Singapore is in a race to attract top foreign tech talent and in its pursuit, launched a new work pass called Tech.Pass in January 2021. This work pass will be valid for two years and is renewable for another two years.
Tech.Pass holders will be able to open and operate a business and be appointed on the board of directors of a Singapore based company and take up roles as lecturers in educational institutes. Applications have been open since January 2021 and 500 passes will be available at the start. Applicants for the Tech.Pass must satisfy various criteria to confirm that they are professionals in the tech industry. The Tech.Pass, unlike the employment pass (EP), will be tied to the individual and not to the employer.
The Economic Development Board will be in charge of administering the Tech.Pass with Ministry of Manpower’s assistance.
The introduction of the Tech.Pass is not surprising as it comes as a support to the Tech@SG programme which created more flexible requirements for foreigners to apply for an employment pass (EP) for those with a fixed monthly salary of at least $4,500.
Singapore, like many other countries, is making its pitch for top tech talent. These professionals will be valuable, in that, they will help the tech industry grow and create jobs. In addition, they will bring with them their network and capital. As such, these professionals have an array of options when it comes to where they would want to work and firms in South-east Asia are finding it difficult to attract tech leads for their teams.
With Tech.Pass, Singapore hopes to make an attractive enough offer for these tech professionals to want to move here. It will be desirable to catch on to these talents before they get swooned away by other equally competitive locations.