Mr Patrick Tay: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry for each year from the date the schemes were established until 31 August 2022, how many foreign PMEs held the (i) EntrePass and (ii) Tech.Pass respectively.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong
1. EntrePass was introduced in end-2003 as a visa for foreign entrepreneurs to start and operate a new business in Singapore. In its first decade, to boost entrepreneurial spirit in Singapore, pass holders from diverse sectors were supported. There were typically 1,000-2,000 EntrePass holders at any point during those years. In 2013, the scheme was repositioned to focus only on entrepreneurs from innovative businesses to reflect our shift towards a knowledge-based economy. Over the next four years, the number of EntrePass holders fell to around 200 to 400.
2. In August 2017, to strengthen Singapore’s positioning as the Global-Asia Node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise and a leading startup location, the EntrePass scheme was enhanced to facilitate the entry and stay of experienced serial entrepreneurs, experienced investors and high-calibre innovators of disruptive or venture-backed startups. EntrePass is granted for one to two years, with passholders subjected to increasing local job creation and business spending renewal requirements every two years.
3. As at 31 July 2022, there are currently around 700 EntrePass holders in Singapore, of which more than half are renewed passholders, and the remainder first-time passholders.
4. Tech.Pass was introduced in January 2021 as a visa that targets highly accomplished global tech entrepreneurs, business leaders and technical experts. As at 31 July 2022, EDB has approved around 250 unique Tech.Pass applications.