Why Do Many Foreigners Like PR But Not Full SG Citizenship?

person jumping into MBS

The truth is that many foreigners are getting their PR application for Singapore, but far fewer are going further than that. Why is that the case? Here are some of the main reasons why.

You can get virtually all of the benefits for locals even without being one. For instance, the only main thing you will not be able to receive is buying a HDB flat at the discounted price and need to get it at the open market rate. But if you are reading this post, you probably have zero desire to live in a HDB, and are probably already considering a condo or a landed property. You need to jump through more hoops and hassles with no additional incentive for you.

Some people say it is a privilege to serve NS, not me. Why not give that choice to your male children instead? Maybe they would love it, and they can still serve it in future. But give that freedom of choice for your child, by just maintaining a residency instead first. In case your child wishes to travel to another part of the world in future, he can still do so without incurring any penalties if he just gives up that up. However, if your child is a local, he will never be able to enter the country without being thrown into jail if he decides to avoid NS. So why drag yourself (if you are a guy) and/or your male kids into this liability by changing your entire status and losing the flexibility?

One of the strongest reasons that many foreigners pick up a PR is they wish to leverage the overall stability of our city for both their living as well as their finances as SG is a global financial hub. You can get both of that without being a full Singaporean, so why go through more hassles which is much harder to reverse in the event you or your family members change your mind?

Additionally, we are one of those countries where you are not allowed to hold dual or multiple citizenship. However, your current country probably allows it. So, foreigners realize the great advantage of just having a PR here.

In summary, by being a resident but not a S’porean, you still get 99% of the full advantages with 0 of the downsides. How amazing is that? Now, before you get too excited or any of the process, make sure that you are eligible first.

All About GIP – Singapore Global Investor Programme Scheme

wealthy investor GIP

The Singapore Global Investor Program, also known as the GIP scheme, is a very popular choice among migrants who wish get their Singapore PR application status approval. Here is more information on this GIP scheme.

The GIP was introduced by the Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) in conjunction with the Economic Development Board (EDB) for migrants who wish to invest in or eligible businesses. Over the years, the requirements have changed, and the following is the most updated as of 2020.

There are three investment options you can make if your profile qualifies, and different types of profiles qualify you for different options.

Option A – Invest S$2.5 million in a new business or expansion of an existing business

Under this option A, there are additional steps:

  • To submit a detailed 5-year business or investment plan with projected employment, expenditure and financial projections for the company. The plan will be assessed based on its feasibility, your role, the activities and creation of local jobs
  • To have at least 30% shareholding in the company and be part of the management team
  • Company to be engaged in one of the industries listed in Annex B

Who qualifies for Option A?

Established business owners, next generation business owners and founders of fast growth companies.

Option B – Invest S$2.5 million in a GIP fund which invests in Singapore-based corporations

Likewise, there are also additional steps you will be required to take with option B, which is highly similar to that of option A.

Who qualifies for Option B?

Established business owners, next generation business owners and founders of fast growth companies.

Options C – Invest S$2.5 million into a new or existing Singapore-based family office having Assets-Under-Management (AUM) of at least S$200 million

Under this option C, there are additional steps:

  • To submit a detailed 5-year business plan with projected employment and annual financial projections. The plan will be assessed based on your role in your family office, the functions of the family office, proposed investment sectors, asset types and geographical focus.
  • Offshore assets can be qualified as part of the AUM requirement, if at least S$50 million of the investible AUM has been transferred into and held in Singapore

Who qualifies for Option C?

Established business owners, next generation business owners, founders of fast growth companies and family office principals.

For further reading on the definitions of the type of people who qualify for one or more of the above options A to C, you may refer to EDB website’s factsheet.

While the requirements are getting harder as the years go back, more ultra wealthy are still picking up a permanent residence in the city-state due to the many benefits that such a status confers on them.

Does Paying More In Taxes Mean Higher PR Approval Chances?

taxes

There is a belief among some applicants that paying more in taxes means that your chances of getting your Singapore permanent residence application approved will be higher. Is there any truth behind that? Let us find out more!

First of all, because Singapore has a progressive tax system for individuals, this means that the higher your drawn salary for the year, the more you will need to pay both in terms of the percentage as well as the actual dollar amount. Therefore, generally speaking, the more you pay in terms of taxes, the higher your income, which is always beneficial when it comes to increasing your chances of approval as the state always want wealthy individuals to live in it.

Second of all, the number of times you pay can also appear to be a factor in increasing your probability of success. However, the real reason behind that is because it demonstrates that you are serious about living in and working in SG. It is not so much about the amount you actually pay yearly over the years, but it demonstrates your time spent in the country clearly with hard proof.

