Singapore's Economic Development Board is launching a new employment pass program to draw top foreign tech talent to the city-state. Named Tech.Pass, it specifically targets founders, leaders and technical experts with experience in established or fast-growing tech companies, and permits such individuals a wide range of business activities—from starting and operating a business, to working in, investing in, mentoring, or serving on the board of directors of a Singapore-based company, and even lecturing at a tertiary institute or conducting corporate training.
Applications for the new pass open in January 2021, with 500 places initially available. The criteria are fairly strict: they include at least five years' experience running a tech company with US$30 million of funding or a valuation of US$500 million, or at least five years' experience leading the development of a tech product with at least US$100 million revenue or 100,000 monthly users.
In the announcement, EDB said that the Tech.Pass will help "facilitate fast growing tech companies and established tech talent to enter and anchor themselves in Singapore, bringing their networks and experience with them to benefit the local tech ecosystem." The agency also said that this move will "create more opportunities for local tech talent to work in globally competitive teams alongside top tech talent from all over the world."
The introduction of the Tech.Pass comes at a time when the demand for tech talent in the city-state has far outstripped supply, with salary demands rising and candidates anecdotally more choosy than ever. However, consultants have reportedly expressed some reservations about how it targets only top tier individuals, but does not close gaps at the mid-levels.