The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Singapore

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

For expatriate workers and their employers in Singapore, understanding the process to obtain a valid employment permit is vital. The Singapore government’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM) issues a wide range of work passes and permits to expatriates planning to work in Singapore. Each of these employment permits is designed for a specific purpose and differs across various categories of employees, based on their professional skills and monthly salaries.

Some of the most common employment permits issued by the government of Singapore are discussed below:

Employment Pass

The Employment Pass (EP) is issued to expatriates employed as foreign managers, executives, and skilled professionals in Singapore, for an initial period of 2 years; thereafter, the pass can be renewed for up to three years at a time. The EP is generally issued to individuals with a job offer that includes a minimum monthly salary of SG$3,600. More experienced candidates are required to be offered a higher salary to qualify for the same.

Read the complete article here.


“Companies embark on hibernation strategy”

An interview with Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search.

How has the demand for executive search in Iran developed since 2015?

After the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, the interest of European business in Iran was huge at first, and the euphoria was great. Numerous delegations led by ministers and mayors have subsequently set off to Tehran to explore opportunities for cooperation with the Iranian side.

Many European companies decided in 2016 to set up representative offices and distribution companies. Accordingly, in 2016 and 2017 in particular, we assisted a considerable number of companies with recruitment. The machinery and plant engineering sector was particularly active at the time, but also the pharmaceutical industry, the automotive and the consumer goods sectors.

Read the complete interview here


“Business policy of banks is illegal”

An interview with Dr. Helmut Gottlieb, member of the management team, Bank Melli Iran, Hamburg.

For what reasons have European banks so far refused to accompany non-sanctioned Iran business of their customers?

Already with the entry into force of the JCPOA agreement in January 2016, the majority of European commercial banks refused to settle Iran-related business. This was regularly justified by a business policy decision of the respective management. An objective justification was never cited.

This business policy has a lasting negative impact on trade between Iran and Europe. 90% of trade between Iran and Europe is from Europe to Iran. Only a tenth of the trade volume is imported from Iran to Europe.

Read the complete interview here


The automotive parts market in Nigeria

This study was done by africon

The Nigerian automotive industry appears to be an interesting market, as our research on the automotive parts market shows that the market size is worth USD 4.4bn or more.

The total vehicles in operation in Nigeria is currently estimated at 12.7 million, and Nigerian drivers spend an average of USD 350 on automotive parts per year.

Read the complete article here


“Iran has had a very difficult year”

An interview with Dagmar von Bohnstein, Managing Director, German - Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK)

What is the mood among German companies in Iran? What measures have companies taken to respond to the new situation resulting from the reinstatement of US sanctions?

As could be expected, the mood among German companies is not good. Many of them waited throughout last year to see if there would be any movements on the political level. After this had not happened by November 5, the second stage of US sanctions, most of them have reduced their Iran business to a minimum and withdrew the German executives.

At the same time, hardly any German company has completely given up its engagement in Iran. They are all waiting to intensify business as the political environment improves.

Read the complete interview here


India Eases E-Visa Rules for Business Travelers

India Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

Foreign nationals can now get a business e-visa for one year with multiple entries subject to the number of days of the visit and registration requirements. Previously the visa permitted expatriates only two entries for a period of 60 days.

The notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs also states that nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa can visit India on business e-visa for a continuous period of 180 days per visit.

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africon publish insights on the african steel industry in the ITA Journal

This article was published by africon

The growing young population together with economic growth on the continent lead to a growing labour force and cities which lead to a significant increase in middle class. Furthermore, the continent is pushing towards manufacturing and automation as this sector remains as the continent weakest link. Also, constant rise in foreign direct investment over the past decades is further boosting the economy not only in financial terms but as well in terms of knowledge, expertise and technology. 

Read the complete article here


Challenging issues in Russian immigration law

An interview with Thomas Brand, Partner, Brand & Partner in the Trudovye Spory Magazine

The interview tackles challenging issues in Russian immigration law, as well as the primary differences between Russian and German labour laws.

Read the complete interview here.


German FDI in ASEAN Part II: Indonesia and Laos

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.

German investment in the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been increasing steadily and has the potential to grow further in the coming years.

Several major German brands have already established offices or production facilities in Indonesia. Adidas, Airbus, BASF, Bayer, BMW, Daimler, Bosch, Siemens and ThyssenKrupp are among the major German brands with a presence in Indonesia. Several others have recently established offices or facilities or are on the verge of doing so. In particular, German companies are attracted to Special Economic Zones in Indonesia, which offer the perfect infrastructure for foreign business to set up in the country.