However, as you may already have noticed, there are many billionaire high flyers who made their riches in other countries, and decided to pick up a residency here. One of the most famous one is Eduardo Saverin, among a few others. Most investors and entrepreneurs (including you if you are one) may structure your cash flow to come from corporate entities you own instead of directly as drawn salary. This means that your actual taxes paid may be legally lower than many others who make far less than you. However, as you can tell from many famous examples, that other factors that the government takes into account for approval including but not limited to business acumen, ability to lead and bring new investments into the city, and being a powerful figure are often far more important ones. Even if you have top notch accountants and lawyers to help you legally lower your taxes paid in SG to nearly zero, you can still have a high chances of approval than others who pay more in taxes because of the other benefits you bring.

Social integration is also a key assessment criteria when it comes to getting a PR, among many other factors. Therefore, while at face value it may appear that your friends who pay more taxes and more times appear to have a higher probability of success, it is actually other factors which are pushing them towards success!

Social Integration In Singapore Is A Key Assessment Criteria

If you want the highest chances of getting your Singapore PR application approval, then the secret hiding in plain sight for immigrants is actually showing social integration into our society.

Social Integration

What it means is the process in which immigrants to a country – Singapore in our case, are integrated into the local fabric of society and how they socially interact and behave within the place.

The relevant authorities used to look more at qualifications – especially financial. However, due to changing sentiments by both the population, and hence the government, a more balanced approach of looking at both the new immigrant’s successful social integration and qualifications is taken now instead.

In fact, that is why among those applicants who have studied in SG before, how much they integrated into the school life with the locals is also taken into account and these people have a higher success rate! For a deeper read on this topic, read our post on whether studying locally can improve your chances of application success.

For those who did not do their education in the country, no worries. There are lots of ways in which you can show that you have socially integrated. For instance, spending documented time at local sports or cultural community events, donating to local registered causes and more are great ways of showing this. If you have not already done so, yet are serious about wanting to be a permanent resident, then start shifting at least part of your focus on status approval from economic contribution to social integration, and work on a balanced profile. This way, you stand the highest chance of success going forward.

In fact, some of the most common reasons for rejections, and hence people trying to appeal to ICA against rejection, is largely due to two reasons – qualifications and proof of integration into the local social life. So if you are an immigrant who wants to stay here for good, make sure to work on and demonstrate your efforts in social integration!

Advice On Appeal To ICA For PR Rejection

Many people who apply to be a resident in SG face rejection by ICA, particularly for first timers. Perhaps like them, you may have tried to appeal, and unfortunately got your appeal rejected too. Reasons for rejection are plentiful, and can range from missing supporting documents, incomplete forms, weak identity profiles and many more. To add onto this, ICA also does not provide any reason for the people getting rejected, and this can be frustrating for you.

There are usually only two options for you if you face rejection.

Appeal to ICA for rejection decision overturn

The first option will be to actually submit an appeal letter to ICA regarding this matter within 2 months of the rejection date. This is actually the common route that is taken by most people as there is minimal waiting time for you as well. Some people simply ask us for the appeal letter template, but we strongly do not recommend that. This is because ICA does not approve appeals lightly as well. This means that unless your case was a simple situation of having left out one crucial document in the initial process, chances are you need to demonstrate clear and significant progress in terms of your profile in order for them to accept the appeal.

It is important to know the entire situation to know for sure if going this route is the ideal choice for you. Going for an appeal is usually ideal if you had only missed out perhaps one or maximum two documents during your initial application. However, if yours was a case of weak qualifications or profile in the eyes of ICA, then re applying is the smarter decision for you.

Re apply 6 months or more later

The second option will be to re-apply again. This is the recommended route if your profile is weak and is most likely the reason and cause for getting rejected. This is because usually anything short of a significant improvement in your application will result in the same.

However, how long must you wait before you can apply for PR again after rejected? The quick answer is that you can apply for it 6 months or more after the initial rejected date. However, you definitely do not want to keep applying and keep getting rejected over and over again. For instance, you definitely should not change job or company in the interim time unless it is to a significantly higher salary position at a prestigious company. Everything you do in between now and re applying has to be about improving your profile. We can advise you on your success before you make any moves, so that you stand the highest chances of approval of becoming a resident in Singapore.

Can You Change Job While ICA Is Processing Your Application?

change job during application

Changing jobs while your Singapore permanent residency application is pending is a common concern by many customers. As this is a commonly asked question, we seek to answer this query here.

This question is specifically for those who have already submitted your documents to ICA, and are awaiting for the results of your PR status.

If you have not yet applied with ICA at all yet and are considering changing jobs before you apply, then this does not directly apply to you.

If you want the short answer, the answer is yes. However, there are two main caveats, and several things that you should inform ICA of if you so wish to do this.

