Effective Aug. 3, 2017, foreign entrepreneurs who were thinking of exploring EntrePass opportunities were given an extra push to get their businesses up and running in Singapore (SG). Innovators can now enjoy some additional perks, including less limiting criteria and more recognition for their contributions to Singapore’s tech startup ecosystem. It is hopeful that pursuing the changes will attract more talent in the early stages of idea exploration. In other words, more entrepreneurs, business owners and investors will see this as a positive message from the Singapore government that there are benefits to moving with their families to this investment hub. The EntrePass Scheme, which falls under the Startup SG Talent pillar, was introduced in 2003 as a work visa for start-up businesses to take up residence and work in Singapore. As part of the old scheme, applicants must have met certain criteria, including having funding or investment from a government-recognised Venture Capitalist or business angel or holding intellectual property.
A large portion of One Visa’s clients who are interested in EntrePass have been denied because they failed to meet the previous requirements. These qualified entrepreneurs or investors with good experience simply lack the technicality of the EntrePass and end up falling through the cracks, unable to enter Singapore to run their businesses. Moving forward, however, thanks to the recent current enhancements, more people will find themselves qualified to apply for the visa. One Visa will be there to provide their expertise in migration service above and beyond any other providers.
So how do the August enhancements streamline the visa process and what can start-ups expect? For one, the entrepreneur pass visa criteria has been broadened to attract more promising talent through an application process that assesses more than just the four innovation criteria in its original guidelines. In addition — and perhaps the most appealing part of the scheme’s upgrades — the $50,000 paid-up capital requirement has been removed in an effort to recognise a business’s non-monetary contributions. This means business owners can spend more time offering their expertise in various industries, mostly notably the growing popularity in deep technology.
But the visa isn’t without requirements. Applicants must fall under one of three new categories: 1. Business owner/entrepreneur with either business network and entrepreneurial track records; 2. Extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise; or 3. Investment track records.
Under the business network and entrepreneurial track records category, the applicant must fulfil only one of the following requirements:
- You have founded and sold a tech company;
- You have raised significant funding from investors for a current or past venture;
- You have been or are being incubated by an internationally renowned incubator or accelerator;
- You have strong industry networks and business contacts that are related to your proposed business;
- You have a substantial track record related to your proposed business; or
- You have received recognition by a national body, recognized media publication or credible industry organization for your professional, business or entrepreneurial achievements.
To be considered for the extraordinary achievements in key areas criteria, both of the following requirements must be fulfilled:
- Your area of expertise must be related to your proposed business; and
- You have outstanding achievements or received international recognition in your area of technical or domain expertise.
Finally, to be considered for investors with investment track record, the applicant must meet both of the following requirements:
- You are willing to invest a substantial amount of money in a local company; and
- You have a track record in one of the following:
- Investing in and driving the growth of highly-scalable business; or
- Substantial experience as a senior management professional or executive in a large corporation.
Another key difference with the enhanced scheme is that, previously, an individual could apply for the EntrePass directly with the business plan. Now, however, the Ministry of Manpower will require applicants to receive approval from one of the following three partner agencies: Spring Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, or the National Research Foundation.
Seeking support from the agencies is something very new in Singapore. Each applicant must be careful to understand the key requirements in seeking agency support before submitting an application. One Visa can be there to facilitate this process, helping entrepreneurs to understand necessary steps and preventing any delays in obtaining the visa.
This two-fold opportunity offers multiple benefits to both the investor and the eco-system a whole. For one, Singapore will certainly see an increase in the demand on housing rentals, insurance, accounting services and other resident-related expenses, while existing businesses will be able to engage in knowledge sharing and collaboration, creating more synergy and improving the current business landscape.
Locals should gear up, though. New business means better ideas, knowledge and experience, so it would be wise for existing commerce to be ready for the competition. The SG government should also expect to see a surge in permanent residency applications, currently capped at 30,000 individuals each year. This will continue to be refined to ensure the EntrePass scheme is able to meet its mission. With the changes effective in August, Singapore certainly is on its way to becoming the next international start-up hub of the world.
If you seeking help to apply for entrepass under the new scheme, you may click here to learn more on our Entrepass service.