Singapore offers new visa for top talent, high-earners

singapore talent visa
SINGAPORE- JUN 18 2017: View of immigration control at Changi International Airport in Singapore. Image by tang90246 | Bigstockphoto

Tech talent is in high demand globally, and Singapore is looking to attract the best and brightest with a new visa specifically for high-earning professionals.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said that it is important for investors to know that Singapore remains open for business, and this visa is one way to show that.

The visa is called the Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass, and it will only be accessible to those with a minimum monthly salary of S$30,000 ($21,400). This means that only a small percentage of applicants will qualify – in fact, only the top 5% of employment pass holders.

Singapore has a talent crunch

The pass will also be valid for up to five years. Spouses of holders will be able to work in the city-state as well.

However, the salary requirement may be waived for those with “outstanding achievements” across the fields of arts and culture, sports, science, and research and academia, especially as many of these fields do not offer high salaries compared to the tech sector.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore has been grappling with a talent crunch, especially in the tech sector. The city-state has been trying to attract more foreign workers and professionals to offset its aging population and shrinking workforce.

With the new Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass, Singapore is hoping to draw highly skilled professionals who can contribute to the country’s economic growth. The move is in line with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s annual policy address last week, in which he underscored the importance of building a world-class talent pool.

One of many initiatives to attract talent

The visa is only one of the many initiatives that Singapore is taking to attract foreign talent. The government is also looking to offer a five-year pass specifically for some jobs in the tech industry with a minimum of S$10,500 ($7,500), compared to the current two to three-year passes. This pass will be available from September 2023.

Furthermore, the state is reducing the time frame for firms to advertise jobs from 28 days to 14 days, and speeding up the process for employment pass applications from three weeks to 10 business days.

Singapore’s talent crunch has been a constant issue over the past few years. In response, the government has been adamant to make the city-state a global hub for talent.

“We are now in an era where businesses follow talent, as much as talent follows business. Both businesses and talent are searching for safe and stable environments to invest, live and work in. Singapore is such a place,” Tan said.

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