The Republic of Singapore is known for its business-friendly policies and vibrant startup scene. The city-state has been actively inviting entrepreneurs and foreign talents to set up their businesses and contribute to the country’s workforce. This article will focus on the role of immigration and permanent residency in Singapore’s startup scene.
Singapore’s efforts to attract immigrants began several decades ago, with the government’s focus on developing a liberal immigration policy. The primary purpose of this policy was to offset the country’s weak birth rates and to invite more manpower to support its growing economy. Additionally, Singapore wanted to encourage foreign minds with innovative ideas to develop competitive models within its soil. This was in line with its efforts to become a Smart Nation, with a focus on information technology, research and development, and other related industries.
Immigrant entrepreneurs are considered some of the most desirable residents, especially for a place like Singapore. The Republic has been working hard to create a supportive ecosystem for startups, with transparent business policies, prolific funding initiatives, and solid support from the government. However, Singapore still needs fresh minds and ideas that can only be gleaned from individuals who have been exposed to other entrepreneurial cultures.
One of the challenges for aspiring startup founders with no permanent resident rights is setting up a company in Singapore. The government requires a company to have at least one company director who is ordinarily a resident in Singapore, which is again in compliance with its aims of knowledge sharing between foreign investors and locals. This requirement encourages qualified individuals to apply for Permanent Resident (PR) status.
Over the last few years, the local government has offered a variety of schemes to encourage thousands of foreigners to apply for permanent residency. The Global Investor Programme (GIP) is designed to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in the city-state. The Singapore Economic Board provides a variety of schemes to assist investors by linking them with other foreign entrepreneurs and local business networks. The programme also offers a range of immigration facilitation for easier entry.
The GIP scheme allows an individual and their family to apply for PR status if they start a business with a minimum investment of SGD2.5M. Entrepreneurs with good track records are also encouraged to apply for PR status. For those looking for detailed steps on how to enter Singapore and register a business, the EDB website provides helpful information.
The EntrePass scheme serves to encourage foreign entrepreneurs and their families to relocate to Singapore. This is a requirement before an immigrant can incorporate a company in the city-state. The EntrePass is valid for two years and is issued after submitting a good business proposal. It allows immigrants and their immediate families to travel in and out of the country freely. The pass can also be renewed depending on good business performance.
Singapore, like other countries, observes the progress of its immigrants over time. The arrangement of offering conditional visas that can be converted to permanent resident status has proven effective for the city-state and its entrepreneurial targets. Immigration is considered one of the most important pillars that have contributed to its burgeoning startup scene. Combined with the government’s general hospitality towards business, Singapore has made it easy for talented and highly-educated workers and investors to come to the country with its solid programs for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Singapore’s immigration policies have played a significant role in driving startup growth. NonStop Games, a perfect case study of the power of immigration policies, was scattered across the globe when it started. It was only when Singapore offered the founders and their families permanent residency that they decided to relocate the company to the city-state. The company has since flourished, and its success has helped to cement Singapore’s reputation as a rich hub for promising minds and talents.
In conclusion, Singapore has created a supportive and attractive ecosystem for international entrepreneurs and skilled workers. Through dedicated immigration policies, the government provides clear and easily accessible permanent residency schemes which have been instrumental in cementing the country’s position as a preferred destination for foreign talents.