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Can a Shareholder of a Singapore Company Apply for Employment Pass in Singapore? What Are the Conditions?

Can a Shareholder of a Singapore Company Apply for Employment Pass in Singapore? What Are the Conditions?

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Can shareholder of Singapore company apply for Employment Pass in Singapore? What are conditions?

Singapore requires its companies to have a minimum of 1 shareholder and upto a maximum of 50 shareholders. Shareholders can be individuals or corporations, whether local or foreign. Moreover, Singapore enables 100% company ownership by foreign shareholders. Now, three questions from potential shareholders usually arise:

  • “Can a shareholder of a Singapore company apply for an Employment Pass (EP)?”
  • “As a shareholder of a company, am I guaranteed to be provided with an EP?”
  • “What are the requirements for EP application after company incorporation?”

These topics can get really confusing, especially for newly designated shareholders. Read on as we will answer all of these questions and explain them one by one and with clarity.

Is a Shareholder of a Company Entitled to EP Application?

A shareholder can also become a director of a company. However, the mentioned roles do not necessarily give one an entitlement to EP application or any specific pass. Hence, the answer to the question is no.

If one is willing to be a full-time employee of a Singapore company, then EP can be applicable to him or her. The first thing to note here is that EP is only applicable to employer-employee relationships. You can not apply for an employment pass just because you hold shares in the company or you act as a Director of the company. Only when you enter into contract with the company for the full time employment you can apply for EP.

What Does That Mean?

There is no special visa for a promoter, a Singapore company director, or a Singapore company shareholder. Anyone from any country can incorporate a company in Singapore, but that does not mean that he or she has eligibility for EP as it is controlled and has a quota.

Nevertheless, one can visit Singapore for business purposes using a social visit visa. A social visit visa allows anyone to visit Singapore for business dealings only, but EP cannot be applied purely to a company director or shareholder in such capacity. If one becomes a Singapore employee, then EP can be applied. The second thing to note here is that the approval of EP will be decided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

When Can a Shareholder Apply for EP?

Shareholder director and ep - When can apply

A shareholder of a company can apply for EP provided that the company agrees to employ him or her. The application for EP will be filed by the employer company. Then, the application outcome will be decided based on the merits of each case, the shareholder’s background, work experience, and monthly salary.

What Happens in Practical Cases?

Shareholder director and ep - Practical case

There are several cases in which a company is incorporated by a single shareholder and director, and that person will also relocate to Singapore as an employee. In this instance, the person is acting in three capabilities: as a shareholder, a director, and an employee due to the employment contract being agreed upon in an employer-employee relationship. Once that contract has been issued and signed, EP can be applied to this person. Once approved, he or she can relocate to Singapore. This arrangement is quite common and used in many cases in Singapore.

Being an Employee in Singapore: What Does That Mean?

Being an employee in Singapore means that you will:

  • Relocate to Singapore
  • Generally reside in Singapore
  • Work for a Singapore company on a full-time basis, rendering at least 40 hours per week
  • Receive monthly salary
  • Pay taxes on that salary

These scenarios are what would be expected of anyone who will become an employee in Singapore. Due to these conditions, relocating to Singapore will most probably not work for those who have growing businesses in their home countries.

What Other Options Are Available for Those Who Do Not Want to be an Employee in Singapore?

Shareholder director and ep - About limited company

Those who do not want to be an employee in Singapore, but want to occasionally visit the country, can resort to the following types of visa:

  • A social visit visa is available electronically for many countries in the world. This visa allows anyone to visit Singapore for business purposes only.
  • A business visa can be issued to an employee by his or her company if a social visit visa would cause some issues.

Acquiring these visas does not require meeting certain conditions in terms of employment, employment income, taxes, and so on.

In Conclusion

Holding shares in a company does not provide anyone with any special rights to acquire EP. There is no concept of a right to acquire EP just because one is a shareholder, a company director, or has incorporated a company in Singapore. EP is available only in the case of full-time employment status and its approval will be decided by MOM.

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