Newsletter August 2015

The 29th of March 2015 will be etched in the minds of Singaporeans... it's the day the founder, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was returned to mother earth.

Being a pragmatic society, Singapore has never seen such nationwide outpouring of emotions... with countless tributes from the rich to the poor, politicians and the man in the street... Long queues of citizens, braving the hot sun or unearthly mornings for up to 10 hours to pay their last respects... which, up to then, was unheard of here.

Thanks to the sacrifices of the pioneer leaders, today, Singapore is an “international city” and viable platform into AsiaPacific. I have extracted some snippets below... a little bit of "then" and where we are "now" and why so many multinationals and recruitment companies have chosen to set up a base here to platform into the region.

Yours sincerely...
Harry... on behalf of The lnnovare Team 


The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Singapore was worth 307.87 billion US dollars in 2014. Its GDP per capita grew from US$2530 (1960) to US$38087 (2014), an all-time high. Given that Singapore started as a fishing village way back then, without any natural resources, it's quite a feat.


Unemployment Rate in Singapore stood at 1.90 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, averaging 2.48 percent from 1986 until 2014. This is spurred by the increase in the economic growth coupled with the lack of suitable talent. There is a constant talent war in Singapore. As a result, many of the expertise tend to be imported from countries possessing the know-how. At the other extreme, many of the lower end jobs are also filled by able foreigners in the construction and service industries.


In a global corruption survey reported by Berlin-base group Transparency International (TI), it is the seventh least corrupt country after three years of taking the No. 5 spot.

Singapore has also consistently been placed ahead of other Asian economies including Japan (15th), Hong Kong (17th), South Korea (43rd), Malaysia (50th), India (85th), Philippines (85th), Thailand (85th), China (100th) and Indonesia (107th).

This increases the ease of doing business. Red tape in most industries, apart from the controlled sectors (eg defence) are kept to a minimum.


Singapore has again been ranked the most liveable city in Asia and the world according to an index for expatriate living conditions published by human resource consultancy ECA International (Jan 2015).

"Good air quality, solid infrastructure, decent medical facilities, low crime and health risks have contributed to Singapore maintaining its position at the top of the global ranking for quality of living for Asian assignees." said Mr Lee Quane, Regional Director for Asia at ECA lnternational.


Apart from maintaining the usual low tax environment, there is a clear indication that the policy thrust is the internationalisation of businesses based here. There are numerous government based initiatives from information support, partner matching, funding, grants and subsidies put in place to support this.

The Manpower Debate

The vision of Singapore as a multinational hub meant that an open manpower policy was in force. Talent was encouraged to relocate here, meaning that immigration requirements became expansionary. The policy succeeded in spurring growth but at the same time, the population grew from about 1.8m (1965) to 5.5m (2015) with about a third comprising of foreigners.

The political backlash in declining electoral votes resulted in a tightening of immigration policies from 2012 to the present. Initially, it was focused on the lower wage workers but from 2013... the guidelines extended to the professionals. It's not a question of shutting the doors but policies dictate that fair consideration needs to be given to locals first.

Setting up a Company

If one is convinced by the Singapore proposition, to set up a corporation is relatively simple in Singapore.

Whilst infrastructure costs tend to be on the high side, it is correspondingly effective. More importantly, due to the stringent laws corporations are required to observe, a Singapore incorporated company commands a branding that opens doors to the region and the world.

Setting up a Recruitment Business

However, to set up a recruitment business requires more careful planning. Over the years of assisting recruitment companies set up, some have skidded as a result of inadequate planning. This is because there are a few key initial steps that are critical:

  1. Setting up the company.
  2. Application for employment passes (EP) and compliance of the EP holder.
  3. Obtaining the Employment Agency (EA) licence. This involves attending qualifying entry tests, placement of appropriate bonds amongst other steps.
  4. The selection of the licence representative (KAH) is critical as a wrong choice can potentially disrupt operations.

Whilst recruitment might be a rather saturated industry, niche recruitment in specialist sectors is still thriving. Moreover, the contracting market is still in the growing stages as this form of "employment structure" seem to be gaining acceptance amongst the multinationals and younger technically competent population. 


For assistance on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact BizSupport (a division of Innovare) or visit our website at
Tel: +65 6336 7966

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