Singapore’s Economic Development Board announces the launch of the Tech.Pass, a new work pass for top-tier foreign tech talents



Singapore’s Economic Development Board announces the launch of the Tech.Pass, a new work pass for top-tier foreign tech talents

Singapore rush hour

Date Published: 19 November 2020 

Authors: Bill Jamieson and Goh Wan Shuen


A. Introduction

As an expansion of the Tech@SG programme launched by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) in 2019, the EDB has announced the launch of a new work pass in Singapore – the Tech.Pass.

The Tech.Pass, which is administered by the EDB and supported by the Ministry of Manpower, is targeted at top-tier foreign professionals and experts looking to start businesses, lead corporate teams or teach in Singapore.

Pass holders are granted the flexibility and freedom to pursue a range of activities, such as starting and operating a business, being an investor, employee, consultant or director in Singapore-based companies, mentoring companies, conducting corporate training or workshops, or lecturing at institutes of higher learning.


B. Eligibility

Applicants must meet at least two of the three following requirements:

  • Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary in the past year of at least S$20,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency).
  • Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in a tech company with a valuation or market cap of at least US$500 million or at least US$30 million funding and beyond
  • Have at least five cumulative 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 US$100 million in revenue. Examples of what would constitute a leading role include making major contributions to the design, development, and/or deployment of a tech product.

Unlike the Employment Pass, which requires the sponsorship of an employer, the Tech.Pass will be tied to the individual, who can apply for the pass directly and need not secure employment in Singapore prior to their application. Applicants will be assessed based on their track record and prior experience in leading teams or developing a tech product.

While existing Employment Pass, Personalised Employment Pass, or EntrePass holders who meet the Tech.Pass criteria may apply if they can also meet the prevailing eligibility or renewal criteria of their respective work passes, they should consider whether they require the flexibilities provided by the Tech.Pass and if their existing pass is sufficient for the activities that they undertake in Singapore.


C. Applications, length of pass and renewals

Up to 500 passes will be available, on a first come first serve basis, with applications for passes commencing in January 2021. Each Tech.Pass will be valid for two years in the first instance.

A one-time renewal for a subsequent two years may be granted, subject to the satisfaction of certain criteria, including minimum requirements in respect of assessable income or total annual business spending. Pass holders also have to be performing at least two prescribed roles at the time of renewal, including at least one of:  founding a company in Singapore, offering a tech-based or tech-enabled product or service, or serving a leading role in a Singapore-based tech company, being employed in a technical role leading a team in a Singapore-based company.


The EDB’s press release is available at this link.

Disclaimer: This update is provided to you for general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Bill Jamieson is a Partner at CNPLaw LLP. Bill is an English lawyer who is also registered to practise Singapore law in the areas of corporate law, banking and finance and securities laws. He enjoys working in the diverse and dynamic Asian market and helping his clients to achieve their goals.

    Bill’s practice focuses on corporate financing transactions, investment funds, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and employment law matters. His experience includes 10 years in the City of London and over 20 years in Asia. Before joining CNP, Bill was a partner in a well-known international law firm. He is recommended lawyer for Corporate and M&A, Banking and Finance, Investment Funds and Labour and Employment in Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021. Bill is one of the firm’s contacts for Interlaw, a network of independent full-service corporate law firms ranked by Chambers and Partners in its highest category, “Elite”, amongst all global law firm networks.

    With our understanding of the complexities and sensitivities of immigration laws and policies in Singapore, we provide assistance and guidance to our clients on immigration applications for Singapore permanent residence and Singapore citizenship with the aim of presenting a stronger and more compelling case for the approval of such applications.

    Employment issues are of fundamental concern to both individuals and corporations alike. This is especially so given the growing emphasis on human capital development across the world. Such issues involve an intricate interplay between commercial objectives and normative considerations. Here at CNPLaw, our lawyers strive to help our clients find the balance required to nurture a positive working environment. We advise both employers and employees (whether local or foreign) on the areas below.