Employment Pass vs EntrePass Comparison

Foreign business professionals and entrepreneurs who plan to relocate to Singapore are often not clear whether they should apply for an Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass). The purpose of this guide is to provide a general guidance on the difference between the two relocation schemes.

Do note that the type of pass most suitable for your circumstances may not always be clear; therefore if you plan to relocate to Singapore and need our assistance, please contact us.

How are EntrePass and Employment Pass similar?

  • Both work passes are essentially temporary residency schemes that allow the applicant and his/her immediate family to relocate to Singapore.
  • Applications for both work pass schemes are subject to review and approval by government authorities.
  • Both work pass schemes are issued for 1-2 years and renewable, subject to their respective renewal requirements.
  • Both work pass schemes allow the applicant and his/her family to apply for Singapore permanent residence in due course, subject to approval by authorities.
  • Both work pass schemes expect that the pass holder will be paid a salary from the company. The pass holder will be liable to pay Singapore personal income tax based on the salary on an annual basis.

How are EntrePass and Employment Pass different?

Although there are many similarities as described above, the two passes also differ in many ways.

Shareholding Requirement

If the applicant holds more than 30% of the shareholding, they will likely need to apply under the EntrePass scheme. Nevertheless, it is still possible to apply under the Employment Pass scheme.

Timing of Application

  • If you wish to apply for work pass before incorporating the company:
    • You would only have the option to apply for EntrePass (because an Employment Pass can only be applied after the company is set up). If your EntrePass application is approved, you will be required to incorporate the company within 30 days
  • If your company is incorporated but less than 6 months old:
    • You can apply for either EntrePass or Employment Pass subject to meeting their respective shareholding and other eligibility requirements.
  • If your company is incorporated and more than 6 months old
    • You can only apply for Employment Pass. When applying for an EP under a company that is more than 6 months old, the authorities may ask to demonstrate positive developments in the company such as contracts, revenue, business expenditure, etc, to ensure you are running a viable business.

Business Idea & Business Plan Requirement

When applying for the EntrePass, the business idea must be entrepreneurial and innovative in nature. A business plan of approximately 10-pages will need to be submitted as part of the application. It must have the potential for good growth, and result in the increased hiring of local employment. Routine business ideas such as travel agency, staffing agency, etc, do not qualify for EntrePass applications.

Employment Pass applications typically do not require a business plan submission; however, authorities may ask for such details on a case-by-case basis.

Educational Qualifications Requirement

Educational qualifications are less important for EntrePass applications because the business idea and the applicant’s relevant background both carry more weight. In the case of an Employment Pass, on the other hand, the applicant must have a tertiary degree from a reputable university and good professional experience.

Paid-up Capital Requirement

When applying for EntrePass, the company is required to have a minimum paid-up capital of $50,000. There is no such official requirement when applying for Employment Pass, although the amount of paid-up capital will likely be a contributing factor in the review of EP application.

Local Employees Hiring Requirement

The EntrePass has local staff hiring requirements that will be taken into consideration during renewal application. The company must have employed a certain minimum number of full-time local staff (starting from two local employees) for the past 12 months at the renewal time. Hiring local staff is one of the key requirements for EntrePass renewal. For more information on this, refer to the EntrePass Renewal Guidelines Section of our EntrePass Guide.

Business Spending Requirement

EntrePass renewal has certain minimum Total Business Spending requirement ranging from S$100,000 to S$400,000 over the past 12 months.

Additional Information

Below is another side-by-side comparison of the EntrePass and Employment Pass schemes. For detailed information about the each, refer to Employment Pass Guide and EntrePass Guide pages.

Employment Pass EntrePass
Who is it for? For company staff and executives For founders of the newly setup companies who have at least 30% shareholding
When can it be applied? Can be applied at anytime after incorporating the company. Can be applied either before company incorporation or within six months of the incorporation.
What is the main evaluation criteria? Company credentials (paidup capital, operating history) and applicant credentials (education, professional relevant experience, proposed salary) Proposed business idea, local hiring, investment amount, applicant’s relevant background
What is the minimum salary requirement? SGD 3,600 (w.e.f. 1 January 2017) No specific requirement
Is there a minimum investment amount required? No official minimum amount required, however paid-up capital will be one of the factors considered by authorities. Our recommendation is to have at least SGD 50,000. Minimum investment amount is SGD 50,000
Is there any difference in the documents to be submitted? May require a copy of the tenancy agreement for business operating address, and other documents upon MOM’s request. Requires submission of a business plan
Who reviews and approves/disapproves the pass? A single government authority Two different government bodies
What’s the processing time after application submission? 3-8 weeks Within 8 weeks
For how long is the pass issued initially? 1-2 years at the discretion of authorities 1 year
Are family members eligible to relocate to Singapore? Yes. The spouse and unmarried children under 21. Yes. The spouse and unmarried children under 21.
Can the spouse work in Singapore Yes. Permission is required from authorities. Yes. Permission is required from authorities.
Can the children study in Singapore? Yes, children can attend public or private schools. Yes, children can attend public or private schools.
What is the renewal criteria? You must still be employed by the company. The business must be operating as per the original plan, the company should have employed local staff, and fulfil any other conditions as may be listed in the EntrePass approval letter or eligibility requirements.
Can the applicant apply for Singapore permanent residence in due course? Yes. Normally after 2 years and is subject to approval by authorities. Yes. Normally after 2 years and is subject to approval by authorities.
For more details on work pass applications, please refer to Ministry of Manpower website.

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