Read the complete article here.


CHINA: Five Fraud Prevention Strategies

An article by Thibaut Minot, International Business Advisory team, Dezan Shira & Associates in Shanghai.

When starting a new business venture in China, it is vital to embed internal control mechanisms within the company’s governance structure. The corporate governance structure of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in China is made up of an executive director or alternately several directors constituting a board, one or several supervisor(s), and an authorized representative of the shareholder(s).

Read the complete article here.


China’s New IIT Rules: A Guide for Employers

China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. 

China introduced the biggest changes to its individual income tax (IIT) system since at least 2011 with the passing of a new IIT law in 2018. The new law brought forward a host of changes to individual taxation in China, including by revising tax brackets, expanding deductibles, and altering residency rules for foreign workers. ​

In this Issue:

  • What You Need to Know About the IIT Reform
  • The IIT Reform’s Impact on Expatriates
  • How to Calculate and Pay IIT for Your Employees
  • IIT Calculation Methods for Lump-sum Annual Bonuses

View the complete report here


Half of Client Requests Concern Shanghai

Interview with Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search.

In which provinces are you working mainly at the moment?

The majority of our clients’ sales offices is located in Shanghai, from where our Chinese partner company also operates. Around half of the inquiries relate to assignments in Shanghai or the adjacent Yangtze Delta. Other important locations for European companies are the Pearl River Delta, the regions around Beijing and Tianjin, and Jiangsu – they are manufacturing hotspots.

Read the complete interview here


German FDI in ASEAN Part I: Brunei and Cambodia

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.

Several German companies have already established a business presence in Brunei. Heidelberg Cement has been present since 2000 supplies 65 percent of the construction market in Brunei. ThyssenKrupp is currently engaged in the construction of a major fertilizer plant in Brunei to support local efforts to diversify the economy. Siemens which is involved in Brunei since 1972, is currently studying the government’s effort towards and is to make large investments in the coming years.

Read the complete article here.


China is highly innovative

An interview with Silke Besser, Managing Director of the German-Chinese Business Association (DCW) e.V

What opportunities arise for German companies from the Chinese initiative “One Belt, One Road”?

Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative already includes over 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. Their gross domestic product adds up to around 21 trillion dollars or nearly 35 percent of global economic output. Around 4.4 billion people are encompassed – that is 60 percent of the world’s population. In about ten years, China wants to more than double its trading volume from 1.1 trillion dollars today to 2.5 trillion dollars. The new Silk Road is thus the largest geostrategic project of our century.

Read the complete interview here


SANCTIONS: Overview and Recommendations

Contributed by Tanja Galander, Senior Manager, Attorney-at-law (Germany), Head of Russian Business Group, PwC Germany and Lothar Müller, Senior Manager, Forensic Services, 
Sanction Team PwC

Industry related economic sanctions include an arms and military embargo, restrictions for certain areas of oil production, dual-use goods and financial services. The US sanctions are partly broader than the EU sanctions and in particular additionally refer to areas such as metal construction, mining or engineering. With regard to Crimea, the US sanctions prohibit import, export and business activities completely. The EU sanctions prohibit import and tourism services, restrict investment in certain areas and prohibit the delivery of certain listed goods. 

Read the complete article here


An Introduction to Doing Business in Hong Kong 2019

China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates


While the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has stoked fears that this position may soon change – primarily because the act has caused some Hong Kong banks to turn away American corporations and individuals – Hong Kong remains the biggest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into China, making up US$9601 billion of a total US$12846 billion from January to December 2018.

View the complete report here


Trade Fairs in East Africa

This study was done by africon

Kenya has developed as hub for exhibitions and conferences during the past years and serves as gateway to a vital region. But also the neighbouring country are hosting various types of trade fairs from small niche events with less than 100 visitors to big exhibitions with thousands of visitors. 

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Russia – Recovery or Stagnation?

Interview with Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search.

Opportunities Get out of Sight

Media coverage of the Russian economy is dominated by sanctions and the quarrels surrounding Nord Stream 2. To what extent are these topics important in the daily business of your clients?

The media‘s interest in the sanction topic and the diplomatic dispute over the major pipeline project is understandable. However, it is easily overlooked that much of the European business in Russia is not directly affected by the sanctions and can continue to operate. Other factors shape the business climate in Russia at least as significantly as the reciprocal sanctions: the decline in the rouble exchange rate since 2014 and the pursuit of an import substitution policy by the Russian government.

