A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for Permanent Residence in Singapore

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Singapore has consistently been ranked as one of the top countries in the world in terms of living standards.

Healthcare, crime rates, educational institutions, infrastructure, housing quality, business opportunities, and unemployment rates are all tangibles. Or intangibles like racial harmony, a multi-cultural and multi-national society, and access to some of Asia’s best tourist attractions. Singapore simply stands out!

The city-state has rightfully been dubbed Asia’s business capital and the continent’s best place to live, work, and play.

As a result, obtaining permanent resident (PR) status in Singapore, which may serve as an intermediary step toward Singapore citizenship, makes sense. Even more so when this PR status comes with Central Provident Fund benefits as well as a variety of personal tax breaks and subsidies.

PRs in Singapore, like citizens, have access to public housing, quality education, and healthcare services at heavily subsidized rates.

Singapore PR Application

What are the Different Schemes for Singapore Permanent Residence?

A foreign national can become a permanent resident of Singapore in three ways:

  • Scheme for Professionals, Technical Personnel, and Skilled Workers (PTS scheme)
  • Scheme of the Global Investor Program (GIP Scheme)
  • Scheme for Foreign Artists (For Arts)

Singapore PR Eligibility Criteria

Foreigners in the following categories may apply for permanent residence in Singapore under the PTS Scheme and GIP Scheme:

  • PR-aged parents of a citizen employment pass holder and S pass holders (includes personalized employment pass and entrepreneur pass)
  • Spouse and unmarried children (under 21) of a Singapore citizen
  • Investors or entrepreneurs who meet the GIP eligibility criteria

Time it takes to process a PR application in Singapore

According to the ICA, the “normal processing time for a PR application is four to six months, although some applications may take longer to process.”

The two main schemes for obtaining Singapore permanent residency are described below.

  1. Professional, Technical, and Skilled Personnel Scheme (PTS)

Among holders of the city-employment state’s pass, S pass, entrepreneur pass, or personalized employment pass, this is the most preferred and popular scheme for becoming a Singapore PR. According to estimates, more than 95% of professionals obtain their PR status through this scheme.

Notably, an applicant’s spouse and children under the age of 21 may also apply for Singapore PR status alongside the applicant. Male dependents, on the other hand, will be required to serve in Singapore National Service once granted permanent residency.

  1. National Service Liability

“Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore citizens and PRs, unless exempted, are liable to register for National Service,” according to the ICA (NS). Following full-time NS, they will be required to serve up to 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) per year for the duration of their ORNS training cycle until the age of 50 (for officers) or 40 (for other ranks).”

As a result, while applicants who become Singapore PR are exempt from NS, their male children who are granted PR status through the applicant’s sponsorship are subject to NS under the Enlistment Act. Singapore authorities are also very strict against NS-liable PRs who attempt to avoid their NS liability.

Renouncing or losing one’s PR status without serving or completing full-time NS would have a negative impact on any current or future applications to work or study in Singapore, as well as applications for Singapore citizenship or PR status. Males granted Singapore PR who were previously Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents are likely to be called up for NS regardless of the type of PR status they have been granted, according to the ICA.

Tips for submitting a successful PTS PR application

To begin with, applicants with relevant skills, educational qualifications, and professional and financial backgrounds are important in obtaining a Singapore PR.

What generally works well is:

  • if the applicant is from a niche industry that requires personnel with specialized skill-sets to function if the applicant’s skill-set complements rather than competes with the local workforce
  • if the applicant is under the age of 50, and if the applicant obtained his or her credentials from reputable institutions
  • if the applicant has family ties in Singapore; if the applicant does volunteer work and contributes to his neighborhood and the local community in general; and if the applicant has worked in Singapore for at least 12 months before applying for Singapore permanent residency.

Aside from all the marketing gimmicks and false claims, keep in mind that there is no magic formula for obtaining Singapore PR. Singapore, unlike Australia and New Zealand, does not use a point system to evaluate PR applications.

