Singapore’s ONE PASS vs Hong Kong Top Talent pass, how do you choose?

December 22, 2022

Due to the global talent shortage and the competition for top talent, Hong Kong and Singapore have launched new working visas that are aimed at high-earning individuals.  

In this article, we will explore what each visa entails and how they differ.  

Singapore’s Overseas Networks Expertise Pass 

In August 2022, Singapore introduced the One-Pass, which is the country’s most flexible working visa. This is because of the country’s continuous efforts to attract top talent. 

With the ONE-Pass, individuals can work for multiple companies at the same time as well as start their own business. This eliminates the worry of finding a job immediately. 

While generally liberal, other Singapore work visas like the Employment Permit (EP) and Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) have greater limitations on employment and entrepreneurship than this customized pass. 

The ONE Pass is valid for 5 years, considerably longer than the 2 years of the Ep and 3 years of the PEP. 

Of course, applicants need to be extraordinary to be eligible for the ONE pass. With a fixed monthly wage of S$30,000 ($22,000 USD) or S$360,000 ($262,000 USD) yearly, the ONE Pass is intended for high-income earners. 

Candidates from abroad must demonstrate that they currently work for or have previously worked for a reputable organization. This organization must have a market value of at least S$700 million (US$500 million) or S$280 million (US$200 million) in annual revenue. 

Additionally, it hopes to draw people who have made “exceptional achievements” in the fields of science, technology, academics, the arts, and sports. In fact, even if they don’t fulfill the salary criteria, these applicants may still be accepted. 

Hong Kong’s Top Talent Pass 

Hong Kong is perilously standing on the edge, endangering its long-celebrated reputation as a global financial center. It should not be surprising that its new Top Talent Pass is greatly needed. After a very erratic and well-documented few years, there is apparently an effort to recapture some talent. 

A lot depends on this new visa because according to John Lee Ka-chiu, the chief executive of Hong Kong, the state’s workforce decreased by around 140,000 employees between 2020 and 2022. 

The Top Talent Pass is designed for high-earning professionals who are also graduates of the top 100 universities in the world in order to attract the brightest minds on the planet. 

The government will streamline procedures for businesses to hire foreigners and create a task force to create innovative recruitment strategies as part of a larger drive to attract much-needed new talent. Additionally, assistance will be provided to newcomers once they reach Hong Kong. 

Professionals with annual earnings of at least HK$2.5 million (US$320,000) are eligible for the 2-year Top Talent Pass. 

Hong Kong aims to attract top talents from the fields of financial technology, artificial intelligence and data science, life and health technology, advanced manufacturing and new energy technology. 


Comparison Table 

Visa Programme 
Top Talent Pass Scheme 
Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass 
  • Earn HK$2.5 million (US$320,000) in the past year 
  • Earn a monthly equivalent of S$360,000 (US$262,000) a year 
  • Foreign applicants must prove that they have been working for, or will be working for a prominent corporation with a market capitalisation of at least S$700 million (US$500 million) or a yearly revenue of S$280 million (US$200 million) 
  • Those with outstanding achievements in academia, the arts, sports, and science can qualify even if they do not meet the salary requirement 
Pass Validity 
2 Years 
5 Years 
  • Graduates from the world’s top 100 universities will not need to comply with strict rules that require employers to find locals for jobs before finding talent from abroad, making for easier hires 
  • Students graduating from Hong Kong universities can stay for up 2 years to find work, which takes the pressure off having to rush to find work 
  • Pass holders can start, manage, and be employed by a few companies at the same time for exceptional flexibility 
  • Pass holders can take their time to search for work 
  • Long pass validity is assuring and suitable for those looking to stay and contribute long term 
  • Pass holders do not need to reapply for a new pass upon job change 
  • Spouses can work in Singapore with a Letter of Consent, so they need not give up having a job to come here 
When Does it Start? 
Within the year 
January 1, 2023 


It is clear that both visas appeal in different ways and the question will come down to, which country offers more stability, market exposure and opportunities. 

Singapore biggest pull is its proximity to South East Asia, rule of law, political stability, safety and strong relationships with neighbouring and global countries. 

Hong Kong is closer to the world’s largest growing economy but with current situation, it has been struggling to retain its top talent due to concerns on the social economic front. 

With this in mind, in the opinion of the writer, the Singapore One Pass clearly outweighs that of that of Hong Kong’s Top Talent pass and will be a powerful recruitment tool for Singapore thanks to its unmatched flexibility, long-term residency choices, and lax entrepreneurial regulations. 

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