Regional Actors

The Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Singapore

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Singapore Employment Permits (002)

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. However, according to a recent announcement made by the MoM, the monthly salary criteria for EP applicants will be raised to SG$6,000 with effect from January 1, 2018.

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Malaysia’s Investment Outlook for 2018

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

Malaysia is the fourth largest economy in Southeast Asia known for its high labor productivity and diversified economy. Over the years, the country has transformed itself from being a primary commodities exporter into a leading exporter of electrical appliances, electronic parts, and components and natural gas. Moving up the industrial value chain, it has also established itself as an attractive regional hub for services, information and technology, and the logistics sector.

The service sector assumes the largest share of gross domestic product (GDP) accounting for more than 54 percent of GDP and serves as the engine of growth to propel and sustain the country’s economy. Manufacturing, on the other hand, contributes about 23 percent to the GDP. Some of the other major economic activities in Malaysia include the mining and agriculture sectors. In 2017, the service sector is projected to grow at a faster rate – approximately 6 percent, reflecting stronger expansion across most sub-sectors, particularly wholesale and retail trade, information and communication, and food, beverages, and accommodation, and increasing its share to 54.8 percent of GDP.

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Philippine Labor Contracts: What You Need to Know

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

The Labor Code of the Philippines is the general labor law that regulates the relationship between the employee and the employer, and all employment-related matters in the country. The law applies to all Philippines’ enterprises and joint ventures, as well as to all employment relationships between Filipino nationals and foreign enterprises in the country.

There are several other special laws specifying statutory minimum employment benefits and standards that an employer must legally comply with. These include the Social Security Law, the National Health Insurance Act, the Sexual Harassment Law, and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act among others.

The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the principal government agency responsible for enforcing employment laws in the country. DOLE monitors and administers companies’ compliance with labor standards, and addresses labor-related issues through the office of the secretary of labor and employment, or through its regional offices.

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Rules of Origin Criteria of ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreements

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

Rules of Origin (RoO) are guidelines that help importers and manufacturers determine the country of origin of a product. RoOs establish the product’s eligibility for preferential tariff treatment available under FTAs. In other words, products qualifying as originating under a FTA may be allowed to pay lower or no import tariff when imported into another FTA member country.To qualify as originating goods, imported items must either be:

  • Wholly-obtained or produced entirely in an FTA member country; or
  • Must have undergone a ‘substantial transformation’.

For the goods that are partially produced within an FTA member country, substantial transformation guarantees that a meaningful manufacturing process has taken place in the free trade area for the good to qualify as originating. The criteria to determine the country of origin for such goods is based upon three methods as explained below.

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The Philippines’ Investment Outlook for 2018

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

The Philippines is now among the fastest growing economies in Asia. Driven by a broad-based expansion in domestic demand, its economy has continued to perform strongly in 2017. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2017, in comparison to the projected 6.6 percent. The Philippines has grown at an average of 6.3 percent over the past five years in what economists expect will be a sustained trend in the next few years for the country.

The sustainability of economic growth and the economy’s limited exposure to uncertainty in global markets makes the Philippines an attractive investment destination in Asia for overseas investors. Duterte’ ascension to the presidency in 2016 has further strengthened the economy’s growth prospects. Known as a pro-reform, pro-infrastructure and anti-corruption president, Duterte has already introduced several big infrastructure projects that have the ability to make the country grow stronger in the coming years.

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How to Set Up in Thailand – New Issue of ASEAN Briefing Magazine

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ASB 2017 issue 04_Web pic (002)The latest issue of ASEAN Briefing Magazine titled, “How to Set Up in Thailand“, is out now and available to subscribers as a complimentary download in the Asia Briefing Publication Store.

In this issue of ASEAN Briefing

  • Corporate Establishment in Thailand: What You Need to Know
  • Investing in Thailand: Tax and Non-Tax Incentives
  • Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor

 

 

 

 

 

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Singapore’s Investment Outlook for 2018

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By: Vasundhara Rastogi

Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the easiest places to do business. It is one of the world’s top business destinations, characterized by a stable economy, easy regulations, and corruption-free environment. A leading business and financial center, Singapore is also geographically well placed, offering overseas investors a central location and easy access to the Asian market.

As a member of the ten-nation economic bloc – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -, it represents a significant proportion of the ASEAN free trade area and has several bilateral agreements with several countries in Asia and beyond. Overseas investors seeking to establish in Singapore can not only take advantage of the country’s extensive tax-treaty network but also use the city-state to tap into the ten-nation ASEAN’s growth potential. Further, the country ranks fourth in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, offering a high potential market for businesses. It boasts of a modern and comprehensive infrastructure and a highly skilled workforce that can be a valuable reservoir of a skilled workforce for businesses.

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The Philippines’ New Tax Reform Package Approved

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

On December 19, 2017, the Philippines’ much awaited tax reform package or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) was signed into law, paving the way for a simpler and fairer tax regime in the country. The revised law provides for personal income tax cuts and revises several other decade-old tax provisions that will have important implications for taxpayers and businesses in the Philippines.

In this article, we highlight the key changes introduced in the new Act.

Tax exemptions
  • Personal Income Tax exemption for lowest earners

TRAIN exempts those earning an annual income of up to ₱250,000 (US$4,975) from Personal Income Tax (PIT), and raises the tax exemption for 13th-month pay and other bonuses to ₱90,000 (US$1,791). In addition, it lowers income tax rates for those earning up to ₱8 million (US$159,200).  After 2022, the income tax rates will further be reduced for all taxpayers, except those earning an annual income above ₱8 million. 

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Thai Labor Contracts: What You Need to Know

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By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi

ASB- Thai Labour Contracts (002)

In Thailand, the employee-employer relationship is governed by a series of laws and regulations, the chief one being the Thai Labor Protection Act B.E.2541 (LPA) and the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (TCCC).  Other laws include the Labor Relations Act, the Social Security Act, the Act establishing the labor court and labor court procedure, the State Enterprise Labor Relations Act, the Workmen’s Compensation Act, and the Foreign Employment Act. These laws cover all areas related to employment such as working hours, holidays and leave, notice, overtime, sick pay, and severance, and are applicable to both Thai and foreign employees. The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is the primary authority responsible for setting and enforcing minimum employment standards in the country.

Thailand does not mandate a written agreement between the employer and an employee. However, it does impose strict labor regulations with regards to working terms and conditions. In practice, therefore, it is advisable for employers to set out written terms and conditions of employment to avoid legal disputes or liability with regards to remuneration.  

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China SOEs Bid On Philippines Clark International Airport Development

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By Dezan Shira & Associates

clark-airport-inquirer (003)

Four of the seven bidders on the design and development contract for the Clark Airforce base in the Philippines are Chinese State Owned Enterprises, according to the Philippines Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).  The China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd, China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd and Sinohydro Corp Ltd have all submitted tenders. 

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