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The Tech.Pass Work Visa: A New Way To Live And Work In Singapore

This new work visa will be launched in 2021 for top-tier individuals looking to start businesses or contribute to Singapore's tech ecosystem.

Looking to move to Singapore sometime soon? The Tech.Pass may just be your golden ticket.

On 12 November 2020, Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) announced its plan to launch a new work visa, Tech.Pass, to help foster the development of Singapore’s tech ecosystem.

What’s a Tech.Pass?

The Tech.Pass is a new working visa targeted to attract talented and high-potential individuals who have amassed exceptional experience in the tech industry, into Singapore. The Tech.Pass working visa is a new addition to the list of working visas in Singapore, and also an extension of the Tech@SG programme.

What is Tech@SG Programme?

Tech@SG is a programme that supports the growth of high-potential tech companies via the provision of Employment Passes to talented individuals. It was jointly launched by the EDB and Enterprise Singapore in 2019.  The nexus of the two? To facilitate the growth of Singapore’s tech industry by supporting fast-growing tech companies in their acquisition of established talents to enter and anchor themselves in Singapore. This way, individuals can have an opportunity to grow their career in one of the fastest-growing economic hubs in Asia, while also imparting skills, knowledge and experience in order to benefit the local tech ecosystem.

What’s the Catch?

Tech.Pass holders are given more freedom and flexibility with their professional career in Singapore. According to the EBD, individuals can:

  1. Start and operate one or more tech companies
  2. Work as an employee in one or more Singapore-based companies
  3. Transit between operating as an employee to an entrepreneur
  4. Work as a consultant, mentor, or lecturer in local institutions
  5. Work as an investor and director in one or more Singapore-based companies
  6. Sponsor legal stay for their spouses, children and parents1 in Singapore on either a Dependant’s Pass (DP) or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  7. Renew their pass for another two years, upon meeting the criteria (see slideshow below)

1Legally married spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, including those legally adopted, will be eligible for a DP issued by the 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 an LTVP issued by MOM.

Applying for the Tech.Pass

With 500 passes available, applications for the Tech.Pass will commence in January 2021. The pass will maintain a two-year validity with an opportunity for a one-time renewal for up to two more subsequent years. Successful renewals at the end of the two-year validity will be subject upon the fulfilment of the renewal criteria.

1. Eligibility

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To qualify for the Tech.Pass work visa, applicants must satisfy any two of the following conditions:

  • Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary (in the last one year) of at least S$20,0002.
  • Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role with a tech company with a valuation/market capital of at least US$500 million or at least US$30 million funding raised.
  • Have at least five years cumulative years of experience in a leading role3 in the development of a tech product that has at least 100,000 active users or at least US$100 million in annual revenue.

2Or 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.
3E.g. made major contributions to the design, development, and/or deployment of a tech product.

2. Renewal Criteria

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To be eligible for a two-year renewal (total of four years of eligible working and living status in Singapore), the pass holder must:

  1. Have earned at least S$240,000 in assessable income based on the latest Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). This can be constitutive of salaries and/or business income;  OR
  2. Demonstrate a total annual business spending of at least S$100,000 and employ at least one local PME4 or 3 LQS5.

AND

3. At the time of renewal, be performing at least two of the following roles (of which at least one must be from Column A):

A B
  1. Founded a company in Singapore, offering a tech-based or tech-enabled product or service.
  2. Served a leading role (e.g. CEO, CTO, APAC MD) in a Singapore-based tech company.
  3. Served a leading role in two or more Singapore-based tech companies.
  4. Employed in a technical role leading a team in a Singapore-based company, e.g. senior engineer or senior researcher leading a team in a particular tech field.
  5. Employed in a technical role leading a team in two or more Singapore-based companies.
  1. Served on Board of Directors of a Singapore-based company (need not necessarily be tech company).
  2. Acted as advisor/mentor to a Singapore-based start-up.
  3. Served as professor/lecturer/adjunct professor/adjunct lecture in a Singapore Institute of Higher Learning (IHL).
  4. Provided training in some form not covered by B2 or B3 above (e.g. workshops, corporate training classes).
  5. Invested in one or more Singapore-based tech companies.

(The table above has been gathered from EDB)

4Local PMEs refer to professionals, managers, and executives who are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents, earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,900 and receive CPF contributions for at least 3 months, as aligned with the definition in the EntrePass renewal criteria.  

5LQS refers to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents who earn a monthly salary of at least S$1,400 and receive CPF contributions for at least 3 months, as aligned with the definition in the EntrePass renewal criteria.

(Note: Information has been compiled from the following official websites: Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM))

Relocating soon? Get a free consultation with The Finder’s trusted relocation partner!

Moovaz is a global movement revolutionising relocation services. It empowers individuals and families to move to their dream destination by making the journey simple and seamless with the core pillars: Technology, Knowledge and People. Talk to a Moovaz move consultant and get a free quotation now.

By Willaine G. Tan, December 2020

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