Can you Setup a Business in Singapore with a Dependant Pass?

Singapore is a great choice for people globally – both to reside and to work. It’s known as a hub of opportunities for career development and business options not only for you, but also for your family members or partner. Yes, even your spouse who could be on a Dependant’s Pass (DP) is permitted to work with some organization or start his or her own business. This attracts many expat families to choose Singapore as their new home each year.

In this article, we will discuss how you and your partner can start and run a business with this pass.

What are the options available 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 offers expats a perfect amalgamation of good standard of life, career advancement and also skill development. It is also quite easy for one’s spouse to focus on their careers as they are permitted to work in Singapore under the DP by getting an LOC or Letter of Consent or do company formation in Singapore by filling an application for an Employment Pass.

Overview of Dependant’s Pass

It is a permit that allows the expats’ family members like spouse and children who have an Employment Pass or S Pass to come and live with them in Singapore. The spouse should be legally wedded and kids should be under 21 years of age to apply for this permit. Nonetheless, the Employment Pass holders should be earning at least S$6,000 or more per month so that they can get their dependants in the country.

In addition, in case your spouse and children are holders of the Singapore S Pass, then they would not be eligible for a Dependant Pass (DP) provided the holder of S Pass is earning at least S$ 6,000 or more per month. A person having a DP is allowed to get employment in any company or industry located in Singapore and is also permitted to start their own business and do Singapore company incorporation.

Criteria to get a Dependant’s Pass?

You would have to fulfil the following criteria to obtain a Dependant Pass:

  • Spouse should be legally wedded to the holder of the Employment Pass earning S$6,000 or more
  • The child should be less than 21 years of age
  • In case of an adopted child, you should submit the legal documents of adoption

What is a Letter of Consent?

DP holders are allowed to work in Singapore after their employer gets an LOC or Letter of Consent from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM). The MOM gives this as a permit only to qualified Dependant Pass, Long-Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) or Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders to find suitable employment or start their own business in Singapore. In case you are looking for a job, then your employer should apply to get this document on your behalf. In this case, the process is very easy for you. But, in case you want to set up your own business, then you would be required to apply for this document on your own through your business entity.


Eligibility to get the Letter of Consent (LOC)

You should be meeting the following criteria to qualify for LOC:

  • Should be holding a Dependant Pass that is valid for at least three months
  • Must have a job offer in Singapore
  • Should be an immediate family member (spouse or child) of an EP holder
  • Please note that your employment as an LOC holder completely depends on your spouse’s employment status; which means that in case the spouse is relocated from Singapore or is terminated from his/her job, then you would lose your LOC status immediately. Nevertheless, if your employer is able to directly get an EP for you, then your status of the Employment Pass would not depend on your spouse, and thus, you would not lose the right to work in the country.
  • The E pass requirements are quite strict as there are thorough background checks that are carried out to confirm one’s educational, professional and also criminal backgrounds. The processing of an LOC takes about a week.
  • Once you obtain an LOC, you are permitted to start your business and have any business structure you want. It is foremost to understand the pros and cons of all types of business venture that could be started in Singapore.

How to set up a business on a Dependant Pass?

If you are a Dependant Pass (DP) holder, you can start and run a Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd) in Singapore. Though there are various pros and cons of opting a Private Limited Company as a structure of your business, this structure of a company enjoys better and favourable tax rates, gets legal protection and also gets capital more easily. However, Pte Ltd Companies also have to follow higher compliance and come with bigger operational costs.

You must keep in mind that to be a Director in the Private Limited Company in Singapore, you will have to apply for an Employment Pass (EP).

Opting between a Dependant’s Pass and an Employment Pass

If you need to apply for an LOC, there’s a simple and quick process as there is no eligibility requirement (educational or professional). In addition, the employers are not charged a foreign worker quota or levy if they recruit a DP pass holder as per an LOC.

But, LOC-based job depends on the employment status of your spouse. In case your spouse is unemployed, or his/her job gets transferred out of Singapore, then you would also lose your LOC status.

The employer can directly apply for an EP for you and your EP’s validity would not depend on your spouse’s status, which means that you wouldn’t lose your job or right to work in the country if your spouse’s employment situation changes.

How to get a job on a Dependant Pass?

It’s true that it could be tough for DP holders, who have just come to Singapore, to get suitable employment and then go through the legal and administrative process. In case using the employment option, the DP holders should get a job offer or an offer of employment first and then they can get an LOC.

How can a Dependant’s Pass Holder start a business?

If you are wondering on how to register a company in Singapore or want to go for company formation in Singapore, we would recommend you to get in touch with a professional agency as that would help you save your time and effort. A professional agency such as IMC can help you to set up your own business or company and apply for an EP in case you want to be registered as a Director. An accredited employment agency could help you with submitting your EP paperwork after you set up your business and that would be much faster vis-à-vis you applying on your own.