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EDB To Launch New Work Pass In January 2021 To Attract Top-Tier Tech Talents To S'pore

The Economic Development Board (EDB) announced today (Nov 12) that it will be launching a new work pass to attract highly-skilled professionals to Singapore and boost its tech ecosystem.

Called Tech.Pass, it will be given to top-tier foreign professionals and experts looking to start business, lead corporate teams or teach here.

With the work pass, these individuals can perform activities like starting and operating a business, serve on the board of directors of a Singapore-based company or be a shareholder or investor in companies here.

They can also take up lecturing roles in institutes of higher learning, serve as a mentor or adviser to companies here, and conduct corporate training or workshops.

According to Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, 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.

“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,” he said.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria

Applications for the pass will start in January 2021, and only 500 passes will be available upon launch.

EDB will be administering the applications of these pass, with the support of the Ministry of Manpower.

The Tech.Pass will be valid for two years, with a one-time renewal for a subsequent two years that will depend on certain criteria.

In order to be eligible, candidates must meet two of the three criteria:

  • a last drawn monthly salary of at least $20,000 in the past year
  • at least five years of cumulative experience in a leading role in a tech firm with a valuation or market capitalisation of at least US$500 million or at least US$30 million funding and beyond
  • at least five years of cumulative experience in a leading role in the development of a tech product that has at least 100,000 monthly active users or at least US$100 million in revenue

For Tech.Pass to be renewed, pass holders will need to fulfil several requirements, which include having earned at least $240,000 in assessable income over the two years or demonstrating total annual business spending of at least $100,000.

S’pore Needs To Step Up Its Game To Attract Top-Tier Talent

chan chun sing singapore
Image Credit: Gov.sg

Mr Chan had mentioned in Parliament last year that countries like Thailand, China and France are already rolling out initiatives to attract highly skilled technology professionals.

He cited how both France and Thailand have special visa programmes to make it easier for technology talents to work in their countries.

If Singapore did not attract such talent too, we would “almost certainly be left behind”, he warned then.

According to EDB, Tech.Pass builds on the Tech @ SG programme, which spells out more flexible requirements for foreign professionals to apply for an Employment Pass (EP).

It added that both Tech.Pass and Tech @ SG allow fast-growing tech companies and established tech talent to enter Singapore and anchor themselves here.

This is part of Singapore’s multi-pronged approach to develop a strong base of technology companies and talent to ensure it remains globally competitive.

“This will also create more opportunities for local tech talent to work in globally competitive teams alongside top tech talent from all over the world,” said EDB.

Featured Image Credit: Ejinsight

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