However, SCI can assist you in putting your best foot forward and greatly increasing your chances of convincing the authorities of your value to Singapore.

Global Investor Program scheme (GIP scheme)

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Manpower launched the Global Investor Program (MOM). It is a program for individuals and entrepreneurs who want to invest in or start new businesses in Singapore and obtain permanent residency in the process. Spouses and children of investors are also eligible for permanent residency in Singapore.

PRs obtained through the GIP have the same NS liabilities as those obtained through the PTS scheme.

In Singapore, you must be eligible to apply for a GIP.

  • An investor may submit a GIP application if and only if the following conditions are met:
  • He has a significant business track record as well as a successful entrepreneurial background.

If the eligibility criteria are met, the applicant may select one of two GIP investment options:

Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in establishing a new business or expanding an existing business in Singapore.

If the applicant chooses this option, he or she must also submit a detailed five-year business or investment plan with projected employment and annual financial projections. Importantly, the applicant must meet the milestones outlined in the business or investment plan within five years of the investment date.

Furthermore, the applicant’s entity must be involved in one of the following industries:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Alternative Energy/ Clean Technology
  • 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 – Visual arts businesses/ Performing arts businesses
  • Sports Businesses
  • Family Office & Financial Services

Option B: Put at least S$2.5 million into a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based businesses.

Criteria for evaluating a GIP application in Singapore: Once the applicant has chosen one of the two options listed above and submitted the GIP application, the authorities will evaluate the application based on the four criteria listed below:

  • Applicant must have at least three years of entrepreneurial and business track record, as well as three years of audited financial statements for his or her company.
  • The applicant’s company must have a turnover of at least S$200 million in the year preceding the application, and a turnover of at least S$200 million per annum on average for the three years preceding the application.
  • The applicant must submit the financial statements for the company with the highest turnover. To meet the minimum turnover criteria, he or she may also consolidate the businesses, which must all be engaged in one or more of the approved industries.
  • If the applicant’s company is privately held, he or she should own at least 30% of the company. The applicant’s role in the company, as well as the company’s growth and profitability, are all taken into account.

Validity of a Re-entry Permit issued in response to an approved GIP application

Following the approval of his PR status, a successful GIP applicant is issued a Re-Entry Permit (REP) for five years. This allows the applicant to keep his or her PR status while traveling in and out of Singapore. However, after the first five years, the REP renewal, for either three or five years, is subject to the following conditions:

3-year renewal: GIP candidate must have fulfilled the investment conditions under either Option A or Option B of the GIP, and either have established a business in Singapore with at least five Singaporean employees and incurred at least S$2 million in total business spending per year.

Alternatively, either the GIP candidate or at least one dependent who is also a PR under GIP must complete the minimum residency period (at least 2.5 years).

5-year renewal: GIP candidate must have fulfilled the investment conditions under either Option A or Option B of the GIP; and have established a business in Singapore with at least five Singaporean employees and incurred at least S$2 million in total business spending per year, and Candidate and dependents who are also PR under GIP must have resided in Singapore for at least 2.5 years.

Obtaining Permanent Residency in Singapore: PTS vs. GIP

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Gone are the days when obtaining a PR in Singapore was simple. Currently, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) is only looking for people who want to live in the city-state. This has resulted in a significant drop in the percentage of PR applications approved in recent years.

While no one can guarantee permanent residency in Singapore, SCI’s professional team, which is well versed in making PR applications and appealing if these applications are rejected, can help you put your best foot forward.

Remember that PTS is the quickest and most preferred method of obtaining Singapore PR.

Permanent residency is more or less guaranteed under GIP, but the scheme is only available to the super-rich, who can spend more than S$2 million in Singapore each year.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article.

The PR application process in Singapore is akin to winning the lottery. While some applicants believe that hiring a public relations firm to help with their application will improve their chances, the truth is that we can’t.

The good news is that if you carefully study the PR statistics, you will understand the likelihood of success. As a result, the best course of action is for you to submit a simple online application. We wish you the best of luck!

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