In a bid to lift its attractiveness to top-tier foreign tech talent, Singapore is launching a brand new work pass next year called Tech Pass. It will be valid for two years with a choice to renew once for additional two years.
Tech Pass holders can start and operate a business, serve on the board of directors of a Singapore-based company, or be a shareholder or investor in companies here. The holders may also take up lecturing roles in institutes of advanced learning, work as mentors or advisers to companies here, and also conduct corporate training.
Applications for Tech Pass will start in January, and for a start, 500+ opportunities for job employment are available when it launches. Candidates for Tech Pass must meet various criteria to indicate that applicants are high-level professionals in the tech industry. Renewal has stringent requirements too.
One such stringent requirement is that:
If an individual fails to offer valuable services in favour of the incorporated company, then their pass may not be renewed. An employer with an assured salary of $4500 will be eligible for pass renewal.
Why does Tech Pass matter?
A global race for top tech talent is going on in Singapore. Many other countries are trying to form their pitch to attract individuals whose capital, networks, and know-how may be valuable in helping them grow their tech industries and build jobs.
With Tech Pass, Singapore has now ranked among countries like France, Malaysia, Thailand, and Britain that have all introduced these special visas meant to attract international tech talent.
Competition is stiff – Britain, for example, saw a record number of applicants last month for its Tech Nation visa, despite the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Given the various options that tech professionals have, firms inside the region are finding it difficult to engage tech experts to guide their teams and projects. During a study released last year, recruitment consultancy Robert Walters found that in South-East Asia, about 70 per cent of hiring managers took a minimum of three months to fill an open tech position.
What Lies Ahead?
Singapore’s Internet economy – or business conducted online – is on target to achieve US$22 billion (S$29.7 billion) by 2025, which will make the sector mega engine of growth for the country.
But at the same time, other countries in the region have their eyes on the potential for growth that the tech sector has. Despite the disruptions from Covid-19, South-east Asia’s Internet economy is expected to hit over US$300 billion by 2025.
To fully realize the potential of tech, Singapore needs more movers and shakers to grow the industry here and build opportunities for its local workers. Singapore has work cut out for itself to fulfil the high demand from companies here for skilled Manpower.
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