Solving the Singapore tech talent crunch with the new ONE Pass

Irwan Shah
Irwan Shah
September 27, 2022

Singapore wants to become Southeast Asia’s tech hub for businesses. However, its tech talent crunch has wedged it further from this goal — brought on by the tightened border control measures during the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical uncertainties.

Plus, the already shrinking pool of top talent locally is stretched even further when many international and regional companies move in. When the demand is higher than the supply,  what’s the solution?

The Singapore government’s new Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass is a timely panacea for the tech talent crunch, with its aim to strengthen Singapore’s appeal to top senior tech talent around the world. This includes talent from places such as Hong Kong, China, the US, and Europe. Glints looks at the ONE Pass visa and sheds light on its potential impact on Singapore’s tech landscape.

What is the ONE Pass?

The new five-year visa was introduced in late August 2022, allowing global talent with a minimum monthly salary of S$30,000 (US$21,400) and their spouses to work in Singapore. The visa starts from January 2023 onwards.

The minimum monthly salary of S$30,000 typically applies to executives at the very highest levels of business. This includes roles such as heads of business units in the banking and finance industry, or senior partners in professional service industries such as management consulting, law, or accounting.

Related: The Great Belt Tightening of Southeast Asia Tech Companies

Attractive to both tech talent and employers

This requirement, however, does not apply to specific tech roles, where the minimum salary requirement is S$10,500. The scheme will apply to various tech professionals from mid-to-senior levels, ranging from individual contributors and junior managers, all the way up to CTOs.

Additionally, the upgrade from a 2-3 year scheme to 5 years is very attractive for both employers and talent. For talent, they are exposed to the standard benefits of living in Singapore, including the fact that their spouses are allowed to work in the country. In turn, employers will benefit from the long years, allowing them to anchor their talent in Singapore to support business growth.

Related: Singapore Salary Guide 2022

What is Glints’ perspective?

There are several positive aspects that have emerged from the new ONE Pass and we foresee it igniting a flurry of exciting activities.

The new visa will likely attract more overseas talent to Singapore, at least in the short term, as Hong Kong remains under pandemic restrictions. Concurrently, we also expect a return of senior-level talent to the country, many of whom were expatriates from the US and Europe who left Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic

The ONE Pass can also be considered a positive step forward in enhancing Singapore as an attractive global hub for tech talent. Both international and regional companies, with headquarters in Singapore, will start to hire and attract global talent. Additionally, we expect that employers will take advantage of the ONE pass to relocate their technology leadership team into the country.

A much-needed boost to attract tech talent

Overall, we are optimistic about the new ONE Pass in supporting the growth of Singapore’s tech talent ecosystem. It’s also one of the solutions to clamp down on the talent crunch in Singapore and to a certain extent Southeast Asia

The new visa is targeted at mid-to-senior tech talent, complementing the current development of the tech talent markets in Southeast Asia. This will not impact neighboring markets known for emerging tech and digitally-skilled workforces, such as Indonesia and Vietnam.

Related: These are Greater Southeast Asia’s top emerging markets to find startup tech talent

We expect the ONE Pass to attract tech leaders from around the world to relocate to Singapore, where they can build competitive local and remote teams. They can also lean on the fast-growing junior and mid-level talent supply from other Southeast Asian countries. 

While we expect competition from other countries for top senior tech talent to persist, the scheme is undeniably attractive for top tech talent who find Singapore’s reputation as an international city in Asia that is safe, efficient, and friendly for business and career opportunities appealing.

Build your workforce from anywhere. Start your remote hiring journey with Glints.

This article is brought to you by Glints TalentHub. Leading companies are actively building their borderless teams in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and beyond. However, the prospect of going borderless can be daunting due to complex regulations and cultural ambiguities. With Glints TalentHub, you’ll have a dedicated team of in-market legal, HR, and talent experts by your side at every step of the way.

Glints TalentHub offers an end-to-end, tech-enabled talent solution that encompasses talent acquisition, EOR, and talent development. We empower businesses to leverage the strengths of regional talent efficiently to build high-performing, cost-efficient teams.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation with our experts to receive a tailored proposal today. 

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