What is the change? Singapore has launched Tech@SG, a program designed to help tech startups recruit and retain high-skilled foreign talent.

What does the change mean? Under the program, qualifying companies will be able to secure up to 10 Employment Passes to hire foreign nationals as core members of their companies. The Ministry of Manpower will ensure the first renewal of each of the Employment Passes, with each renewal valid for up to three years.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Passes.
  • Who is affected: Tech startups that meet qualifying criteria (detailed below).
  • Business impact: Officials hope the program will help Singapore draw top foreign talent in the tech field to help grow the sector in the country.

Additional information: Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore announced plans for Tech@SG this past summer, and officials have now implemented it. The program will be open to companies that:

  • Are incorporated with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority in Singapore.
  • Have a digital or technological product or service at the core of their company.
  • Have secured more than US$10 million in investment funding in the past three years.
  • Have received funding from at least one of Tech@SG’s recognized investment firms during that time.

Companies with at least 30% local shareholding should not apply under Tech@SG but should instead submit applications under Startup SG, which is a separate Enterprise Singapore program.

Analysis & Comments: The implementation of Tech@SG is a major policy development for Singapore. While the program is not geared toward more established companies, it could help a number of tech startups meet workforce needs and remain globally competitive.

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