Starting an Employment Agency in Singapore

Staff Writer

March 3, 2023

What’s in the article?

Why Open an Employment Agency in Singapore?

With the globally recognized education system, it’s no surprise that Singapore offers a large supply of highly skilled workers looking for employment. Singapore continues to attract high quality talent from all over the world that are looking to participate in the country’s economic prosperity.

Singapore has one of the strongest economies in Asia for many reasons such as its strategic geographical location at the center of Asia, favorable business climate, low rates of corruption and crime and more. Because of these, many international companies are looking to either start or expand their businesses into the country.

These businesses looking to benefit from Singapore’s benefits will undoubtedly need the manpower to succeed in such a competitive economy, which is why there has never been a more opportune time to start an employment agency in Singapore. Not only will it help supply the employers’ insatiable demand for highly skilled employees, but it will also help connect jobseekers’ potential to the right companies.

How to Start an Employment Agency in Singapore

Step 1: Register Your Company

Every Singaporean company needs to undergo registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore so that you can incorporate your company and specify the activity code that is appropriate for the type of recruitment you plan to do. Before registering, you’ll need to have the following requirements:

  • Company name
  • At least one resident director
  • At least one shareholder
  • A qualified resident company secretary (you can hire our company secretary services if you can't find one)
  • At least SGD 1 in capital
  • Registered address of the company in Singapore
  • Brief description of business activities

Registration of your company can be completed fully online with ACRA’s online portal BizFile+. The processing period may take from as little as a day to three days depending on ACRA’s workload, as well as whether there were only errors or complications with your application.

ACRA will send you an official email notification upon the successful registration of your company, and this will include the company registration number, which will serve as the official certificate of incorporation in Singapore.

Step 2: Apply for Employment Agency License

The Employment Agency License is required for any company or agency that communicates with jobseekers and collects their data for the purpose of providing them with employment to other companies and businesses. The following requirements are as follows:

  • Name of company as registered with ACRA
  • Registration number of company
  • List of KEOs, directors, sole proprietors or partners
  • Details of 30 sale or lease transactions concluded within the last three years
  • Copy of Business Profile
  • Copy of policy schedule or cover note for company’s Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Ministry of Manpower, the authoritative body responsible for the issuance of EA Licenses, offers four types of licenses depending on the type of workers that you want to attract. 

Type of License Type of Worker
Comprehensive License (All) Local or foreign workers
Comprehensive License (Local) Local workers
Comprehensive License (Non-FDW) Local or foreign workers (excluding FDWs)
Select License (SL) Workers earning more than SGD 4,500 a month

The application processing time can take around 1-3 weeks, and you will receive an email notification once your application has been approved with an in-principle-approval (IPA) letter. In order for your license to be issued, the following documents need to be submitted:

  • A Security Bond in the form of a Banker’s Guarantee from a Singaporean bank, which will cover 15 months from the commencement date. To receive a Banker’s Guarantee from a bank, you will need to open a fixed deposit (FD) account with the bank.
  • A copy of both sides of your Singaporean ID (for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents) or your Employment Pass
  • A copy of the company’s business profile as issued by ACRA
  • A passport size photograph
  • Copy of your IPA letter
  • Copy of certificate that states you have passed the Certificate for Employment Intermediaries (CEI) course
  • The completed checklist 
  • Any additional documents that may have been requested in your IPA letter

Step 3: Pay Security Deposit

Companies that have applied for a Select License will have to pay a security deposit of SGD 20,000.00 in the form of Banker’s Guarantee, whereas companies that have applied for a Comprehensive License will have to pay a security deposit of SGD 60,000.00.

Step 4: Choose a Location

When choosing a location for your company’s office, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you’re looking to set up in a conservation building.

You’ll need approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore before adding or altering anything in a conservation building. You’ll also need approval from the Building and Construction Authority to display any signage on the building.

Step 5: Hiring Employees

Once you’ve successfully completed all the necessary forms and have chosen a location for your office, you can now start hiring employees to help build your team. 

Regardless of whether your company was issued a Select License or a Comprehensive License, all employees of an employment agency that perform agency related work need to be registered with the Ministry of Manpower and receive a standardized registration card.

Each employee can also only work and be registered under one employment agency at a time, and this will entail a non-refundable fee of SGD 160.00. This registration is non-transferable and can not be kept after switching jobs and moving to another agency.

All employees, including key appointment holders, must also be either a Singaporean citizen, a Singapore permanent resident or a foreigner with a valid work visa, as well as having no undisclosed bankruptcies or court convictions.

Starting Your Employment Agency Made Easier

Don’t let all the paperwork and application processes deter you from realizing your dream of starting an employment agency. WealthBridge is here to do all the heavy lifting for you so that you can focus on creating a better business. With corporate services that cover incorporation and registration to other daily tasks, our team is here to help make your ideas into a reality!

Check out our website for more information.

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