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Singapore – New Talent Access Programme for Tech Companies

Singapore – New Talent Access Programme for Tech Compan

From 2 January 2020, fast-growing technology companies may avail of a new scheme for talent access in Singapore called Tech@SG. Qualifying companies, subject to certain conditions, can expect to receive up to 10 new Employment Passes (EPs) over two years for critical foreign talent who will be hired as part of the company’s core team in Singapore.

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From 2 January 2020, fast-growing technology companies may avail of a new scheme for talent access in Singapore called Tech@SG – a programme jointly-administered by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG).1  Qualifying companies will receive an EDB / ESG endorsement to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) which can facilitate the approval of new Employment Passes (EPs) for critical foreign talent, subject to the conditions outlined below.  The programme provides support for up to 10 new EPs for a total coverage of up to five years. 

WHY THIS MATTERS

Tech@SG aims to help technology companies to grow in Singapore and expand regionally.  This includes connecting tech companies to the Singapore innovation and start-up eco-system, as well as facilitating the entry of core team members.

The EDB/ESG endorsement of the company to MOM is expected to reduce, to a degree, the risk of rejection for their first / next 10 EPs.

Programme Benefits

Qualifying companies can expect to receive up to 10 new EPs over two years for foreign employees who will be hired as part of the company’s core team in Singapore.  Core team members should be manager level or higher, performing core business functions (such as business development, HR, finance, partnerships, strategy, or general management) or technical functions (such as product management/development/design, software engineering, solution architecting, or data science).

The EDB / ESG endorsement will also extend to the first renewal of each new EP obtained under the programme.    

In total, an EP under the programme can be supported for up to five years (initial EP valid up to two years, and the first renewal valid up to three years).  After five years, the EP will be renewable under standard EP requirements.

Eligibility

Companies must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Incorporated a business entity in Singapore with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • Have a digital or technology offering as their core business2
  • Received funding (no minimum amount) from a programme-recognised investment firm in the past 36 months; and
  • Secured more than USD 10 million (cumulative) in investment funding in the past 36 months.

Companies with less than 30-percent Singapore ownership should apply with EDB, while those with at least 30-percent Singapore ownership should apply with Startup SG, an entity under ESG.

Individuals applying for the first / next 10 EPs of a qualifying company must meet all the following criteria:

  • Considered a core team member;
  • Meets MOM’s prevailing salary threshold (i.e., SGD 3,600 for fresh graduates; more experienced candidates will require higher salaries); and
  • Clear MOM’s checks on applicant background and supporting documents.

KPMG NOTE

While the EDB/ESG endorsement of the company to MOM is expected to reduce, to a degree, the risk of rejection for their first / next 10 EPs, companies should be mindful that their EP candidates must still pass MOM’s background and due diligence checks, as with other EP applications.  Moreover, EP applications will still require a job posting in the official jobs bank, unless exempt.

FOOTNOTES

1  For information on Tech@SG, see the Singapore Economic Development Board website.

2  Includes instances where the company has a business model built on proprietary hardware and/or software technologies, such as big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, and cyber-security.  Examples of such companies include software-as-a-service, e-commerce, digital media, digital gaming, med-tech, bio-tech, clean-tech, and fin-tech companies.

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Singapore.

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Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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