Home » What’s the difference between an Employment Pass and a Tech.Pass?

What’s the difference between an Employment Pass and a Tech.Pass?

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Tech.Pass is a visa that allows established tech entrepreneurs, leaders or technical experts from around the world to come to Singapore to perform frontier and disruptive innovations.

There are several differences between an Employment Pass and a Tech.Pass. For a start, one is an employment pass, the other is a visa.

Employment Pass

The Employment Pass allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. The pass is tied to employment in a particular company. The applicant must already have a job offer here. The minimum qualifying salary for an employment pass is $4500 ($5000 for financial services).

Tech.Pass

Unlike the Employment Pass, the Tech.Pass is not tied to employment.  Individuals can apply for the Tech.Pass without employer sponsorship. The Tech.Pass applicant does not need to secure employment in Singapore prior to application.

Tech.Pass will allow pass holders flexibility in the participation of 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 even conducting training courses  at local universities. 

Applicants are assessed based on their track record and prior experience in leading teams or developing a tech product.

Eligibility criteria for Tech.Pass

Applicants must satisfy any two of the following conditions.

He/She must have:

  1. A last drawn fixed monthly salary (in the last 1 year) of at least S$20,000.
  2. At least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in a tech company with a valuation/market cap of at least US$500mil or at least US$30mil funding raised.
  3. At least five cumulative years of experience in a leading role in the development of a tech product that has at least 100,000 monthly active users or at least US$100mil annual revenue.

Renewal criteria is even more stringent

The Tech.Pass is for a period of two years. It can be renewed for another 2 years upon meeting renewal criteria.

To have their Tech.Pass visas renewed, holders would have to earn at least SG$240,000 in assessable income or demonstrate total annual business spending of at least SG$100,000 and employ at least one local professional. They would also need to perform at least two of a list of required roles, which includes founding a company in Singapore that offers tech-based or tech-enabled products or services as well as a leading role in two or more Singapore-based tech companies.

Who administers the Pass?

The Employment Pass is administered by the Ministry of Manpower. Tech.Pass is administered by the Economic Development Board. 

Extension of Tech@SG

Tech.Pass is an extension of the Tech@SG programme that was launched in 2019.

The Tech@SG programme anchors and supports the expansion of high potential companies in Singapore.

Tech.Pass Scheme  attracts established tech talent to enter and anchor themselves in Singapore, bringing their networks and experience with them to benefit the local tech ecosystem.

“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,” EDB said.  “It will also create more opportunities for local tech talent to work in globally competitive teams alongside top tech talent from all over the world.”

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