Read the complete interview here


Sanctions are the Main Topic for European Businesses

Interview with Dr. Frank Schauff, CEO, Associatio​n of European Businesses

What economic development do you expect for 2019 in Russia?

Our view does not differ significantly from the assessment of the Russian government. There should be growth of approx. 1.5 percent in 2019. That is better than what we saw in 2015 and 2016. However, higher economic growth would be desirable for Russia to catch up internationally.

The Russian government has been promoting export heavily for some time. How do you see the potential for this?

With the devaluation of the rouble in 2014 and 2015, the competitiveness of the Russian economy has risen. As a result, European companies are now exporting from Russia, for example in the automobile industry. This is a new and so far still small development. If the rouble does not appreciate and this trend continues, then industrial exports can make up a growing share of the Russian economy.

Read the complete interview here


Dr. Frank Schauff is the CEO of the Association of European Businesses (AEB), representing the interests of the European economy in the Russian Federation. The membership organization was set up in 1995 at the initiative of various European companies and embassies as well as the Head of Delegation of the European Union in the Russian Federation. 


The Labour Market in India: Structure and Costs

India Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

Hiring costs in IT and auto manufacturing

Information technology (IT) and auto manufacturing are the two most prominent sectors in India’s organized economy – they receive the bulk of foreign investment and are the biggest employers. The IT sector in India accounts for 67 percent of the global outsourcing market. While the overall manufacturing sector constitutes about 17 percent of India’s economy, automotive manufacturing is the largest contributor at 22 percent of the manufacturing GDP and seven percent of India’s overall GDP.

Read the complete article here


Hiring Mid-Level Managers in Vietnam

Vietnam Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.

Investors in Vietnam are often surprised to learn that their biggest hiring challenge comes during the selection process for mid-level management. Mid-level managers in Vietnam play a crucial role in functions such as staffing, dispute resolution, and employee retention. Foreign companies are often ill-equipped to manage these challenges on their own and can find the costs of increasing turnover and labour discounting to be a significant constraint on time and resources.

Read the complete article here


Electronic Imports in India, Minimum Wages in Vietnam – China Outbound

China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.


A weekly round up of news affecting foreign investors throughout Asia by Dezan Shira & Associates.

Import Procedures in ASEAN
The article briefly explains the import procedures in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India Mandates BIS Certification for Import of IT and Electronic Products
Importing electronics and information technology (IT) products without Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) registration is now prohibited in India.

The country is tightening quality controls for electronic products to curb the rising import of cheap electronic items, in particular from China, and boost local manufacturing under its Make in India program.

Russia Swaps US Dollar for Chinese RMB; Holds 25 Percent of Global Reserves
Russia is making a strategic shift in its reserves towards holding fewer dollars and more assets in other currencies, especially the RMB and Euro.

On the trade aspect, this makes sense, Russian trade with the US is close to zero, while with China it has been expanding fast – there are suggestions of it hitting US$200 billion in five years – a 20 percent increase year-on-year, every year from now.

Vietnam Hikes Minimum Wages by 5.3 Percent in 2019
Vietnam’s National Wage Council has increased the minimum wage by an average of 5.3 percent in 2019.

The hike, which is the lowest compared to previous years, will increase the minimum wage in the four regions by US$7-9 per month.

In 2018, the increase was 6.5 percent, while in 2017 the minimum wage was hiked by 7.3 percent.


Contesting Penalties imposed by the immigration authorities in Russia.

Article by Marina Akeeva, Labour Practice Consultant, Brand & Partner 

The article focuses on contesting penalties imposed by immigration authorities. The article examines specific aspects of jurisdiction in disputes with immigration authorities if the company is to be held liable.

Read the complete article here


Minimum Wages in China 2018-19

China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.

Minimum wages in China continue to grow. Through the first 11 months of 2018, 15 provinces, directly-controlled municipalities, and autonomous regions have increased their minimum wages: Beijing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Henan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shandong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Sichuan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Yunnan. One more region – Chongqing – has already announced its wage increase for 2019.

Last year – a politically important one – 20 out of the 31 regions in mainland China increased their minimum wages. In 2016, only nine regions increased their wages, while 19 did so in 2015.

Read the complete article here


Key capabilities of German firms in Nigeria

This study was done by Africon

Efforts by the German firms can be supported by strong partners – leaving all the work to these partners is however not enough.  Interestingly, factors such as adapting products to local needs, lobbying the German or Nigerian government, as well as attending Nigeria focused trade shows did not have a significant impact.

Read the complete article here