Budget debate: 22 Tech.Pass applications approved since launch in mid-January

The new work pass scheme is aimed at attracting foreign tech industry experts to Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some 22 applications for the Tech.Pass have been approved since the scheme was launched in mid-January.

Disclosing this figure in Parliament on Tuesday (March 2), Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan said that given the dynamism of the tech sector, the Government will have to monitor how the Tech.Pass is working and adjust accordingly.

He was replying to Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), who had asked about the types of entrepreneurs being attracted and what they bring to Singapore.

The new work pass scheme opened with 500 places available and is aimed at attracting foreign tech industry experts to Singapore.

Tech.Pass, which is administered by the Singapore Economic Development Board, is valid for two years, and the pass holder can apply for a one-time renewal of the pass for another two years if he meets the renewal criteria.

The professionals targeted under this scheme would have a track record of either founding or leading sizeable tech companies and in the development of widely-adopted tech products. Such individuals are in short supply globally, said Mr Tan.

He noted that the Government will have to make adjustments based on the kind of tech professionals Singapore wants to attract and, for those who had obtained the pass, to assess how they are doing.

The ministry will provide an update to Parliament when they have more Tech.Pass approvals and look at the efficacy and effectiveness of the scheme, Mr Tan added.

Eligibility for the visa includes a last-drawn monthly salary of at least $20,000, and holders can engage in activities such as mentoring start-ups or Singapore companies, or serving on the board of directors of a Singapore-based company.

Applicants need not secure employment in Singapore to apply for the pass as it has no requirement of employer sponsorship.

Tech.Pass holders can also sponsor the stay for their spouse, children and parents in Singapore on either a dependant's pass or a long-term visit pass.

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