Singapore has announced the launch of a new work pass called the Tech.Pass to attract top-tier professionals in fields such as artificial intelligence and e-commerce. The launch forms part of a multi-pronged approach to develop a strong base of technology companies and talent to ensure the country remains globally competitive and aims to give the Republic an edge in the global race to entice highly skilled tech professionals.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke at the “Keynote & Q&A: Technology as Singapore’s Strategic National Priority” session at the Singapore Tech Forum 2020 on 17 November, and said, “we have just launched the Tech.Pass scheme. This scheme is aimed at highly accomplished tech talent, the movers and shakers of the tech world.”
“People who usually play different roles at once – founder, investor, employee, consultant, academic. People who can contribute to multiple parts of the ecosystem with their capital, networks and knowledge, and if you are one of them who has this Tech.Pass, you come to Singapore, you choose your niche, you fit in and develop your role as you go along. Unlike an EP that is tied to a particular job or employer, and if you have to change jobs or decide to do something else, well you apply again. The Tech.Pass is personal to the holder and will give you the flexibility to move between roles and employers, and we are going to have 500 slots, valid for 2 years in the first instance, and it can be extended. Applications open January 2021. I hope to make people sit up and take notice, and will help us to attract such talent to Singapore,” Loong said
The new visa will be open for applications in January 2021 and is aimed at attracting highly skilled technology entrepreneurs, experts, and business leaders. It will also create more opportunities for local tech talent to work alongside top tech talent from all over the world.
“Having such experts in Singapore will not only allow them to bring their capital, networks and know-how to the country’s tech ecosystem, but it will also create opportunities for Singaporeans,” said Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry.
“Tech.Pass will add to the critical mass of established tech talent in Singapore and create a flywheel effect to further strengthen our position as a leading tech hub for the region,” Sing added.
What is the Singapore Tech.Pass?
The Tech.Pass is a visa that allows established tech entrepreneurs, leaders or technical experts from around the world to come to Singapore to perform frontier and disruptive innovations.
The new visa is an extension of the Tech@SG Programme, which assists rapidly growing companies obtain critical talent to grow their businesses in Singapore.
The Tech.Pass gives tech professionals greater flexibility in their activities, such as investing, starting a business, consulting, or becoming an employer, as it does not require sponsorship of a local employer. This visa allows holders to switch between employers.
To be eligible for the pass, applicants must satisfy any two of the following conditions:
Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary (in the last 1 year) of at least S$20,0002 or its equivalent in a foreign currency. Candidates or business owners with annual income in excess of S$240,000 or its equivalent in a foreign currency will also be considered.
Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in a tech company with a valuation/market cap of at least US$500mil or at least US$30mil funding raised.
Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role, for example, made major contributions to the design, development, and/or deployment of a tech product, in the development of a tech product that has at least 100,000 monthly active users or at least US$100mil annual revenue.
Key Features of the Tech.Pass
The pass, which will be valid for two years in the first instance, allows the holder to:
Start and operate one or more tech companies
Be an employee in one or more Singapore-based companies at any time
Transit between employers or to an entrepreneur
Be a consultant or mentor, lecture in local institutions of higher learning, or be an investor and director in one or more Singapore based companies
Sponsor stay for spouse, children, and parents in Singapore on either a Dependent’s Pass (DP) or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by the Ministry Of Manpower (MOM)
The Tech.Pass can be renewed for another two years, upon meeting renewal criteria.
Legally married spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, including those legally adopted, will be eligible for a Dependent’s Pass issued by MOM.
Common-law spouse, unmarried handicapped children above 21 years of age, unmarried stepchildren below 21 years of age, and parents will be eligible for a Long-Term Visa Pass issued by MOM.
The visa will initially be open to 500 applicants upon launch, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The work permit will be for a two-year period that can be extended if the applicant passes the renewal criteria.
Do You Need to Secure Employment in Singapore to Apply for the Tech.Pass?
Applicants do not need to secure employment prior to applying.
Each applicant will be assessed based on his or her track record, prior experience, and/or development of tech product.
Applications open in January 2021 and can be submitted on the Singapore Economic Development Board’s website.