2020 Singapore GE Will Likely Cause Govt To Put Locals First

Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 GE in Singapore, one can be assured that more pressure and scrutiny will be placed on the local government to provide benefits and more first to citizens and permanent residents over all others in the country. This means that getting your Singapore PR application to be approved as soon as possible will be more important than ever before so you can enjoy these too.

Some of the main areas which are discussed by nearly all parties recently has been about healthcare, education and jobs, but mainly about education and jobs over the long term.

Some sensitive points raised by locals on the grounds are that far more assistance within education and in particular, foreigners allegedly are getting strong priority for new jobs over citizens and residents, creating unhappiness in locals.

However, due to changing political climate, the government has been highly pressured to reconsider many of its past policies, and possibly will do so even more after tonight’s results, regardless of it.

It is likely to result in vast shifting of resources to providing more opportunities, grants and potential cash help to the locals. This means that if you have been considering becoming a PR here, you should do so quickly. This is so that you can leverage the advantages that you will soon only be able to receive as a local, and no longer as a foreigner.

Also, one of the things which have more or less been confirmed by the government even before the Elections have been held is that the targeted immigration goals will unlikely change at all due to supposed confirmation and clarifications about targeted population. This means that getting your application approved will no longer be easier. It is thus imperative that you always keep your documents in order, and truly contribute to the country so that you can quickly enjoy the local benefits too!

Will Changes To SG Targeted Population Affect Immigration?

people

There are heavy debates recently by nearly all local political parties with respect to the targeted population, as it is one of the key points which is of importance to the current citizens and residents. If you are currently still a foreigner and are going to submit Singapore PR application within the next few months or years, you may be worried if such discussions may affect your probability of success.

We had briefly touched on this topic before. However, we will discuss it more in depth here.

Many years ago in 2013 via the controversial Population White Paper, SG wanted to increase the head count in people living in it to 6.9 million, by bringing in 30,000 new permanent residents each year. Even more recently, there has been rumours of wanting to potentially increase it to 10 million. There has been allegations that is actually planned out, yet there are also people who denied that idea.

Regardless, in the latest upcoming 2020 Elections, there has been more contesting parties with credible reputations and more and this has been putting a lot of heat on the government. As a result, it is unlikely that such a matter with respect to the targeted population will be swept under the rug any longer.

The current targeted rate for new PR will be 30,000 a year. Let us take both extreme examples so that we are prepared either way it goes. We believe that either way it goes, there will be heavy scrutiny on this topic by all parties.

Example 1: There are indeed plans to increase the local head count to 10 million by 2030

If the local population keeps increasing till that number steadily over time via mainly immigrants, it will likely drive up the prices of real estate in Singapore to even higher prices, even though it is already high. This can lead to potential discontentment among the growing numbers of those who cannot afford a place of their own here – or get a loan and struggle to pay it off.

Therefore, it is likely that regardless of whatever happens in the upcoming General Elections 2020, there will be further scrutiny on this issue, and even if the target is kept at, the criteria may be raised, so as to justify the reason behind this goal to the people.

Example 2: There are no plans to do so, and it will be kept at an absolute maximum of 6.9 million or less by 2030

This means that at least between now and 2030, the process and approvals will not get any easier than it is right now. The difficulty may remain the same, or increase over time simply due to the eventual slow down in acceptance of new PRs.

As you can tell, we strongly believe that as a nation matures, the criteria will only get tougher over time. So keep your documents in order, and have a stellar record to have the highest probability of getting approved when you do apply! Also, make sure to not do these!

Things You Must NOT Do When Applying For Your Residency

legal disclaimer

Even if you are trying to speed up your PR application in Singapore and trying to increase the chances of you getting a successful submission, there are things you absolutely have to steer clear off, no matter how tempted some of you may feel like doing them.

We understand that the process can take some time, and you may get impatient, but the worst thing you can do is to jeopardize your chances of getting a PR forever! While immigration is still likely to be encouraged in the future, the future criteria may already get harder. So you definitely do not want to make things even more difficult for yourself by having a potentially illegal case on your end.

Do not bribe and do not be cheapskate!

Most recently, there was a bribery case where a lady could not afford an immigration agency’s services, and instead paid an unethical employee worker from that agency under the table to bribe an ICA officer to expedite the entire process and at a cheaper rate. In the end, the lady is being sentenced to jail in Singapore, and the people who conspired with her are being charged. Do not do things like this, as the truth will be out sooner or later. It may take months or years, but it will always surface eventually, and you will not like it then.

Submitting false documents knowingly!

