Contract in Singapore

Contracting in Singapore - FAQ

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Singapore? 

5% with a minimum of $350 USD.


How long does it take to get a work permit in Singapore?

4 weeks.

What is the estimated net retention in Singapore for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in Singapore for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

Between 83-86%.

*doesn’t include fee for work permit or other immigration costs

More questions? See the rest of the FAQ for more information on the Singapore work permit process

Getting Started

Working on a contract in Singapore is appealing, provided you keep administration under control. You can keep a great percentage of your income, which you'll need: Singapore property is expensive! Ignoring the expensive property, you'll get to live in a modern, beautiful city full of amenities, with a well-connected transport and telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, global corporations have based their Asian headquarters in Singapore - which translates to some great opportunities for contractors.

Freelance Singapore Requirements


One of your first hurdles will be securing the proper work permit. To get one, you usually need an employer to act as a sponsor for your Singaporean Employment Pass. This means they take full responsibility for you while you’re working in the country.

That’s fine for full-time employees, but what about independent contractors?

Many clients won’t offer sponsorship for a temporary worker and, even if they do, you’ll need to apply for a new permit for each new contract. This creates a mountain of paperwork each time you want to work with a new client.


Additionally, you need to figure out what you owe (if anything) in taxes for your work in Singapore.

Of course, there’s also your country of tax residency; you’re likely to owe something on that front, too.

You can take advantage of certain tax structures, but doing so requires a strong familiarity with expat tax law in Singapore.

Benefits of working through an Umbrella Company in Singapore

You can outsource a lot of these admin problems to specialists at an Umbrella Company (or contractor management company).

An Umbrella Company basically becomes your full-time “employer,” even though you stay in control of your workload, clients, and schedule. The Umbrella Company simply collects and processes your payments, filtering out social security and any necessary fees.

They can also sponsor your work permit, meaning you get to take on new clients without the aggravation of applying for a new permit each time.

Even better, most specialise in tax law for contractors in Singapore and can ensure you’re keeping the largest amount of your earnings as possible. They can even assist you with reducing your tax liability back home.

In short, you get all the benefits of a working for an employer, without sacrificing your autonomy as a contractor.

How to get started with the right Umbrella Company

There’s a lot of Umbrella Companies out there; finding the right one for you can be daunting.

We’ve done the research on Umbrella Companies in Singapore, and know how to match contractors with the perfect company. If you’ve already secured a contract, get in touch with us and let us know your situation. We can get you started with the best Umbrella Company for you, or simply offer feedback on contracting in Singapore.

Oh, and we don’t charge anything. Drop us a line and get free, honest, simple advice.

Send your details for more information

Additional FAQ - work permits & payroll


What is the cost of a Work Permit in Singapore?

Currently it’s only $250 USD.

What documentation is required for a work permit in Singapore?

Copy of the candidates personal page of their passport, 2 passport photos, copy of their CV, police report (country dependent), certified copies of the candidates educational qualifications.

What is the work permit process in Singapore?

The company sponsoring the work permit (EP) will apply to the Singaporean Immigration Department for the EP and once approved the candidate can enter the country. The process can take place in Singapore without a need for the candidate to leave as long as the candidate has a valid visa. Once the EP is approved the individual may be required to undergo a medical examination, they will also need to have their fingerprints and a photo taken at the Employment Pass Service Centre. The candidate will also need to apply for the SingPass online,  it is used to transact between different government online services.

Can you transfer from a business visa to a work permit in Singapore?

Yes, you can!

Can we organise a business visa for Singapore?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Singapore?

1 week.

How much does a business visa cost in Singapore?

$150 USD.

Can nationals of certain countries enter Singapore without a business visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


Only the following countries do require a Business visa to enter Singapore:
India, Myanmar, Nigeria, China (PRC), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and holders of Palestinian Authority Passport, Temporary Passport issued by the United Arab Emirates, Refugee Travel Document issued by Middle-East countries, Hong Kong Document of Identity, Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit.



$4000 SGD.

How does payroll work in Singapore?


Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. They deduct social security  - where employers contribute 16% of gross salary and employees contribute 20% of gross salary into the CPF. They also deduct income tax - which is progressive and varies from 0-20% (Non-residents pay 15% on employment income and 20% on director's fees, consulting fees and other income) pendant on salary level. These deductions are made at source and paid to the Singapore tax authorities. Candidates are able to offset their taxable income with relevant business expenses. The World Bank estimates it takes employers in Singapore 10 man days to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes each year.

Client comment

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