•  Sponsored Content 

If you’re living abroad as an expat and want to work as a freelancer or start your own business in Singapore, it’s important to understand the specific requirements beforehand. Before you fret, we have some good news for you: it’s not as hard as you think! Thanks to our friends at Pacific Prime Singapore, here is a list of all the important things you need to know.

Freelancer Vs. Self-employed Individuals

While both freelancers and self-employed individuals work for themselves, there are quite different. Here’s why:

Self-employed Individuals

Self-employed individuals own a legally registered company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or operate as sole proprietors. Additionally, they can hire more employees and have a more formalised business structure.


According to The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), freelancers in Singapore are considered self-employed individuals. Freelancers can be defined as those who provide services to clients on a project-by-project basis and receive fees for providing services or trading.

Examples of freelancers include delivery riders, writers, marketers, graphic designers, programmers, salespeople who receive commission-based income, and owners of online businesses.

Legal Issues Associated With Freelancing and Self-employment

Now that you know what self-employment and freelancing mean in Singapore, here are some legal issues you need to know before starting your career journey in Singapore.

Obtain the appropriate work visa

Foreigners cannot work in Singapore without a valid Work Permit, Employment Pass, or S Pass. This means individuals with a Dependent Pass (DP) or Long-Term Visit Pass cannot work in Singapore legally.

Register your business

As an expat, you cannot simply start working as a freelancer in Singapore, you need to apply for an EntrePass, which allows expats to start a venture-backed business or possesses innovative technologies.

Business license

If you are a freelancer, you may not need a business license to work in Singapore. But with some trade companies, you may need to get a license from the relevant government agency in order to work as a freelancer legally.

Understand tax obligations

Whether you are a freelancer or a self-employed person, you must pay taxes in Singapore. The tax rates depend on your tax residency status, which depends on the number of days you have spent in Singapore during a calendar year.

If you are an expat looking to work as a self-employed individual or freelancer in Singapore, there are several legal issues to be aware of. You can also consult a lawyer or a business registration service provider to ensure you comply with all necessary regulations and guidelines.

About Pacific Prime

Pacific Prime Singapore has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry and can help you with designing health insurance or corporate insurance that meets your requirements and budget.

Get in touch with Pacific Prime today for a FREE no-obligation quote!