Singapore Permanent Residency (PR)

Title : Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)

Article content :

Singapore, one of Asia’s most stable and developed countries and a key financial hub, has convinced thousands of foreigners of diverse backgrounds to set up home in the island-state through a variety of schemes.

The applicant himself plus the spouse and unmarried children under 21, i.e. the whole family can apply for the Permanent Residence (PR) application. The number of PRs in Singapore as of June 2013 is estimated to be about 530,000 from a population of about 5.3 million people, and the numbers are increasing (accurate for 2013).

 

Key points

  • A Singapore PR application takes approximately 6-12 months to process and is intended for those under 50 years old who had been living and working in Singapore for at least six months.
  • Preference is given to those who can contribute to Singapore’s society and economy in terms of work experience, qualifications, professional skills and income potential.
  • Blue Card : The identity document given to one once one has received one’s permanent residence status.

 

Singapore PR Benefits

  • The main advantage of the PR status is the entitlement to stay in Singapore without visa restrictions. One has the right to live in Singapore and one can leave and enter the country as one wishes.
  • Opens the door to Singapore citizenship, should one wish to acquire Singapore nationality at some time in the future. It may take a few years before one can apply for citizenship, but it is the only path to obtaining a Singapore passport, apart from being born to a citizen.
  • As a permanent resident (PR) of Singapore, one is free to live, work and buy property in the country and be a part of Singapore society.
  • Priority entry, behind citizens, to Singapore’s public education system for one’s children.
  • Singapore PRs who have jobs are also obliged to join the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme, a monthly contribution to a compulsory pension scheme is required to be made by the employer. Moreover, by deducting the contribution from one’s salary, one is able to enjoy a form of tax relief. Other benefits of the PR scheme :
    • Health care,
    • Home-ownership : Easier to borrow various loans such as a housing loan if one wants to buy property.
    • Family protection and
    • Growing one’s assets
  • One need not acquire new working visas every time one change one’s job. Employment pass holders must cancel their working visas if they want to change jobs, which involves inherent risks such as having your new EP application rejected or delayed, forcing you to leave Singapore. Permanent residence removes those risks and hassles.
  • A Singapore PR status grants the foreign parents of the status holder the eligibility to receive long-stay visas, in addition to the eligibility of a similar PR status to the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the status holder.

 

Singapore PR obligations

  • Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore citizens and permanent residents are liable to register for national service upon reaching 16½ years old. They must serve two years when they turn 18. This is followed by 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service every year until they turn 50, for officers, and 40 for other ranks.
  • When buying property, permanent residents are only allowed to buy second-hand units of government Housing and Development Board flats while only citizens can purchase new ones.

The current steady growth in the PR population has made it evident that the advantages overweigh the disadvantages.

 