First of all, while some people change careers due to a better work-life balance, if you are serious about getting your application approved while changing employment, then try to make sure that you only accept the offer if it offers a significantly higher income or salary. The higher your salary, the better your chances of getting a pass. (However, do note that paying more in taxes does not automatically mean higher chances of approval success.) The last thing you want to do is to change jobs to a similar pay but more relaxed work scope during the pending process.

Second of all, regardless what new work in the country you are considering right now, the key is to portray to the authorities that you are a responsible and stable adult and applicant. However, if you are always constantly changing your work place, then you will probably get onto their naughty list and it will be really difficult for your PR to get granted!

Here are some things that you should ideally inform ICA beforehand, so that you still can change your career while still keeping your chances of status granted high.

You can either choose to email them at ICA_PR@ica.gov.sg or contact them physically at their offices at Immigration & Checkpoints Authority ICA Building 10 Kallang Road Singapore 208718 the following information or documents:

  • An explanatory document which explains your situation and why you are considering to make the change in work. Keep in mind that this explanatory piece should illustrate that you are a responsible, sensible adult who is only changing jobs because it is clearly the only logical thing for anyone in your position to do and accept.
  • To provide them with a copy of your new work pass
  • To send them the Annex A from the new company you will be working for
  • A copy of your passport biometric page

Something additional that you want to note is also that you should only do the above steps if you have already received an official offer from the company or organization. If it is a soft offer, and you inform ICA authorities on the supposed change in employment, and right after that, the organization or company rescinds on their job offer to you, resulting in you backtracking your explanation to ICA, that can cause confusion and cause the officers in charge to view you as a wishy washy permanent residence applicant.

We always recommend that you will need to be thorough when you apply now, and while some people may have gotten away without informing ICA of such changes, or keep changing careers and still get their status granted in the past, keep in mind that many of those easy approval stories happened before 2008 to 2009 and getting your documents approved is getting harder these days. Therefore, being thorough will ensure your chances are kept highest.

Will Having Studied In Singapore Increase Success Chances?

Many foreigners interested in a Singapore PR application are curious if having studied in a local university or tertiary education institute in SG increases the chances of successful status approval. While there is no hard and fast rule that having done so translate directly to your chances being higher, and vice versa, it does indicate some other things which can be of benefit to your application.

For instance if you have studied in a local university in Singapore, it likely demonstrates that it is more possible that you were putting in effort to integrate with the locals. It is not because of prestige or academic score reasons at all. If you studied within an international school or private institution in the country, then that will be a different story as it may seem to the ICA authorities that you seem to prefer sticking to your current citizenship status. Therefore, it is usually of no use to indicate this in your application if you did not study in a local school, because it is non-beneficial in helping you improve the probability of success.local university

However, it also depends on what you do within the school. It is not just about studying at a local educational institution. For instance, if you take lots of leadership roles and co-curricular activities within the college, and demonstrate that you do try to assimilate with the locals more than just study in the school, these will definitely help you in getting your chances of approval higher, especially if you put all of these into your cover letter during your application process too.

Additionally, if you had a government scholarship by the local government to study in a local university, then your chances of application success would usually be significantly increased. This is because these scholarships are rarely given out, and only to the best students academically speaking. Also, these government based scholarships usually have bonds, which means that you will need to be working for a local statutory board most of the time after graduation. This also helps you in getting a local permanent residency due to the fact that you will definitely be working full time at a relatively high paying job right after university graduation. All of these work in your favour.

As you can tell, demonstrating that you are willing and interested in working hard to assimilate into the country, its culture and with its people definitely helps you out, as we also explained in another post how such assimilation efforts can be the difference in approval status versus your friends, and why two supposedly similar people can have different status results.

Why Your Friend Similar To You Got PR While You Got Rejected

If both you and your friend, who is supposedly highly similar in details to you, tried applying for a permanent residency by yourselves, it does not mean that both of you will automatically get accepted. Even if on paper both of you have similar qualifications and more, it does not automatically mean both of you will get the same results for the PR status. If you need professional help getting your status granted, you can contact us.rejected

Firstly, unless you submitted the documents together with him or her, side by side, and filling up every single question asked by ICA together, and have the near identical cover letter and on the same day and time, there is a high chance that one of you did not fill in one part properly, or the way that ICA wants. This is a common issue, and it is not just about careless mistake. It is about whether you filled in the relevant portions, and gave the documents as the way that ICA prefers.

Secondly, your family background can matter, and we are not talking about the financial background. We are talking about heritage. If you or your friend happen to have some family members, even if they are not immediate but are extended family members, who are Singaporeans or permanent residents already, that will tilt the odds in that applicant’s favour when it comes to applying for a local PR.

