The Economic Development Board (EDB) has recently announced a new work pass to help the country attract “highly accomplished” individuals in the technical field. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has addressed Singapore’s needs for more technology talent by attracting “the movers and shakers of the tech world”. The programme is part of Singapore’s multi-pronged approach to develop a strong base of technology companies and talent to ensure Singapore remains globally competitive. Some of you may be wondering what is this new work pass and how would it affect expats alike? Well, the new work pass is known as the Tech.Pass that aims to target foreign tech industry experts.

What is the purpose of the Tech.Pass? Tech.Pass was originally an extension of the Tech@SG programme that was initially launched in 2019. The Tech@SG programme aims to anchor and support the expansion of high potential companies in Singapore. Both programmes facilitate fast-growing tech companies and established tech talent to enter and anchor themselves in Singapore, bringing their networks and experience with them to benefit the local tech ecosystem. The pass would be launching in January 2021 where a total of 500 slots will be available for applications upon its launch.

The Benefits of the Tech.Pass

If you’re thinking that this is just another work pass for talent from the tech industry, you’re wrong. The Tech.Pass has many benefits that make it distinct and different from the traditional Employment Pass. Tech.Pass allows the pass 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 Dependant’s Pass (DP) or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by MOM.
  • Renew for another two years, upon meeting renewal criteria.

Who is eligible for the Tech.Pass?

You need to have some notable feats and accomplishments in the tech industry if you wish to apply for the Tech.Pass. Applicants for the Tech.Pass must have at least two of the following requirements:

  1. Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary in the past year of at least S$20,000.
  2. Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in a tech company with a valuation or market cap of at least US$500 million or at least US$30 million funding.
  3. Have at least five cumulative years of 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 revenue.

The Tech.Pass will be valid for two years and can be renewed once, if renewal criteria are met, for another subsequent two years. For Tech.Pass to be renewed, pass holders will need to fulfil several requirements, which include having earned at least S$240,000 in assessable income over the two years or demonstrating total annual business spending of at least S$100,000.

At this stage, we do foresee a stringent assessment of the Tech.Pass qualification given that there are only 500 slots available. As this pass category is only due to be launched in January 2021, you can get in touch with us now to find out more on the application process and further details on eligibility.