Singapore PR Scheme for Individuals Working in Singapore

  • The PTS scheme, i.e. the Professional/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme, for foreign professionals who are working in Singapore, is the easiest and most assured route to attaining PR in Singapore.
  • At the time of applying for permanent residence, one must be working in Singapore. It implies that one must first relocate to Singapore on a work visa of the type known as Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass.
  • One must have worked in the country for at least six months before applying which must be made evident by showing a minimum of six months’ worth of salary pay slips.
  • One should be under 50 years old, although exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.
  • Under the PTS scheme, one is allowed to include the spouse and unmarried children below 21 years old in the application.
  • Singapore PR application process
    • Step 1 : Deciding when to apply for PR
      • The timing for the filing of the application will depend on the type of employment pass one is holding and the unofficial annual quota set by the government, in addition to the to the application requirement of providing six months’ salary slips from one’s Singapore employer.
    • Step 2 : Giving the chances of approval a thought
      • The following factors are taken in consideration by the authorities when reviewing a PR application :
        • Education background : Singapore authorities give a lot of weight to the degree and the institute where one has graduated from.
        • Physical stay in Singapore : The longer the physical stay in Singapore, the more the authorities will be convinced of one’s plan to reside in Singapore permanently.
        • Employment background and the stability of your job : one must make sure to be in good terms with one’s employer at the time of submitting your PR application since the application form contains a section that is to be completed by the employer.
        • Credentials of one’s employer : The more established the company, the better it is for the approval of the PR application.
        • Salary and financial well being
        • One’s character : An important part of the criterion is whether or not one is a law abiding citizen.
        • Family ties in Singapore : Having family ties is considered a positive factor.
        • Charitable contributions to society such as volunteering, donations, etc.
      • The sole purpose of the government while reviewing one’s application is to make sure that, once granted a PR status, one is going to be an asset to the country rather than a burden.
    • Step 3 : Deciding on PR filing for one’s children
      • The only factor to keep in mind is that as per Singapore laws, the main applicant who is granted Singapore PR under the first generation PTS scheme is exempted from the compulsory military service. However, all healthy male children that are granted PR status through their parents, must register for national military service when they reach the age of 16½ years old. They will be required to serve 2 years of full-time National Service followed by 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service per year until the age of 50 (for officers) or 40 years old (for other ranks).
    • Step 4 : Downloading document and reviewing filing requirements
      • After establishing eligibility, one should download the necessary forms online. The forms titled Form 4A and Accompanying Notes to Form 4A listed under PTS scheme must be specifically downloaded.
      • Form 4A It consists of two parts :
        • PR Application Form : It is the part which the applicants is required to complete themselves. It includes the details of oneself and one’s family, covering basic information as well as educational and professional history.
        • Annex A : It is the part that must be filled by the employer wherein she/he must explain the nature of their business and confirm the applicant’s employment and salary details.
        • Note : The employer is not considered to be sponsoring one’s application.
      • Accompanying Notes to Form 4A : It contains explanatory notes on Form 4A, hence, it must be read thoroughly and following the instructions the necessary supporting documents must be prepared.
    • Step 5 : Making a PR appointment and preparing supporting documents
      • The appointment for the PR interview can be made at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Depending on the time of the year, there may be a 5-6 month wait between the time one makes the appointment and the actual interview date.
      • The following helpful guidelines must be taken into account in addition to the list of supporting documents required in the form EP4 :
        • Make a copy for each supporting document and keep the original handy as well. At the time of submitting the PR application at the ICA office, one will be required to show the originals for verification. The originals will be returned immediately after sighting and the copies will be retained by the ICA officer.
        • If any document is not in English, an official English translation of the document must be produced. The safest approach is to get it translated and stamped through one’s embassy. Make sure to take originals and copies of both non-English and English translated versions of the document on your visit to the ICA office.
        • Previous employment appointment letters, performance evaluation reports, recommendation letters are useful.
        • If one has purchased a property in Singapore, the documents that provide the necessary proof must be included. This will be considered a positive factor both in terms of one’s financial position as well as one’s longer-term intention of staying in Singapore.
        • Make sure to also attach the most recent copy of one’s C.V./Resume.
        • It is also a good idea to prepare a cover letter wherein one can articulate one’s love for Singapore, the financial and family stability, brief description of the decision to become Singapore PR, and a list of the supporting documents attached with the application.
      • Step 6 : Completing the PR application form
        • One’s education and employment history must be written down in chronological order.
        • One need not list educational details prior to high school in the educational qualifications section. Only the high school diploma and everything higher must be listed out.