Thirdly, does your friend know another language like English or Mandarin which you may not necessarily know? As Singapore’s main two languages used are English and Mandarin, if an applicant can demonstrate that he or she is able to speak both languages fluently, even if the racial descent is neither Chinese or Caucasian, it can significantly help improve the chances. This is because the local government will likely favour those who are able to assimilate into the local culture and languages easily, instead of only speaking their home language.

While the above points may not seem like big points to some of you, they, among other factors, are and can be seen as very important criteria for ICA. Therefore, even some seemingly ‘small’ points can tilt the odds and chances of getting a PR status granted heavily in the applicant’s favour. For instance, social integration may be seen as a minor factor to many people, but it is increasingly important!

Also, keep in mind that overall, it is also getting harder for new applicants to get their approval, because the government has cut back on the quota per year now. It will only get harder in future, so reach out to us if you need professional help by a professional registered consultancy like us now!

Why Is It Harder To Get PR Status Approved Nowadays?

If you feel that getting a Singapore PR application approval is harder nowadays, you are definitely not alone, and definitely not hallucinating.

You see, in the past, before the years 2008 to 2009, getting one in Singapore was not difficult at all for many people, and it almost felt like you did not need any effort at all whatsoever to get it. This is what some call as the heyday of the ‘open door’ policy, and there was a huge influx of people into Singapore.

Many people got the permanent resident status and bought multiples homes in Singapore as investment properties, or bought holiday houses in Singapore. Most of them never worked or ran a business in the country, and some argue there was zero contribution to the society in general by these people. However, since they bought multiple homes, and so many people got permanent residency in a short period of time, this caused local house prices to shoot up multiple folds, and that is why the prices of houses increased very significantly the periods prior to 2009.difficult

The Singapore government and ICA, sensing unhappiness from the citizens and existing permanent residents due to this rapidly rising cost of living without a respective increase in standard of living, took action by not only introducing property cooling measures which felt relatively useless, but took a firm action against the number of new PR granted yearly to new applicants to curb this rising cost.

Another reason for the amount of PR to be granted to foreigners yearly decreased is because of political reasons as well. There were many new permanent residents who only hired foreigners over locals exclusively at companies, and therefore, while the economy grew in general, few locals benefitted at all. To appease the citizens and assimilated PRs, the ICA and the Singapore government realized that the only fast way to solve this issue was to be stricter on the acceptance of new applications.

Despite these difficulties, many people still apply for it yearly, as the Singapore permanent residency offers lots of benefits to those who hold it.

What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A PR In Singapore?

happy girl

What are some of the benefits of getting that PR status approved? Let us and our company share with  you what they are if you still on the fence!

Keep in mind that the following benefits may not necessarily seem as benefits to every one, as every one holds different things at different priority levels to themselves. Therefore, some of the following may seem as benefits for you, while others may not seem as clear cut for you. But nonetheless, they are considered as benefits, which non residents are not able to do!

Firstly, you can enter, leave the country and reside in the country for as long as you want, and there is basically no restrictions. You will no longer have to apply for visas to travel or work into or out of Singapore. If you want convenience, you will get that with this status!

Secondly, if you are residing in SG already, and want more stability for your future family life in the country, being a permanent resident allows you to also include your spouse as well as any unmarried child under the legal age of 21. Additionally, if your children are school aged, they will also be easily eligible to enter any of the local public schools if you wish them to do so.

Thirdly, if you are intending to work in SG, then having this status will allow you more work freedom. This is because you can easily change jobs freely without requiring to re-apply for a completely different work permit, and hope for approval once again. There is always high potential risk of delay or rejection. However, with a residency, you can change jobs or simply start a business in our country! You get way more work freedom.

Fourthly, you will be able to make use of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme. This is a form of pension fund, similar to that of many other countries. If you want to make sure of this CPF scheme to grow your retirement funds, being a permanent resident will allow you to become eligible to qualify for it. This is the case regardless whether you are self employed or working at a job for someone else.

Fifthly, If you wish to buy property in the country, being a resident will be able to allow you a high priority to borrow various types of real estate mortgage loans. This is the case whether you are looking to buy a public government HDB flat (only a second hand one in the open market) or private condominium or landed properties. Having easier access to property loans is a reason why many investors also like to get a local PR.

Next of all, if you have aged parents, whom you want to keep close to you and take care of, you can easily get long stay visas for them, making this much easier and keeping your life less stressful.

You have the ability and will become fully eligible for a full Singapore citizenship if you wish to do so in future. The best part about a permanent is that it offers you that flexibility, and it is still up to you if you wish to just remain a PR and keep another citizenship, which many people do, or convert into a full local citizen, which many also do so! Having this flexibility either way not only for yourself in the future, but for your future generations is a big benefit!

Wondering what makes you eligible? Then make sure to read this post on what makes you eligible for approval!