Singapore and Japan launch residence track for business travellers who are work pass holders

The "residence track" comes in addition to the business track, or reciprocal green lane, which was launched last Friday. PHOTOS: CHONG JUN LIANG, AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Japan have launched a "residence track" for business executives and professionals who are work pass holders, in addition to an earlier reciprocal green lane catering mainly for short-term business travellers.

However, this will be done with the necessary public health safeguards in place, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Friday (Sept 25).

Applications for the residence track will start from next Wednesday.

Both sides have been in discussions since July on the residence track, said the MFA.

It comes in addition to the business track, or reciprocal green lane, which was launched last Friday and is for short-term essential business and official travel between both countries.

This will help restore connectivity and support economic recovery for Japan and Singapore, both foreign affairs ministries said in an earlier joint statement on Sept 11.

Last month, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his visiting Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi said the two countries were in talks to set up the two tracks that will allow cross-border travel.

Singapore currently permits visitors from five other countries, with a varied number of restrictions in place.

More details such as the eligibility criteria and other requirements, health protocols and application process will be made available before next Wednesday on the MFA website for entry into Singapore, and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for entry into Japan.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement that a new business travel pass is being piloted for senior executives in Singapore with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes.

Travellers on this pass, which is not country-specific, will be required to abide by a strict, controlled itinerary when they travel abroad for work.

Upon return, the traveller will be given the option to take a Covid-19 test in lieu of serving a stay-home notice, and to self-isolate until the results are out.

MOH said the number of passes will be strictly limited in the initial phase to ensure that public health outcomes of this pilot can be monitored.

"If the pilot is successful, and public health measures are fully abided by, we will consider expanding the scheme in a safe and calibrated manner," it added.

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