The Singapore Advantage

Singapore as a Dispute Resolution Hub

Geographical Location

 

Singapore is situated in the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region that accounts for approximately 50% of the entire world’s population. Singapore is also closely linked to the major economies of China and India, and within 7-hour flight access to other developed cities such as Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong.

 

Trusted Reference

 

Singapore is well-regarded internationally for its impartiality and neutrality. It is ranked the most transparent and least corrupt country in Asia (World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018), (Transparency International, Corruptions Perceptions Index 2017). The Political & Economic Risk Consultancy has consistently ranked Singapore as the least corrupt country out of the 16 countries surveyed in Asia.

 

 

Strong Legal Infrastructure

 

Singapore has established itself as one of the leading centres for international arbitration and mediation, with its arbitration and mediation-friendly legal system and modern infrastructure.

 

The quality of Singapore’s legal system, based on the British Common Law System, is highly regarded. Singapore is also Asia’s top choice for cross-border disputes and 3rd in the world (QMUL 2018 International Arbitration Survey).

 

Singapore’s arbitration regime is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. As a party to the New York Convention, arbitral awards are enforceable in approximately 150 countries. Singapore is also served by a strong base of skilled and experienced practitioners in international arbitration work. Many top international law firms have offices here.

 

 

Open Arbitration and Mediation Regime

 

Foreign arbitrators and mediators have complete freedom to practice arbitration or mediation work in Singapore. They are also exempted from taxes for income derived from work done here.

 

 

Stable Climate & Extensive Infrastructure

 

Singapore is the one of the most competitive countries in Asia and has among the lowest crime rates worldwide (IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2018, IMD Switzerland). The consistency and predictability of the local business environment has helped attract thousands of MNCs to Singapore.

 

 

  • Best Business Environment in the World

(Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Forecasts Report 2018)

  • 2nd Easiest Place in the World to do Business

(World Bank, Doing Business 2018 Report)

  • Top International Meeting City in the World

(Union of International Associations, International Meetings Statistics Report 2017)

  • The Most Network-Ready Country in the World

(World Economic Forum, Global Information Technology Report 2016)

  • Best Airport in the World

(Skytrax World Airport Awards 2018)

Visas

Non-residents entering Singapore must fulfil the visa requirements set out by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Please check ICA’s website to ascertain whether you require a visa to enter Singapore.

 

For enquiries and further information about visas, please contact the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority.

Work Pass Exemption

Non-residents are generally required to hold a valid work pass before they can work in Singapore. However, the provision of arbitration and mediation services in Singapore is categorised as a Work Pass Exempt Activity. This means that non-residents can provide arbitration or mediation services in Singapore for the duration of their Short Term Visit Passes subject to a maximum of 60 days, in relation to any case or matter which:

 

  • does not relate directly or indirectly to any religious belief or to religion generally;
  • does not relate directly or indirectly to any race or community generally; and
  • is not cause-related or directed towards a political end.

 

For enquiries and further information about the work pass exemption, please contact the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

 

Online Notification of Work Pass Exempt Activity

 

Non-residents performing any Work Pass Exempt Activity are required to submit an online notification after they have arrived in Singapore and obtained a Short Term Visit Pass which will be granted on entry at the immigration checkpoint. MOM must be notified before the non-resident starts performing the Work Pass Exempt Activity. Please note that carrying out Work Pass Exempt Activities without notifying MOM is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

 

Extension of Duration of Work Pass Exempt Activity

 

Non-residents who need to extend the period of stay beyond the original time period must resubmit the online notification, and update their travel document number and the travel document expiry date online. Please note that:

 

  • The extension must be done before the end date of the activity indicated in the first online notification.
  • The applicant must have a valid Short Term Visit Pass to cover the new period. If the new period of activity extends beyond the validity of your Short Term Visit Pass, you must extend your Short Term Visit Pass with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority before filing the extension.
  • The total period of the activity must not exceed 60 days.

Tax Exemption for Arbitrators and Mediators

Income derived by a non-resident arbitrator for arbitration work or a non-resident mediator for mediation work carried out in Singapore is exempt from tax.  The tax exemption is applicable to all non-resident arbitrators and mediators who are appointed for any arbitration or mediation which is governed by the Arbitration Act or the International Arbitration Act or would have been governed by either of those Acts had the place of arbitration / mediation been in Singapore.

 

For the purposes of this tax exemption, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) will assist in determining whether a non-resident individual is an arbitrator engaged in arbitration work in Singapore.

 

For enquiries and further information regarding the tax exemption for arbitrators and mediators, please contact the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS).