Why More Become Singapore PR Despite High Living Costs

Despite Singapore constantly being regarded as one of the most expensive places in the world to live in, an increasing number of migrants are still applying for Singapore PR application in droves. Why is that the case?

Well, it is simply a case of benefits outweighing the high costs of living in Singapore!

People who can afford to move to our country are mostly white collared professionals and executives who are relatively well off expatriates, and one of their biggest concerns is safety for them and their families. Since law and order is almost synonymous with our country, it is a no brainer for these well off executives to come and live in SG along with their families and reside here as permanent residents.

Singapore has a welcoming culture for migrants. While that has altered over the years, right now, the country and its existing population is open to talented individuals who are able to successfully social integrate into our society as that only leads to more innovation and jobs in the city state.

Our city is situated in a geographically ideal location where one can easily incorporate their business here and leverage its location to nearby rapidly developing economies. We dare say that our country is probably the only politically and geographically stable with low corporate and personal income taxes one within the entire region, and is largely seen as corruption free. This means that both people from Western and Eastern parts of the world who wish to do business in South East Asia will feel very comfortable setting up their headquarters in Singapore. Despite the higher living costs here, this stability for entrepreneurs and investors are welcomed and hence why PR application is so popular here.

Singapore is a highly multi racial society as well, and consists of people of almost every race and religion living harmoniously here. As a result, regardless of the migrant’s race or religion, they can easily feel right at home in Singapore. This may not necessarily be the case in other countries – both Western and Eastern ones.

Does First Generation PR Need To Serve NS National Service?

NS

If you apply and get your Singapore PR application approved, do you have to serve NS or national service? National service is otherwise known as enrolling in the military in SG. The answer to this question depends on how you got your status, the age you got it, and what your future plans are. Let us discuss in the following paragraphs.

In this country, only males are affected by this, and depending on your situation, could be mandatory. However, if you are a woman, it does not matter, you are not required to, though you are more than free to join if you wish to.

Are you a first generation PR? The definition of first generation means that you were or are the main candidate, and you earned it yourself, such as through the PTS scheme as a working professional or as an investor under the Global Investor scheme. In such a case, you are not required to serve National Service in Singapore. The answer to the question as to whether first generation PR need to serve NS is no. There is no need for you to serve NS.

Are you a second generation permanent resident? Second generation means that you are a child who has acquired a local permanent residence due to the sponsorship by one or both of your parents. If you are considered second generation, then yes you will be legally required to serve National Service if you are a guy. There is no other option. The only way you can avoid it is to renounce your status. That will legally and permanently remove you from being required to serve Singapore’s National Service if you do so below the age of 16.5.

How old were you when you became one?

If you are in your forties or fifties when doing so, then regardless of the scheme you use, you will not be required to serve National Service. There is no publicly or easily accessible laws regarding this matter for the maximum age, but it is widely regarded as above 40.

However, if you are in your twenties and you did not become one via PTS or GIP, you may be required.

What are your future plans?

As mentioned above, if you are a second generation, you are required to serve by law. However, we understand that everyone has different ideas and so we respect your decision either way. The following discusses more:

If you intend to stay in the country, there is no way out. You have to serve NS.

If you intend to leave SG for good, and perhaps only ever return for leisure purposes, then no, you do not have to serve. You simply need to cancel your status before the age of 16.5, and you will be legally cleared of all conscription requirements. While it is publicly stated that you may face repercussions if you wish to work in our country again in future after doing this, in practice and in reality, it almost never ever happens.

So there you go – the above is an in-depth explanation of your liabilities and options you have.

New Tech.Pass Singapore To Attract Talented Migrants

tech company

It was just recently announced that a new type of work pass is expected to be launched in the year 2021 for top-tier professionals looking to either do business in, lead corporate teams or take on a teaching role in Singapore. Of course, if you become a Singapore PR, you can also do all of those.

