Singapore opens foreign entrepreneur program to broader pool

4 Aug 17

SINGAPORE

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Singapore has taken steps to make its EntrePass foreign entrepreneur program available to a broader pool of applicants.

What does the change mean? Applicants for work visas under the EntrePass program will be evaluated on new criteria, including their business ties, entrepreneurial and investment track record and accomplishments in their fields of expertise. The paid-up capital requirement of 50,000 Singapore dollars (about US$37,750) has also been removed.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The changes were implemented Thursday.
  • Visas/permits affected: EntrePass work visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign entrepreneurs applying for work visas through the EntrePass scheme.
  • Business impact: The Ministry of Manpower said in a statement that the changes are aimed at attracting a larger pool of skilled global startup talent to complement local startups by supporting innovative businesses and creating good jobs for Singaporeans.
  • Next steps: Those interested in the EntrePass program can visit this MOM site for more information.

Background: EntrePass was introduced in 2003 as a way to provide work visas to qualifying foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in Singapore. Applicants have traditionally been vetted based on (1) funding or investment from government-recognized venture capitalists or investors; (2) whether they hold any intellectual property related to their work; (3) whether they have a research relationship with a Singaporean higher education institution or research organization; and (4) whether the applicant would be accepted by a government-recognized incubator or accelerator. In addition to the above criteria, an applicant’s business ties, entrepreneurial and investment record and accomplishments in his or her field will also be considered. The waiver of the S$50,000 capital requirement is intended to attract entrepreneurial talent who may lack funds to reach the old investment threshold.

BAL Analysis: The changes to Singapore’s EntrePass program are designed to broaden the pool of applicants to the country’s foreign entrepreneur visa program. Officials hope the changes will help create local jobs and cement Singapore’s reputation as a destination for global start-up talent.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

 

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