Singapore Has New Work Visa Rules For Skilled Foreign Individuals

·3-min read

The Lion City is luring foreign talent as it aims to boost economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic.

A series of new work visa rules have been introduced to this effect, allowing holders to stay in Singapore for five years while working for multiple jobs at a time. This will come into effect in January.  Now despite being one of the smallest countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore has emerged a global business hub – in part owing to its low unemployment rate, thriving e-commerce sectors, and innovative digital infrastructure.

Capitalising on this, the country recently eased visa rules for high-salaried individuals as well as a few exceptional talents. In doing this, it joins the likes of Australia and the UK, which have similar provisions in place. This move will also help address the tight labour market in the country while attracting foreign investment in the challenging post-pandemic climate.

Salaries over S$30,000 p/m will be granted five-year work visas in Singapore

As per the new criteria, expats earning at least SGD 30,000 per month can secure a five-year work pass. This is comparable to the top five percent of Employment Pass Holders, Economic Times reports. People with exceptional skills in sports, arts, science, and academia are also eligible. The new visa also grants their spouses eligibility to work in the country and will be available from January.

Candidates without any recent employment history in Singapore will need to show proof of having worked or, of intent to work for, a reputable business with at least SGD 700 million market value. Additionally, employers no longer have to wait two weeks to hire a Singaporean employee for a position, instead going for a One Pass holder.

With this, the country looks to revitalise the hospitality, food, and beverage industry that suffered due to multiple lockdowns in the past. To add to this, restrictions led to many expatriates leaving, causing its population to drop for the first time in nearly two decades. Tan See Leng, the city-state’s manpower minister was quoted by Reuters as saying, “We cannot leave any room for investors to doubt or have questions as to whether Singapore remains open.”

He further added, “As a country with little or no resources, talent is our only resource and talent acquisition is an offensive strategy for us.” In line with this, several other measures have been set in place. This includes allowing certain tech professionals whose skills are in short supply up to five-year visas (from September 2023) – a step up from the current two-to three. Processing time for the passes – often reserved for high-paid professionals – will be reduced to 10 days as well. That aside, pay hikes have been implemented this year to attract talent as well.

Prime Minister Lee stated, as per a report by NDTV said, “This is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success.” He added, “We need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent, in the same way we focus on attracting and retaining investments.”

All images: Soulful Pizza/Pexels

This story was first published on Travel + Leisure India