On the 12 November 2020, The Economic Development Board (EDB) announced plans to launch Tech.Pass, which is an initiative designed to put Singapore ahead of others in the race to attract top-tier technology professionals from industries such as cyber security, E-commerce and more. This will be supported by the Ministry of Manpower. All of these are expected to be booming industries in the future, if not already.

When it comes to this Tech.Pass, the validity of it will be for two years at a time, and a one time renewal for the subsequent two years will be contingent on several criteria. Take note though, that the application for this Tech.Pass has not yet started, and is expected to only begin in January 2021. Spaces are extremely limited, and only 500 are available at the moment.

The goal of this Tech.Pass is to create a flywheel effect to strengthen Singapore’s position as the preeminent tech hub in the entire region. Other than it being designed to attract talented foreign immigrants, it will have positive knock on effects by creating more high paying jobs for locals as well. This success will then spur further success and attraction of more such talents and so on – creating the flywheel effect that Mr Chan of the Singapore government has stated about.

This is especially important for the tech sector in our country because Singapore’s Internet economy is on track to reach approximately almost $30 billion per year by 2025. Additionally, our country also happens to house the greatest amount of corporate headquarters for tech companies with over a valuation of $1 billion among all other South East Asian countries.

The eligibility criteria for Tech.Pass is at least two out of the three following criteria:

  • A last drawn monthly salary of $20,000 in the last financial year
  • A minimum of five years of experience in a leading role in a technology company with a valuation or market cap of a minimum or US$500 million or with raised funding of at least US$30 million
  • A minimum of five years of experience in a leading role in the development of an IT based product which has at least 100,000 monthly active users (MAU) or US$100 million in revenue

What are the benefits that a Tech.Pass will provide holders?

Successful applicants will be able to easily start and operate a business locally, serve on board of directors of a Singapore incorporated company or be an investor in local companies. Something additional is that they can also do stuff like teaching roles in institutes of higher learning or universities, serve as a mentor to local corporations and be able to conduct trainings or workshops here physically too.

The renewal criteria for Tech.Pass will be as follows:

  • Applicant to have earned a minimum of $240,000 in declared, assessable income for the first two years OR
  • Providing proof that the business has spent at least $100,000 locally

As you can tell from the above, it is in line with our expectations that our country will still continue to work towards stable population growth by talented migrants.

Is Singapore A Good Place To Settle Down As A PR?

settle down condo

Is Singapore a good place for you to settle down and perhaps become a permanent resident? We definitely think so! And here are the reasons why we strongly believe Singapore is a good place to settle down in.

When you are deciding where you can settle down, and start a family, law and order is definitely an important factor. Wanting to settle down in a country or city full of unrest or wars will not be a smart idea at all. In this regard, SG is a safe place to be in. With tight security locally by the police force, it has one of the lowest crime rates anywhere in the world. Additionally, because of the relatively higher cost of living here, the type of people it attracts to settle down here are usually of a higher calibre too, and most of them have good careers and do not resort to crime. This results in a positive snowball effect, and making our country a safe place for residents.

Second of all, as of right now, we believe that there is a welcoming culture for immigrants here. The truth is that this culture has been changing over the years, depending on how immigration rates are and the overall socio-political climate is in SG. However, it has improved drastically, and on the whole, Singaporeans are very welcoming to all new migrants! This is our observation from on-the-ground analysis.

Thirdly, it has a relatively diverse population. In fact, the local government purposely preserves the racial balance in the local population. This means that regardless of your ethnicity, you will probably find a fair amount of people in our country whom are the same as you! Our country really is about as East Meets West as humanly possible. There are people of almost every single ethnicity living here and decided to settle down in Singapore for good and go through a full PR application.

Next of all, we have one of the best educational systems in the world. Constantly ranked as top few in the entire world, many parents send their children to schools locally here because of the high standards that it has, especially within the top schools here. If you settle down here and are a Singapore PR, you will be able to make use of this benefit for your children’s education too!