        • A degree or diploma education that one has completed but of which an appropriate certificate can not be produced must not be listed, since it might create unnecessary delays where authorities might send a letter saying the need to produce the necessary document for verification purpose in order to further process of one’s application.
        • Even if one is not applying for PR for any of your family members i.e. spouse or children, their details would still need to be completed in the same PR application form. For each of the family members, there is a field where it will be required to indicate whether or not one is applying for PR for the family member.
        • Completion of the Annex A i.e. the last page of the PR application form titled “Annex A to Form 4A (Application for Permanent Residence)” must be done by the employer to ensure that the information provided is accurate and valid and it does not imply Company’s Sponsorship.
      • Step 7 : Submitting the PR application
        • The following must be ensured before the interview:
          • Completed the PR application form;
          • Received the completed Annex A back from your employer;
          • Prepared the supporting documents;
          • Made an appointment with the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) for the PR interview;
          • Ensure that all the forms and documents are up-to-date as of the date of the interview.
        • The application along with the supporting documents must be submitted in person.
        • During the interview, the officer will check the application for completeness and double-check that all the necessary supporting documents have been submitted. The officer will also verify the copies against the originals of all the supporting documents.
        • After the interview, it must be made sure to double-check that all the original documents are back in one’s possession.
      • Step 8 : Waiting for approval or rejection
        • It can take approximately 6-12 months before one receives a letter from ICA notifying the outcome of the PR application.
        • Additionally, the processing time may be longer or faster and varies quite extensively solely at the discretion of the ICA.
        • 6 months prior to the interview, if one does not receive the letter, a call can be made to the ICA and they will inform the applicant of the current status of one’s PR application.
        • In case the application has neither been approved or rejected, it will be deemed as “under processing”.
      • Step 8 : Upon receiving the result
        • Upon approval
          • One will be required to make a visit to the ICA office within 2 months of receiving the approval letter to complete the formalities.
          • An appointment will need to be made to visit the same office i.e. 5th floor of ICA building to complete the PR formalities for which one can access ICA’s website to make this appointment electronically.
          • The officer will collect all the documents and finish the necessary formalities (signing, fingerprinting, etc.). The approval letter will specify the list of documents to be submitted, and hence must read carefully before making the trip.
          • The following documents would be required:
            • The approval letter
            • Travel documents for oneself and one’s family (if they were included in the PR application)
            • 2 recent colour passport-size photos for oneself and one’s family (if they were included)
            • The Employment Pass and the family’s Dependant Passes.
            • Results of the medical check-up which oneself (and one’s family) will be required to do, as specified in the approval letter. Typically, this will involve an HIV blood test and chest x-ray. The approval letter will provide a format for the medical report, which should not be issued more than 3 months before the time of submission to ICA.
            • Form EP 152, which needs to be completed and signed by the employer. The purpose of the EP 152 is to confirm that one is still working in the same company as declared in the application form.
            • Money for the identity card registration, re-entry permit and entry permit. The specific amounts would be specified in the approval letter.
          • The date of collection of the identity card (commonly known as National Registration Identity Card, or “NRIC”) will be advised by the officer. An appointment will be required to be made to collect the same.
          • The following items must be in one’s possession at the end of all the formalities :
            • NRIC for oneself (and one’s family). This is the card that will often be required to produce (e.g. when applying for mobile phone, bank account, etc.) in Singapore as a proof that one is a Singapore PR holder.
            • Note : Children don’t get an NRIC until they turn 15.
            • Each PR applicant will get a PR certificate, mostly for safekeeping which will not be required anywhere.
            • Each PR applicant will get a re-entry permit stamp in the passport. The re-entry permit enables one to get in and out of Singapore visa free. The re-entry permit is typically issued for five years at a time and is renewable thereafter. Upon planning to leave Singapore, it must be made sure that the re-entry permit is valid until one’s return.
          • Upon the completion of the above mentioned PR formalities, one becomes a full-fledged Singapore permanent resident and is eligible to enjoy the following benefits available to full citizens :
            • The freedom to live and work in Singapore without visa restrictions,
            • Priority government schooling for one’s children and
            • Compulsory participation in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Scheme, which grows on one’s pension fund.
          • The following must be done upon completion of the PR formalities :
            • The applicant’s employer must be informed of her/his new PR status. The employer will require a copy of the NRIC to update HR records and will also need to start making contributions to the applicant’s CPF fund.
            • The banks must also be informed so they can update the applicant’s bank account personal details.
          • Upon rejection
            • There are no restrictions on how many times one can apply for Singapore PR. However, practically, one should wait at least 6 months before re-submitting the PR application since the rejection implies that it is unlikely that your re-application will be approved unless there is a notable change in your circumstances (e.g. higher salary, obtaining new qualifications, etc.). Hence, it would be wasted effort to re-apply without such significant changes that would improve and strengthen the application considerably.

