EntrePass Tougher Eligibility Requirements from September 2013

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced major revisions to the eligibility criteria for the EntrePass scheme.



 In line with the Singapore government’s recent announcements on plans to restrict immigration, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced major revisions to the eligibility criteria for the EntrePass scheme – a work pass scheme designed for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to relocate to Singapore to start a new business. The new revisions make it much harder to qualify for the EntrePass visa and will take effect from 1 September 2013.  Specifically, the existing requirements will be supplemented with the following additional criteria:

1. To be eligible for EntrePass, the applicant must either:

  • Receive funding from a recognised third-party venture capitalist or business angel; or
  • Hold a proprietary or licensed Intellectual Property (IP) recognised by an approved national IP institution; or
  • Have research collaboration with a research institution recognised by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), or any local tertiary institution; or
  • Is an incubate at a recognised incubator supported by SPRING Singapore or National Research Foundation (NRF); or
  • Receive support from a Singapore Government agency.

2. Thereafter, within the first six months of receiving the EntrePass, the applicant must submit all of the following:

  • Tenancy contract; and
  • Employees’ CPF statements; and
  • Statement of shareholding structure in the registered company and the date of incorporation.

An EntrePass visa is valid for up to one year, and is renewable subsequently. The current criteria framework for renewal applications will also be amended in favour of a more progressive framework. The intention is to ensure that EntrePass holders are actively contributing in proportion to the number of years of operating the business in Singapore. More details can be found on MOM’s Media Factsheet.

Under the existing criteria, the applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The company must be a registered Private Limited Company, with at least $50,000 paid-up capital (which must be substantiated with a bank statement from a Singapore-based company bank account);
  • The applicant must hold at least 30% of the shares in the company;
  • The company must not be registered for more than six months at the point of the EntrePass application;
  • The business idea must be entrepreneurial in nature and capable of generating local employment.
These refinements seem to be intended to raise the quality bar for foreign entrepreneurs who set up businesses in Singapore and as part of the government’s new direction towards an elevated foreign workforce profile.