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Tech.Pass: What Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know about this latest Work Pass in SG

Author Lim Wan ErLim Wan Er

4 min read
Better Business

A new work pass dedicated to foreign technological experts has been introduced in Singapore to enable “the movers and shakers of the tech world” to bring in their expertise and create disruptive innovation.

Tech.Pass: What Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know about this latest Work Pass in SG

A new work pass dedicated to foreign technological experts has been introduced in Singapore to enable “the movers and shakers of the tech world” to bring in their expertise and create disruptive innovation.

Current work passes that foreigners can apply for to work in blue-collared jobs in Singapore, are the Employment Pass and S-Pass. In this article, we will cover all you need to know about this new pass, who can apply and differences between existing passes.

What is the new Tech.Pass in Singapore?

Introduced by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Tech.Pass program will launch in January 2021 with a quota of 500 slots on a “first come first serve” basis for established tech entrepreneurs, leaders or technical experts from around the world to work in Singapore on a work visa.

Tech.Pass is specifically for highly accomplished technical experts and entrepreneurs with previous experience working in established technology companies around the world. Unlike the existing Employment pass and S-Pass, the candidates can apply for the Tech.Pass themselves without the need to secure a job with a local company before the application. The pass is valid for two years before it needs to be renewed.

What does the Tech.Pass allow you to do?

If your application for the Tech.Pass is approved, you will be able to:

  • Start and operate one or more technology companies in Singapore.
  • Join one or more Singapore-based companies at any time as an employee.
  • Transit from an employer, to an entrepreneur
  • Become an investor in one or more Singapore-based companies.
  • Be a director in Singapore-based companies.
  • Be a consultant or mentor in Singaporean universities and lecture in local institutions of higher learning.

If you wish for your family to follow you to Singapore, you can do so too. The Ministry of Manpower allows you to sponsor a Dependant Pass or a Long-Term Visit Pass for your spouse, children and parents.

Why did the Singapore Government introduce this work pass?

According to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Tech.Pass is part of Singapore’s “multi-pronged approach to develop a strong base of technology companies and talent to ensure Singapore remains globally competitive”. It is an extension of the Tech@SG programme.

Technology is the way to go these days, and Singapore is admittedly lacking talent in this area. As Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long mentioned, “Talent is key as Singapore develops its technology ecosystem.”

This Tech.Pass also benefits for Singaporeans through the following ways:

  • Create opportunities for local technology talent to work alongside globally recognised talents with experience in the technology field.
  • Attract foreign individuals to share their networks and knowledge in the technology sector.

How is Tech.Pass different from Employment Pass & S-Pass?

  1. A work pass catered to specific industry.
  2. Not applied by the employer, but the individual themselves.
  3. No need to secure employment in Singapore before application.
  4. Headcount quota of 500 people upon its launch.
  5. If you are currently holding an Employment Pass, you can still apply for Tech.Pass provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

For more information on the Employment Pass and S-Pass and their differences, here is a fully comprehensive table.  

How do I apply for this pass?

If you are interested in applying for the Tech.Pass, take note that the application will only be revealed on EDB’s website in January 2021, with 500 spaces for grabs. Check back on the Osome blog for more details once the news is out.

Meanwhile, you can see if you are eligible to apply for the pass by satisfying the criteria below.

You must satisfy any two of the following criteria:

  1. Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary (in the last 1 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/market cap of at least US$500mil or at least US$30mil funding raised.
  3. Have at least 5 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$100mil annual revenue.

John Vee is a resident of the US. He has worked 10 years as a Product Manager in Xinvio Tech (fictional company), with 5 years as a leader of his team. Xinvio Tech has an app VikVok with 500,000 monthly active users. He qualifies for the Tech.Pass and comes to Singapore to search for a job. He gets a job with local startup Vas Gag as Chief Product Officer. After 6 months, some colleagues invited him to form a tech company with John as one of the directors and shareholders. He is able to do this with the Tech.Pass without having to apply for any further work pass.

Working legally in Singapore

If you are a foreigner wanting to work in Singapore, you must hold a valid pass or more commonly known as a work visa. However, if you wish to open a company here, the Employment Pass is the most common relocation option for foreigners.

To apply for an Employment Pass, you will need the below documents. More information can be found on MOM’s website.

  1. Personal particulars page of the candidate’s passport

If the name on passport is different from other documents, you should include either one:

  • Explanation letter and supporting documents
  • An affidavit
  1. Company’s latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA
  1. Candidate’s education certificates

If you are from India, China or institutions not included in the application form, you will require additional documents.

Osome can prepare an Employment Pass for Entrepreneurs, and Dependant’s Pass for their kin within six months. You do not even have to fly in till it’s ready. If you’re looking to set up a company in Singapore with an Employment Pass, we can ensure a smooth process for you while you focus on growing your business.

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