One of Singapore’s key value propositions is our position as an air and business hub. This includes the ease with which executives based in Singapore can travel around the region for work, to oversee regional operations.
Unfortunately, the ease of travel has been severely affected by restrictions to safeguard against COVID-19. SME owners cannot visit their customers and factories in the region, and MNCs with global/regional HQ functions here are unable to operate fully. We need to enable these businessmen to travel more easily, and safely, or risk losing these business functions to other countries.
Hence we are piloting a business travel pass for senior executives in Singapore with regional or international roles who need to travel regularly for business. We are doing this in a gradual and calibrated manner to manage our public health situation carefully.
Travellers on this pass will be required to abide by a strict controlled itinerary when they travel overseas for work.
Upon return, travellers will undergo an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test in lieu of the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and are required to be isolated in a single location until they obtain a negative result for their on-arrival test.
As an added precautionary measure, travellers on this scheme are required to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests on Day, Day 7 and Day 14 of their return. An additional Serology test will also be required on Day 3.
These enhanced testing requirements serve to minimise the risk of potential incubating cases leaking into the community.
As we are piloting the scheme, the pass is not open for application at this point in time.
The Business Travel Pass is not country specific and senior executives will be able to travel to a range of countries, subject to the countries’ entry policies.
Although the Business Travel Pass is not a ‘free-pass’ for travellers to enter various countries, it facilitates the Business Travel Pass holders’ return to Singapore, to carry on with their business operations.
Travellers must abide by both the destination’s public health rules, as well as the stringent health protocols in Singapore upon their return.
If they are found not to have abided by any of the protocols, we will revoke the Business Travel Pass and remove them from the pilot.
Application / eligibility
We are working with our government agencies to identify a list of senior executives in Singapore with international or regional responsibilities who travel regularly for official and business purposes, and are progressively issuing the passes.
Approval is given only if we are assured that the individual will comply with the stringent public health requirements and safeguards.
We will maintain the ability to revoke the Business Travel Pass if we find that the traveller failed to abide by the stringent health protocols.
Eligible candidates include senior executives of all nationalities in Singapore. Foreign nationals are required to hold an Employment Pass (EP), EntrePass, Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) or Immigration Exemption Order (IEO).
Pre-identifying travellers through the government agencies will allow us to follow up closely with these travellers to determine the public health outcome of the scheme.
Through the government agencies, we will also be able to contact these travellers quickly in the event that we need to adjust parameters of the travel pass in response to a sudden change in the global epidemiological situation. The travellers will have to immediately adapt to and abide by any change in public health requirements.
This is critical as public health remains our number one priority as we explore new ways to resume business travel to aid in our economic recovery.
As the initiative is in the pilot phase, there is a tight limit on the number of Business Travel Passes available. Our focus is on monitoring the implementation of the pilot to ensure that public health risk can be managed with the travel. This will enable us to assess on expanding the initiative.
Regional travel for businesses based in Singapore is important, and we want to enable this as much as possible, while protecting the health of those travellers and making sure that we do this in a safe and sustainable manner.
In the meantime, companies may also wish to consider utilising available travel lanes for entry into Singapore from applicable countries for business purposes.
We do not have a fixed timeline for this pilot scheme and are taking a step-by-step approach in our evaluation of the pilot. Our number one priority for now is public health and we want to carefully monitor the progress of this pilot before making any decisions.
Because public heath remains our priority, we will limit the number of Business Travel Passes in the pilot phase and carefully monitor the public health outcomes in this phase.
Travellers on the pilot will be required to submit a controlled itinerary of their meetings and activities while abroad, including the contacts they meet and venues they go to, and must adhere strictly to this controlled itinerary. Travellers who leave Singapore without an approved controlled itinerary, will be required to serve a 14-day SHN or SHN+ upon arrival into Singapore.
Before returning to Singapore, they are required to make a health declaration to ensure that they do not have symptoms and have not encountered anyone infected with COVID-19.
Upon arriving in Singapore, they will take a PCR test at their own cost and are required to strictly self-isolate until they get a negative test result.
In addition, travellers are required to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests on Day 3, Day 7 and Day 14 of their return. An additional Serology test will also be required on Day 3. This serves as an added precautionary measure to capture any possible incubating cases.
On top of that, they are required to use TraceTogether, avoid all forms of public transport within 14 days of return, comply with safe management measures at their workplace, and abide by all other prevailing measures applicable to local residents. Travellers are also to avoid events with more than 8 attendees within 14 days of returning to Singapore.
If travellers are found to not have abided by any of the health protocols above, their pass may be revoked and they may face further penalties.
Travellers on the pilot will be screened beforehand.
They are also required to comply with stringent public health requirements and additional safeguards. For instance, they are required to submit a controlled itinerary before leaving Singapore and adhere strictly to this itinerary abroad.
Upon their arrival in Singapore, BTP holders are required to undergo an on-arrival PCR test in lieu of their SHN requirements and additional PCR and Serology tests on designated days as a precautionary measure to capture any possible isolating cases among BTP holders.
In order to limit the potential public health risk, we are starting only with a small number of Business Travel Passes during the pilot phase.
We will continue to carefully monitor the global situation and the public health outcomes of this scheme in order to strike a calibrated balance between the safety of the local community and resuming business travel in support of our overall economic recovery.