Earlier on in 2020, there was a lady who tried using fake educational qualifications to get herself and her daughter to get approved for permanent residency back in 2008 and 2009. However, it was found to be fake nearly 10 years later in 2017, and she was arrested. So keep this story in mind as we go about processing your submission for you. No matter how tempted you feel like cheating, and no matter how safe you think you may be even if you got approved now, do not lie on anything you submit to ICA knowingly. We will help to portray you in the best but factually accurate light. Do not let something silly like submitting fake documents to haunt you for years, and potentially come back to bite you many years later. It is not worth losing your peace of mind.

Will Future Policies Make It Harder To Become A PR Here?

As some might already be aware, Singapore is having its General Elections soon, and during every such events, there will be people who are looking forward to changes, while there are those who hope it remains exactly the same. But whether or not the government changes or not, there can still be policy changes, and how can it potentially affect your chances of getting your Singapore PR application approved if you are currently looking to become a resident here?

First of all, there are proponents of a 10 million population in SG by some politicians, while there are some who are vehemently against that. However, most are in agreement that new immigrants are necessary, but the exact target number may not be. So will any potential policy come up and say that there will be zero new immigrants allowed now? The chances of that is nearly zero, because the local population’s birth rate is too low to sustain itself. However, to be safe, do not treat it as that means an open door policy – because there has been way too many against it. Therefore, the government is likely to welcome more new immigrants into our country, but it will be nearly impossible for it to go back to the rates that it did in the early to mid 2000s.

Second of all, regardless of what happens in the GE, one can be confident that the criteria for new permanent residents will only get tougher over time, as is the case with virtually every other developed country. This is due to social, political and economical reasons. Therefore, if you are looking to be a PR here, make sure that you have all of your documents prepped at all times, so that when you are ready to apply, you need not fumble around or be missing essential documents!

Third of all, skill up and be very valuable. If you have skills in the job sphere which are so valuable and rare, every company will still be scrambling to hire you and pay you well. This will in turn help you get higher chances of being approved for a PR because of your stable and high pay job. (Having a high paying job well over $12,000/month as of now will also allow you to apply for LTVP for your parents.) If you are a phenomenal businessman or investor, it is also extremely likely for the local government, regardless of whoever wins, to maintain the GIP Singapore scheme. However, like the above mentioned, the criteria for it may also increase over time.

Long Term Visit Pass For Parents Of SPR

Getting a long term visit pass LTVP from Immigrations Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for your elderly parents is possible if you are a Singapore permanent resident (if you do not even have this, you can find out more about how to get it for yourself first here).

In fact, the long term visit pass LTVP is also open for S pass and Employment Pass holders who are interested in it for their family members, and is not just available for the parents. Some of the family members who can get the long term visit pass LTVP will be:

  • Your spouse
  • Your children
  • Parents in law
  • Step children

When you get this Long Term Visit Pass LTVP as a SPR for your parents, your parents will be able to have up to 2 years unlimited stay in SG most of the time. The only caveat is that LTVP application does not allow for your parents to work in Singapore, it is merely like a very long term social pass. This is not an issue for most people and their parents as most who get the Long Term Visit Pass LTVP for their parents are simply doing so to let their parents be able to live with their child (you) locally here too.

However, in the unlikely event your parents wish to move over to pick up jobs, then yes they still can, if they have the relevant work visas.

When it comes to the application process for the LTVP, it can vary between a short 7 working days while there are actually also cases where people and their parents needed to wait up till around 6 weeks before they got it successfully. As you can possibly tell, there is quite a large range of time.

To check on this status, it is quite easy and either the sponsor (you) or your parent can check on their respective assigned Foreign Identification Number (FIN).

How Long Does The Process Of Getting A PR Take?

time

How long does it take your Singapore PR application to be approved?

The actual submission time you or the agent requires to send the documents over to the relevant authorities is actually nearly immediate – if you have all of the documents needed ready on your hands. The preparation of these necessary information and documents depends largely on the individual, and if you have been keeping records of these in the past so that you can find them all easily now.

Assuming that you have already submitted all the necessary details, then the following are rough guidelines for you.

While it is widely claimed by ICA that the average turnaround and processing time for an application is approximately four to six months, there has been wildly different experiences by applicants on the ground.

Some of the common reasons being:

  • Peak period – for instance, maybe this time of the year or this year, there are way more submissions to ICA for them to process. This makes the entire process slower for everyone. P.S. Many expats like to live in Singapore!
  • Lull period – on the other hand, if you happen to submit during a lower popularity period, then you will get a decision faster. However, this is not something that you should try to time, as all such information are kept confidential by the authorities, and if you are serious about becoming a PR, you should just submit as soon as possible.
  • Your qualifications and details are right on the fence – this means that the people in charge of processing are not overly confident about approving you, but still think you are clearly good enough to be considered seriously. This can result in them being on the fence about you. The best way to solve this problem is to make sure that you do not take any chances, and give them absolutely everything that puts you in the most positive light right from the first try.

