Singapore is poised to launch a new work pass program aimed at drawing leading tech investors, experts and entrepreneurs to the country.

Key Points:

  • The program, called Tech.Pass, will be launched in January and will provide for the issuance of up to 500 two-year work passes to leading foreign tech professionals.
  • Tech.Pass holders will be able to perform a number of activities, including:
    • Starting or operating businesses;
    • Working at one more Singapore-based companies;
    • Serving on boards of directors for Singapore-based companies;
    • Serving as a shareholder or investor in Singapore-based companies;
    • Advising or mentoring start-up companies in Singapore; and
    • Lecturing at Singaporean universities.
  • Applicants must meet two of the three following conditions to be eligible:
    • A fixed monthly salary of at least SGD20,000 in the past year;
    • A minimum of five cumulative years of experience as a leader in a tech company with a valuation or market cap of at least USD$500 million or at least USD$30 million in funding; and
    • A minimum of least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in the development of a tech product that has a minimum of 100,000 monthly active users or at least USD$100 million in revenue.
  • Tech.Pass applicants will apply as individuals and do not have to be sponsored by a company. Passes will be renewable once for a second two-year period. Pass holders will be able to sponsor spouses, children and parents on Dependent Passes or Long Term Visit Passes.
  • Assignees who currently hold Employment Passes, Personalised Employment Passes or EntrePasses will be eligible to apply for Tech.Passes, provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria for their current pass. Tech.Passes may be of interest to some pass holders, especially those interested in holding jobs with multiple companies, starting their own company or lecturing at universities. Those who do not require the flexibility of a Tech.Pass, however, will likely have no need to apply.

Background: Tech.Pass is an expansion of the Tech@SG pilot program that officials launched last year. Additional information on the new program is available here.

Analysis & Comments: Tech.Pass is part of Singapore’s ongoing efforts to solidify itself as a leader in the global tech economy. While the program will be of interest to tech investors, experts and entrepreneurs, it may be of limited value to established companies. These companies will likely find traditional work pass options more suitable for most of their workforce. Additional information about the application process is expected in the coming weeks, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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