Singapore to Issue Tech Pass Visa in 2021: Key Features

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  • Singapore will issue a new work permit in January 2021, named Tech.Pass, aimed at attracting technology entrepreneurs and experts.
  • The government will initially issue 500 permits on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Applicants will need to pass the strict eligibility criteria set by the government, such as having a history of leading a tech company or having a leading role in product development.

Singapore will issue a new work permit named Tech.Pass, aimed at attracting highly accomplished technology entrepreneurs, experts, and business leaders from January 2021.

The Tech.Pass program is an extension of the Tech@SG program, which assists fast-growing companies access critical talent to scale their business in Singapore and the region.

Unlike the Employment Pass, the Tech.Pass scheme does not require the sponsorship of a local employer, giving the professional greater flexibility in their activities, such as being an employer, investor, starting a business, or becoming a director or consulting in one or more Singapore-based tech companies. This work permit also allows holders to switch between employers.

The program 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.

The government hopes the Tech.Pass scheme will create a ‘flywheel effect’ to further strengthen its position as a tech hub in the region. According to Singapore’s Economic Development Board, the city-state is already home to 59 percent of the Asian regional headquarters of multinational tech firms, such as Visa, Google, and Facebook.

Who is eligible to apply?

The government has imposed strict eligibility criteria for Tech.Pass applicants. They must satisfy at least two of the following conditions:

  • Their last fixed monthly salary of at least S$20,000 (US$14,852), or its equivalent in foreign currency;
  • Having at least five years of experience in a leading role in a tech company that has a market valuation of at least US$500 million or have raised at least US$30 million in funding; or
  • Having at least five 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 garnered US$100 million in annual revenue.

What are the criteria for the renewal for Tech.Pass?

There are several requirements for applicants to receive a two-year renewal. The applicant must:

  • Have earned at least S$240,000 (US$178,209) of income based on an assessment by the Inland Revenue of Singapore; or
  • Demonstrate business spending of at least S$100,000 (US$74,255) and employ one local employee who is classified as a professional, manager, or executive (PME) as well as three ‘local qualifying salary’ (LQS) employees.

PMEs must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,900 (US$2,896) with LQS referring to locals who earn a monthly salary of at least S$1,400 (US$1,039).

In addition to one of the aforementioned criteria, applicants must be performing at least two of the following roles, one of which must be from column A.

Additional-Criteria-for-Tech.Pass-Renewal

For further information and assistance, please reach out to asia@dezshira.com.


About Us

ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in Singapore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta. Please contact us at asia@dezshira.com or visit our website at www.dezshira.com.

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