Can International Students Get PR In Singapore?

international students

Wondering if international students can get their Singapore PR application approved?

The short answer as to whether international students can get a PR is yes. However, just being an international student in Singapore alone at a local university means absolutely nothing. You cannot simply be an exchange student and expect to get it. The bare minimum is that you need to be a full time foreign student enrolled in a local university. The following are things you should read about and work on to improve your ability to get a permanent residence here if you are an international student.

First of all, if you are an international student in a local higher academic institution in Singapore such as a local, publicly recognized university, you should definitely try to get a scholarship with a bond to a local statutory board. This is a huge bonus and will lend lots of weight to your PR application. This is because an official corporate bond also shows and demonstrates that you have a willingness to stay and work in the country beyond just coming here for education. Showing proof that you have lived and worked here, and having further commitment to want to do so for the long term is one of the strongest possible ways to get your status approved as an international student.

Second of all, in a tough competition year, it is not sufficient to just have good grades, and stay on your scholarship alone. Showing that you have successfully integrate into the local community is a good thing. There are lots of international students who are here on scholarships with bonds to a statutory board or government linked organization. However, if there happens to be lots of applicants, then you need something more to stand out. This does not simply mean that if you have lots of local friends or acquaintances, you will get better approval rates. The law and ICA only looks at concrete proof. Your social media accounts with lots of pictures engaging with locals has no actual legal standing during the approval process by ICA. You will ideally want to be a part of a sports or cultural group within your university as an international student. By demonstrating active participation in such groups as an international student with concrete proof behind it will help you in getting your Singapore PR status.

Third of all, within these groups, try to take up leadership positions wherever possible. By taking on leadership positions within these social groups in your university, you are going to stand out from the crowd even more. You need not necessary be the President or the Chairman of the group you join – even being a part of the executive committee is a good thing.

Does SG Have Welcoming Culture For New Permanent Residents?

It is no secret that permanent resident PR application in Singapore is very popular because a lot of foreigners want to be a PR here.

However, does our country have a welcoming culture when it comes to immigrants, and especially new ones?

This really largely depends on which group of people you talk to within Singapore, as well as where the immigrants have come from.

The following will not be politically correct as we will be sharing on the ground experiences as much as possible, and as accurately as possible, you have been warned.

Before the early 2000s, foreigners from every part of the world and every socio-economic class were welcomed into Singapore warmly. There was an extremely welcoming culture. (If you are wondering, our country has good law and order which is a big attraction point!) There was little to no negative sentiment at all because the country’s population was still relatively low, and despite the huge influx of immigrants and foreigners into our city, house prices were kept relatively steady still, and growth in new, attractive jobs for existing locals were good. This meant that almost all demographics of the locals had no complaints about any such growth or entry of migrants.

However, there seemed to be some kind of anti-foreigner sentiment in certain parts of our demographics by the mid 2000s, as job growth slowed, and locals had to start competing with the new migrants for the same jobs now. Additionally, house prices were starting to spike and really started to skyrocket.

This competition for jobs between new residents and existing ones reached a fierce level in 2007 and 2008. Additionally, house prices in Singapore were quickly getting extremely unaffordable for most, and clearly overpriced. This is because of many new PR buying up local real estate. There were lots of unhappy sentiments within our nation’s locals. To add onto that, the world experienced the 2008 global financial crisis.

As a result of immense pressure from the existing citizens and permanent residents, the government caved and greatly reduced the amount of new PRs given out yearly by approximately 50%. In other words, the approval criteria for PR application went up drastically. Additionally, the government also rapidly added in housing cooling measures over the next 5 to 7 years or so, in a bid to control the overpriced real estate prices.

During those years between late 2000s and early 2010s, it is true that there was some kind of strong anti foreigner sentiments back then. Because most of the prior influx of people were from China, there was some sort of sentiment against mainland Chinese. As the years went by though, the number or percentage of new permanent residents from China dropped, and this sentiment quickly went away.

