If your spouse becomes unemployed, or is transferred out of Singapore, you will lose your LOC status.
The employer may be able to directly apply for an Employment pass for you. The validity of your EP will be independent of your spouse’s. This means that you will not lose your right to work in Singapore if the employment situation of your spouse changes.
The Business Route
You can own a Private Limited Company in Singapore as a Shareholder if you are a Dependant Pass (DP) holder. Private limited companies have limited liability, and it is easier to raise capital. A Pte Ltd is taxed at entity level, and you will be able to benefit from tax incentives and exemptions. It can be easy to add owners and transfer ownership interest to a Pte Ltd Company. Also, Singapore allows 100% foreign ownership in these types of companies; however Pte Ltd Companies come with high compliance and maintenance costs.
Do note that in order to be a Director in the Private Limited Company in Singapore, you would have to apply for an Employment Pass (EP).
Consider an employment agency
It can be a difficult process for DP holders, who are usually new arrivals, to chart Singapore’s complex hiring landscape on their own. If using the employment option, DP holders must secure an offer of employment before they can obtain an LOC. While there are jobs available for DP holders, the job-hunting process can be competitive and confusing.
Holders of DP, LOC, LTVP and LTVP+ permits have a lot of opportunities in Singapore. You can start a business or look for employment in the different sectors of the economy.
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