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I'm Nicolas, French, 33 years old, working in France as an IT consultant

I'll be moving to Singapore in September to follow my partner (common law spouse) who got a job offer there. I'll be moving to Singapore with an LTVP, my current employer, in France, informed me they will not be able to keep me as an employee, working fully remotely from Singapore due to their own policy.

But they will be ok if I continue working for them as a freelancer.

So regarding this option, I'm trying to understand what are my options and trying to understand the best one related to my future position.

Should I create my freelance company based in France, am I allowed to work in Singapore fully remotely for a company located in another country. Would you know the taxes legislation related to this situation ?

Should I create my freelance company based in Singapore, what could be the process ? Should I get a work visa to be allowed to work on my own ? What is the taxes legislation linked to this situation should I declare anything in France as well?

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  • I am not sure this fits at Expatriates Stack Exchange, but I do know it does not fit on Travel Stack Exchange, so I try to move it.
    – Willeke
    Jun 1, 2023 at 18:55
  • There’s lots of expertise on this forum, however I can’t help thinking that moving around 11,000km and going self-employed is a pretty big deal and probably worth getting comprehensive advice from a professional.
    – Traveller
    Jun 2, 2023 at 17:04

1 Answer 1

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Working in Singapore as a non-citizen, non-PR requires a permit from the Ministry of Manpower. The permit must be applied for by a company, with respect to a specific job you will do. There are different kinds of work permits such as Employment Pass and S-Pass depending on your salary. Finally, there is the Letter of Consent which is an alternative for people like you on LTVP. A company can apply for the Letter of Consent for you to work on your LTVP. But this Letter of Consent may not be granted, even in straightforward cases.

Some paths which might let you work are:

  1. Get a regular job at a company with offices in Singapore. They will apply for an EP or S-Pass for you. This is fairly likely to succeed if you find a well-paying job at a respectable company.
  2. Have someone start a Singapore registered company which will apply for a Letter of Consent. The company needs a Singapore citizen or PR as its director. This approach requires more effort on your part and is less likely to succeed.
  3. Find someone who already has a small company in Singapore which does consulting for other companies. They would apply for the Letter of Consent, and if it is granted, you work for them and they bill your client. This might be tricky when you have no network in Singapore, and again it may be rejected.

Your question implies you may not be interested in option 1. But since 2019 or so, that may be the only option you end up having. There are quite a few "trailing spouses" in Singapore who find themselves unable to work.

The tax part is far easier, not really worth worrying about until you sort out the above.

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