In the mid 2010s, the full impact of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, also known as CECA, came into play. While it was signed years before that, it took time to show its impact. During those years, lots of Indian nationals flooded into Singapore. In fact, some said that the Changi Business Hub area has become a little India! Admittedly, there was negative feelings on the ground by locals against these new and huge influx, especially because the jobs that they took up was mostly well paying IT positions.

However, we strongly believe that most of these feelings are going away after the latest GE in 2020.

The government is constantly working towards successful social integration by foreigners, and we believe that they are relatively quick enough to respond to any such opinions. Therefore, as of the point of writing this article, we truly believe that our local culture is relatively welcoming to foreigners!

Are There Any Disadvantages To Just Being A PR In Singapore?

lady thinking

Even though there clearly are a lot of advantages that you will get when you get your Singapore PR application approved, there may still be some downsides to it, depending on what you value most.

First of all, while it can allow you to be eligible to purchase more types of properties than foreigners can buy, there are still some classes or categories of real estate which you may not be eligible to buy as a PR such as that of a first hand HDB or certain types of condominiums. The amount of property taxes you will be required to pay will be significantly less than that of a foreigner already, but still slightly more than that of a full citizen.

Second of all, if you have lots of desire to want to vote during Elections in Singapore, then unfortunately, as a PR, you do not have said voting rights. Only a full citizen above the age of 21 years of age will be allowed to do so.

Third of all, a PR would not be able to make use of the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) which is a scheme that allows people to have subsidies for selected medical appointments or treatments. Nobody really wants to be able to make use of this CHAS – after all, it would mean that you are medically sick if you are required to use it. However, it is a good additional advantage applicable to citizens only.

As you can tell from the above, it really depends on what you hold as more important to you. If the above are non-consideration factors for you, then you really can just stay as a PR, and not need to change to get a full citizenship, as that would be unnecessary trouble, money and time required for you. Additionally, one of the things about Singapore is that there is no dual citizenship legally allowed. This means that if you decide to convert to a citizen, you cannot easily change it. However, a PR gives you a great deal of flexibility still.

Why Singapore Expats Should Be PR As Soon As Possible

SIA

It is now more important than ever before for expats who are already working in Singapore or working at a local company to apply for Singapore PR application, if they want to live in SG for the long term and also have more stability in their career.

Let us raise a local example. With international travel being at an absolute minimum since commercial airlines were invented, the airlines and tourism industry has been decimated in most countries. Even though SG has pretty much reopened locally, it is still far from the case for other countries, and even more so for international travelling. Our national airlines was not spared from this. As a result, it was recently reported in September 2020 that Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be firing approximately 2,400 staff globally, vast majority of whom will be non citizens and PRs.

There were horror stories of pilots’ whole families who were forced to return to their home countries due to the above retrenchments. That is because them losing their job also resulted in them losing their work passes – which is tied to a particular job, and hence unable to stay in SG for long. The LTVP that their immediate family members had will also be voided as it is tied to the main applicant. This usually means a complete disaster as their kids will also need to adapt to a completely new environment – and likely be treated as a foreigner in their own country as most of them grew up in Singapore.

It is increasingly important that if you want to live and work in our country for the long term, then it is absolutely essential that you convert your work pass to a permanent residence in Singapore, so that you can live and work here indefinitely – even if the industry you are working in right now may be negatively impacted. This is because a permanent resident status is not tied to any particular employment – it is tied to you, the individual. Additionally, if you are one, you can apply that for most of your immediate family members too. In the unfortunate event that something untoward like the above ever happens to you, you will have a back up plan. Being a Singapore PR will enable you to be able to still live and stay in the country indefinitely while you look for a new job. In the meantime, you also need not worry about your child’s education as they can still freely continue their schooling here.

