Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) announced on 12 November that it will launch a new “Tech.Pass” to promote the city-state’s technology ecosystem and make it a regional hub for technology.


With the support of the Ministry of Manpower, the Economic Development Board will examine applications for the Tech.Pass. The program is expected to open for application in January 2021 and is currently limited to 500 slots.


Application requirements for Tech.Pass


As long as two of the three conditions are met, the pass holders will have the flexibility to participate in activities such as starting and operating business, or be an investor, employee, consultant or director in Singapore-based companies. They can also act as a mentor to start-ups or lecture at local universities.


Three conditions are as follows:


  1. Have a last drawn fixed monthly salary in the past year of at least SGD20,000;
  2. 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 USD500 million (SGD675 million) or at least USD30 million (SGD41million) funding;
  3. Have at least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in the development of tech product that has at least 100,000 monthly active users or at least USD100 million (SGD135 million) revenue.


The Tech.Pass will be valid for two years and can be renewed once.


To be eligible for a two-year renewal, the pass holder must


  1. Have earned at least SGD240,000 in assessable income based on the latest Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (can be made up of salaries and or business income); OR
  2. Demonstrate total annual business spending of at least SGD100,000 and employ at least 1 local professional or manager or 3 local employees.


The Tech.Pass is an extension of the government’s Tech@SG programme launched in 2019. The difference is that Tech.Pass appeal to individuals, while Tech@SG aims to help fast-growing companies build their role core teams in Singapore and provide the business networks and talent they need.


Building the nation with science and technology


Singapore has always attached great importance to science and technology talents. The launch of this “Tech.Pass” will help Singapore stand out in the global talent competition and successfully attract talents in high-tech fields such as e-commerce, artificial intelligence and cyber security. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Singh said the Tech.Pass holders will bring with them not just the knowledge and networks, but also the kind of contacts that they have across the entire global system, so that this will strengthen ourselves as a tech hub for the region, if not for the world. This will also bring more innovative employment and cooperation opportunities for our technological talents and enterprises. We want to attract industry talent and work with them outwards, not against them.


With Alibaba, Bytedance and Tecent opening their Singapore offices, Singapore brings together three of China’s biggest Internet companies, along with e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee. Amid the current economic downturn, the local electronic economy is emerging, expected to reach USD22 million (SGD29.7million) by 2025.


The launch of the Tech.Pass is partly an effort by the government to develop these technology companies, in the hope of gathering more scientific and technological talent to keep Singapore competitive and solidify its leading position as a regional technology hub.