Singapore introduces Singapore ‘ONE Pass’ to attract top global talent

Singapore is a highly attractive location for global talent as a liveable city and international business hub that is well-connected to regional markets. But as the world returns to normality after the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore is stepping up efforts to attract top professionals with a new Overseas Network & Expertise Pass – known as the Singapore ‘ONE Pass’.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “This is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success. We need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent, in the same way we focus on attracting and retaining investments.”

The Singapore ‘ONE Pass’ is a new work pass for top talent across all sectors that is notable for its unprecedented validity period of up to five years, its status as a ‘renewable personalised pass’ and its two distinct eligibility criteria – salary or outstanding achievement.

Introduced on 1 January, the Singapore ONE Pass is a personalised pass, which offers far greater flexibility because it is tied to the individual holder rather than a particular employment in Singapore. A ONE Pass holder is permitted to start, operate or work for multiple companies concurrently, and is not required to reapply for a new pass if he or she changes jobs.

A Singapore employer is not required to apply for a work pass on behalf of a ONE Pass holder. ONE Pass holders are also excluded from Singapore’s points-based Complementarity Assessment (COMPASS) eligibility framework, while employers that wish to hire them are not subject to the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement.

There are two different routes to apply for the Singapore ONE Pass ­– the ‘salary criterion’ or the ‘outstanding achievement’ route.


Salary Criterion route

The ‘salary criterion route’ is intended for either existing work pass holders who have worked in Singapore for at least a year or will be working for an established company in Singapore, or overseas candidates who have been working for an established company overseas for at least a year or will be working for an established company in Singapore.

For a company to be considered established, it must have a market capitalisation or valuation of at least USD500 million or an annual revenue of at least USD200 million. Combined amounts from the entire global office can also be considered and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In both cases, applicants should either have been earning a fixed monthly salary of at least SD30,000 (c. USD22,500), or its equivalent in foreign currency, for the previous year, or will be earning at least SD30,000 a month under their prospective Singapore-based employer. While the fixed monthly salary of at least SD30,000 should come from one employer, other sources of income may be assessed accordingly.


Outstanding Achievement route’

The ‘outstanding achievement route’ enables applicants to apply for a ONE Pass without meeting the salary criterion and covers top talent across all sectors, including business, arts and culture, sports, as well as academia and scientific research. It is tailored for individuals who have demonstrated a high level of achievement, illustrated by the applicant’s curriculum vitae and letter(s) of endorsement from a local host research institution.


Validity period

The Singapore ONE Pass has a validity period of five years and can be renewed for further periods of five years if the holder continues to meet the renewal criteria. To apply for renewal, the ONE Pass holder must either have earned a fixed monthly salary of at least SD30,000 on average over the previous five years in Singapore or have started and be operating a Singapore-based company that employs at least five local employees, each earning at least a SD5,000 monthly salary.

One Pass holders must also provide MOM, on an annual basis, with details of their professional activities for the past year and their annual salary earned from the professional activities.


 Family members

ONE Pass holders can relocate family members. A ‘Dependant’s Pass’ for ONE Pass holders applies for legally married spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old, including those legally adopted. A five-year Long-Term Visit Pass is also available for common-law spouses, stepchildren or handicapped children, or parents of ONE Pass holders.

The holder’s spouse, whether legally married or common-law, is permitted to work in Singapore on the issue of a Letter of Consent from the Ministry of Manpower. Other dependants will need to obtain a Work Pass to work for an employer in Singapore.

Contact Jelli Abdul Razak
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