Keep in mind that to ensure that your approval chances are at its highest possible, to be thorough with the documents you submit to ICA, including the testimonials from your previous employer, academic qualifications and certifications and more!

Law & Order Is An Attraction Point For New Singapore PRs

SG city

Many people want to apply to be a permanent resident here in SG, and chief among the reasons why many do so is the stability that our nation provides its residents. While there are lots of reasons why many foreigners and expats like living in Singapore, one of the strongest reasons ever is its law and order, and safety from riots and violent protests.

In its most recent research, research firm Gallup has found that 94 percent of the adult population in Singapore feels safe walking alone throughout the country at night, which is the highest in the world. This is as compared to the global average of only 68 percent.

In fact, our country has consistently ranked the top in the world as being one of the safest places ever to live in – both for a country and a city. Most of the immigrants are from cities or countries where there is significantly more crime or instability. They are attracted to law and order in our country.

There is no surprise there – the local Singapore government has always emphasized on safety and security of everyone in the nation through the police force. While some critics have mentioned that this strong law enforcement is too much in certain areas and aspects of life here, on the whole, it is seen as a boon.

Increasingly more people are moving to our country rapidly, especially from countries with constant riots or potential political instability and great changes such as Hong Kong and more. Having a permanent residence application approved here gives them a back up plan in case anything were to happen. Additionally, having a PR status in our nation will also enable migrants to be able to benefit from certain local benefits in terms of lower taxes and more. It is thus also a hotspot for investors.

There is no perfect country to live in in the world. But if law and order ranks high on your personal preference list, then maybe you should consider making Singapore your next home! Singapore is a good place to settle down in!

Residents Enter Singapore Without Using Passports From 2022

airport

One of the many reasons why many foreigners like to become a SG permanent resident is because Singapore constantly improves and seeks to improve as a nation.

It was just recently announced that all of Singapore’s immigration gates and processing time at checkpoints and the airport terminals are expected to get a lot more high tech and cool in just a few years from now.

In just a few years from now, all immigration checkpoints are expected to be contactless for locals – meaning Singaporean citizens and Singapore permanent residents. This means you need not even take your passport out from your bag or wallet to cross the gates. The machine will scan your face and iris to verify your identity and you will then be able to pass through successfully once verified. Sounds kind of like a James Bond movie to you? Because it sure does to us!

It is also supposedly more secure in terms of verification – an iris scan is able to access almost 250 feature points while a fingerprint only has approximately 100.

Of course, you would be advised not to wear any headgear which may be blocking your face or iris.

ICA estimates that approximately 70% of citizens and PR aged six or older already have this available for them. If you have young children below six, they can only be eligible for this contactless method after the age of six, as their features change rapidly below those ages.

Although this technology is not exactly groundbreaking, it has only recently been rolled out on a small scale in Singapore, at Changi Airport Terminal 4 late in 2019. While plans to roll this out to all checkpoints has been underway since some time ago, it was expedited partly due to the COVID situation as well, though thankfully our nation has been recovering relatively quickly from it. Not only is this contactless technology to be able to be used at immigrations checkpoints going to save time, hassles and manpower, it is also going to be more hygienic.

Currently, the best that we have is biometrics passport for citizens and Singapore PR, though that still requires fingerprint verification. This can be a problem if thumb had a bad burn or a big cut. Additionally, it is also less hygienic – considering how many people would touch that fingerprint verification touch panel on a daily basis.

This passport-free concept at checkpoints will be implemented in a progressive manner from 2022 to 2024.

DSP Tiang had also added that nothing much had been changed to the plans to do this in the first place – it is just expedited due to the COVID pandemic. This is partly because human traffic is significantly lower than normal at Singapore Changi Airport right now, and executing this plan would be easier due to less need to account for keeping the crowd and lines smooth going still.

What if you are a local but have not yet enrolled your iris and facial biometrics by then? No worries – there is a backup fingerprint method still.