EDB launches pass targeting top tech businesses and talent

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SINGAPORE — The Economic Development Board (EDB) on Thursday (12 November) launched the Tech.Pass programme to attract top-tier tech businesses and talent from around the world.

Tech.Pass will allow pass holders to engage in activities such as “starting and operating a business, being an investor, employee, consultant or director in one or more Singapore-based companies, mentoring start-ups and lecturing at local universities”.

The pass will be open for application in January 2021 with 500 places available. It will be valid for two years in the first instance, with a one-time renewal for a subsequent two years depending on meeting the renewal criteria.

The programme is an extension of the Tech@SG programme. Launched in 2019, the Tech@SG programme supports the expansion of high potential tech companies in Singapore.

“This is part of Singapore’s multi-pronged approach to develop a strong base of technology companies and talent to ensure Singapore remains globally competitive. This will also create more opportunities for local tech talent to work in globally competitive teams alongside top tech talent from all over the world,” the EDB said.

Tech.Pass eligibility criteria. (TABLE: Economic Development Board)
Tech.Pass eligibility criteria. (TABLE: Economic Development Board)

Speaking at the launch of the programme on Thursday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke about the difference between Tech.Pass and the employment pass.

“Today, many or all employment pass holders will need the sponsorship of a particular company. This is not the nature of what the top tech talent is looking for. Many of them will need to have some flexibility to work across different companies. Many of them may not even have a company but they are coming here to start a company,” said Chan, who was speaking at a closed-door dialogue with the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Tech.Pass looks at not just credentials in terms of qualifications but also how individuals have contributed to the global tech ecosystem, according to Chan. He also noted that many countries have similar schemes where they compete for top talents from around the world.

“This is not one whereby mid-tier people will come in and compete at a level of the employment pass. These are really the top talent that we are looking for,” Chan said.

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