Since PTS scheme is one of the most popular choices by people, a rough guideline for those readers who are intending to take this path in Singapore can expect anywhere from as fast as two to three weeks up till around two years.

If you have already gotten rejected, here is some advice on how to send your appeal letter to ICA for rejection decision overturn.

Why Do Many Foreigners And Expats Like To Live In Singapore?

garden

Lots of foreigners and expats flock to Singapore to live in, as well as to work. Why is that so? Here are some of the reasons why many like to live here, and why many also apply to become a Singapore permanent resident!

Our city is safe from natural disasters. This is just due to pure luck. Situated in a location where there are no volcanoes, no tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis, people need not worry about their house’s roof get torn off by huge winds during hurricane season, as there is no such thing here.

There are virtually no riots or protests around the country. While this does not necessarily mean that every single person is happy in the country, it means that they resort to other means to change and enact changes instead of taking to the streets and rioting. This can be a welcome scene for those who are based in more ‘messy’ locations right now who may be sick of the unrest resulting in violent riots.

Some also pick up a PR so that they can purchase property here cheaper, access cheaper loans, as well as benefit from the tax laws. Local tax laws only taxes individuals once, as there is no such thing as double taxation within SG itself. If you receive capital gains or dividends, they are free from tax, and thus many wealthy investors like to use this legal loophole.

When it comes to South East Asia, or even Asia in general, we are one of the rare few cities where English is the first language. Hong Kong is the closest comparison many like to make with SG, but if you prefer a place which is relatively less like Communist China or controlled by them, then here is the smarter choice. Therefore, while the city is not exactly run like the Western parts of the world at all, it being English speaking and relatively more Westernized is one of the main reasons why expats love to work here instead.

This does not mean there are no downsides to living here, but if the above are among your top priority when it comes to picking a location to stay in, then we are probably a great choice for you, among other factors.

Also, a big tip for you – by being a resident but without being a full citizen, you also get to reap all the upsides that the country offers you without any of the downsides such as NS liabilities (for some), and that is further explained here too.

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 Global Investor Program in Singapore, also known as the GIP scheme, is a very popular choice among foreign migrants who wish get their Singapore PR application status approval. Here is more information on this GIP scheme and whom are eligible to apply for GIP.

The Global Investor Programme GIP was introduced by national government authority – the Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) in conjunction with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) for migrants interested to be investing in eligible businesses or GIP approved funds as a way to an eventual approved Singapore permanent residence. Over the years, the requirements for Global Investor Programme GIP you need have changed, and the following is the most updated assessment criteria required as of 2020 for a GIP application.

There are either of three investment options in Singapore within Global Investor Programme GIP of Singapore you can make if your profile qualifies, and different types of profiles qualify you for different GIP options. Do note eligibility criteria and conditions to meet when investing for your GIP application also varies as shown in following.

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

Under this option A, there are additional steps in the process:

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

Who qualifies for Option A?

Successful business owners, next generation family members of an existing business operation and entrepreneurs of fast growth companies with track record.

Option B – Invest at least S$2.5 million in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore-based companies

Likewise, there are also additional steps investors will be required to take with this GIP path with minimum investment of Singapore $2.5M, which is highly similar to that of route A.

Who qualifies for Option B?

Established founders of a company, next generation shareholders and entrepreneurial founders of fast growth companies with business track record may apply.

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

Under this option C, there are additional steps:

  • Investors to submit a detailed 5 years business plan with projected employment and annual financial projections with the Singapore investment VISA. The investment plan will be assessed based on your position in it, the functions of it, proposed investment sectors, asset types and geographical focus.
  • Offshore assets outside of Singapore can be qualified as part of the AUM requirement, if a minimum of S$50M of the investible AUM has been transferred into and held in Singapore

Who qualifies for C?

Successful C suite business owners, next generation entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial founders of fast growing companies and family office principals may qualify and apply.

For investible assets in Singapore, they can be made up of stuff like bank deposits, collective investment schemes, premiums paid for life insurance policies and such investment products, capital market products, but not including real estate.

To read more on the information guide on the definitions of the type of individuals who qualify for one or more of the above options A to C under the Global Investor Programme GIP Singapore, you may select to use EDB website factsheet. You will also need to have your company in one of the following categories like aerospace engineering, visual arts businesses, engineering services, chemicals, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals biotechnology, performing arts, medical technology, healthcare, sports businesses, consumer business for example flavors, fragrances, home and personal care, nutrition, and such. Foreign investors who want more information, refer to their website.

While the average requirements and criteria for immigration are getting harder as the years go back, more ultra wealthy are still picking up a permanent residence in the country due to the many benefits that such a status confers on them as well as their unmarried children under 21 years and such list of dependents.

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!