 

Singapore PR Scheme for Investors

  • Key points
    • The Global Investor Programme (GIP Scheme) is often referred to as the Investor Scheme and requires one to invest at least 2.5 million Singapore dollars.
    • The requirements include high capital investment and the applicant’s prior business turnover.
    • The GIP Scheme is the shortest route to acquiring PR status provided one has sufficient funds to spare.
    • Factors which appeal to the foreign investors to relocate to Singapore :
      • business-friendly policies,
      • relatively low taxes,
      • modern infrastructure,
      • safety and clean environment
    • Investments options under the GIM Scheme
      • At present, under the Investor Scheme, one can choose either of the following investment options:
        • Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a new business startup or expansion of an existing business operation.
        • Option B: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
      • In addition to the above, one will require to prove one’s entrepreneurial flair to the authorities by showing a good track record and furnishing a credible business proposal or investment plan.
    • Eligibility criterion
      • The following are required to be assured in order to qualify for the GIP Scheme :
        • Funds must be incorporated and based in Singapore.
        • Fund management companies must be incorporated and based in Singapore. They must also obtain the Capital Markets Services license or Registered Fund Management Companies status from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for their proposed activities.
        • In addition, fund management companies and their key managers must demonstrate a good track record of private equity and/or venture capital fund management experience as well as the funds’ performance.
        • Fund management companies who are interested to start a GIP Fund must attend one of the compulsory briefing sessions (to inform interested fund managers on the requirements) prior to their application.
        • Meet the minimum investment requirement of Singapore $2.5 million under one of the investment options specified below.
          • Possess at least three years of business or entrepreneurial track record;
          • Ensure that the existing business meets the following turnover requirements:
            • For companies in the real estate or construction-related industries: A minimum of Singapore $200 million in the most recent year and at least Singapore $200 million per annum on average for the preceding three years.
            • For companies in other business sectors: A minimum of Singapore $50 million in the most recent year and at least Singapore $50 million per annum on average for the last three years.
          • Have at least 30% shareholding in the company if it is privately owned;
          • Submit audited financial statements of your company for the last three years;
        • In case of one is in possession of more than one business, the financial statements of the company with the highest turnover must be submitted.
        • One is allowed to consolidate the business in order to meet the minimum annual turnover criteria. The following factors will also be taken into account by the authorities :
          • One’s role and position in the company, and
          • The profitability of one’s company
        • Key requirements A GIP must :
          • Have a minimum fund size of Singapore $30 million and a maximum fund size of Singapore $150 million.
          • Have at least 3 Board Members, of whom at least 2 are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents.
          • Have at least 3 Investment Committee Members, of whom at least 2 members are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents, in service full-time and possess at least 5 years of relevant experience in the private equity and/or venture capital fund management.
          • Ensure that at least 1 member of its Board is not an Investment Committee member.
          • Raise capital from GIP applicants from at least 2 or more countries, with minimum 15% of GIP applicants coming from one or more secondary markets.
          • Invest at least 50% of its total funds raised in Singapore-based companies in sectors promoted by EDB and/or other economic agencies. Singapore-based companies refer to companies which are incorporated in Singapore and carry out its core activities in Singapore.
          • Not invest in companies whose securities are listed on any securities exchange in any jurisdiction.
          • Deploy at least 70% of its committed capital for private equity investments by the 5th year of its approval.
          • Both the GIP fund and fund manager must submit annual audited financial statements, declarations and quarterly investment reports to Contact Singapore or as requested otherwise. The audit should be conducted by an internationally reputable accounting firm. All related audit fees would be borne by the fund/fund manager.
        • Approved business sectors for GIP Scheme Under the GIP scheme, one can choose to invest in any of the following business sectors :
          • Aerospace Engineering
          • Alternative Energy/ Clean Energy
          • Automotive
          • Chemicals
          • Consumer Business
          • Electronics
          • Energy
          • Engineering Services
          • Healthcare
          • Infocomm Products & Services
          • Logistics & Supply Chain Management
          • Marine & Offshore Engineering
          • Media & Entertainment
          • Medical Technology
          • Nanotechnology
          • Natural Resources
          • Safety & Security
          • Space
          • Shipping
          • Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
          • Precision Engineering
          • Professional Services
          • Arts Businesses
          • Sports Businesses
          • Financial Services
        • Investment criteria for “Option A” applicants
          • Minimum investment requirement of S$2.5 million in a new business start-up or expansion of an existing business operation.
          • One must submit a three-year business/investment plan with employment and annual financial projections.
          • Note : One must meet the employment and financial milestones that one have set in the business/investment plan at the end of a three-year period.
        • Investment criteria for “Option B” applicants
          • Minimum investment requirement of S$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
        • Application process
          • Interested funds will be required to undergo an independent fund rating exercise as well as a review by an independent panel as part of the comprehensive evaluation and selection process.
          • Funds which are approved will be issued a Letter of Offer with stipulated terms and conditions. Approved funds are expected to be listed on the Contact Singapore website with its summary rating report.
          • Approved funds will also be required to undergo ongoing surveillance rating to reaffirm its rating and ensure compliance for the next 2 years after its initial approval.
          • A non-refundable application fee is payable at the point of application and at the initiation of the surveillance rating.
          • It will take 6-8 months to process the application.
          • While processing the application, the relevant authority will schedule an interview.
          • Upon approval
            • One will be issued an Approval-in-Principle PR which is valid for 6 months during which one will be required to make the investment.
            • Documentary evidence of the investment such as share certificates and title deeds will need to be submitted to and withheld by the authority for 5 years.
            • The final PR status will be conferred once these documents have been received by the authority.
          • Documents required for PR application under the GIP Scheme
            • Form A: Application for Permanent Residence for Investors
            • Form B: Proposed Investment Plan
            • Undertaking on the Terms & Conditions of the programme
            • Form 4: Application for An Entry Permit to Enter Singapore

Note : Officially endorsed translated versions must be provided for any non-English documents

  • Permanent residence for family One can apply for permanent residence for one’s family members under the GIP Scheme as per the following guidelines :
    • The applicant’s spouse and children 21 years and under are eligible to apply for PR under the PR application. Male dependents will be liable for National Service.
    • The applicant’s children who are over 21 years as well as the parents are eligible to apply for the 5-year Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP), which is renewable and tied to the validity of your re-entry permit.

 

Singapore PR Scheme for Foreign Artistic Talent

  • One can apply for permanent residence through Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme if she/he is talented in any arts, photography, dance, music, theatre, literature or film.
  • The following are required to qualify for the scheme :
    • One must be a well-recognized artist in one’s own country, preferably with an international reputation,
    • One must possess the relevant training in one’s field of practice.
    • One must also have made significant contributions to Singapore’s arts and cultural scene, including a strong track record of local engagements at leadership level,
    • One must also have concrete plans to be involved in the Singapore arts and cultural sector.