Singapore, with its global repute as a city-state strong in political and economic stability, has often been seen as an ideal choice for immigration in the region. For many, the quality of life itself is a push factor to reside there. For others, their eventual goal of becoming a permanent resident or citizen sees other benefits, including a multicultural society, attractive taxation, and having travel freedom from the strong passport – often ranked as the world’s top three.
As a relatively young independent nation with few natural resources, Singapore has been dependent on skilled human resources to draw investment and power its economy. But because of low birth rates, the nation has tended towards liberal-leaning immigration policies to maintain its talent pool. According to the Population in Brief report for 2022, the Permanent Resident (PR) population increased by 6.3% from 0.49 million in June 2021 to 0.52 million in June 2022, returning close to pre-COVID levels.
For those looking forward to making Singapore their home, here are the ways to do so.
With Singapore’s focus on human resources, it’s natural that having an extended work presence in the country makes for the most popular way to secure an immigration opportunity. The Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme (PTS Scheme) is the option that allows those who work in Singapore to move on to obtain a Permanent Resident pass and subsequently citizenship.
The passes under this scheme include the Employment Pass (EP), S Pass, Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) or Entrepass. Here are some things to note on each pass:
- Employment Pass (EP): For foreign professionals with a good university degree, professional qualifications, applicable work experience or specialised skills, and a job offer with a minimum earning of $5,000 a month.
- Personalized Employment Pass (PEP): For high-income Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals earning $18,000 per month.
- S Pass: For mid-level technical-skilled staff with a degree or diploma with proof of minimum 1 year full-time study, and a job offer with a minimum of $3,000.
- Entrepass: For entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in Singapore with a proposal that is entrepreneurial and innovative in nature, with local job creation opportunities.
With any of these passes, individuals can then apply for PR after six months of working in Singapore. While approval is not guaranteed, a track record of positive contributions to Singapore’s society or economy always reflects well. Some of these considerations include one’s employment history and performance, educational background, financial background, community involvement and family ties.
Something worth noting is that in March 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) added a Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) that will come into effect in September 2023 for work pass applicants. While this points-based assessment system seems to add another challenge to applicants, it will most likely aid cross-agency verification for would-be immigrants.
After two years of holding a Permanent Residency, candidates can then apply for a Singapore citizenship.
Those working in Singapore with the above valid employment passes are allowed to bring their dependents with them through the organisation that applied for the associated work permit.
This dependant pass is applicable to the legally-married spouse or any unmarried children under 21 years of age. With this pass, the member can apply for PR and citizenship in tandem with the sponsor.
There are two alternative schemes in which Singapore has designed to welcome contributions; the first for investors and the second for artists. They are the Global Investor Program scheme (GIP Scheme) and the Foreign Artistic Talent scheme (ForArts).
- Global Immigration Programme (GIP) scheme: Headed by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the scheme is granted to entrepreneurs and business owners who are interested in relocating and investing to Singapore. There are two options here: Either to invest at least $2.5 million in a new business startup or expansion of an existing business operation, or to do the same in a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
- Foreign Artistic Talent scheme: Headed by the Singapore National Arts Council, the scheme was introduced to attract foreign seasoned artists to help advance the local arts community in the country. A scheme that’s less about tangible contribution, the requirements include the foreign artist to have relevant training or education in the field of practice, with relevant professional experience or achievements and has contributed to Singapore’s arts and cultural scene.
As one can tell from above, Singapore’s reliance on human resources is a great entry point for those seeking to immigrate to the island state. With relatively short requirement periods and an efficient process, achieving a PR and Singapore citizenship is very attainable. Just prepare your applications with all the necessary documents and strong supporting evidence to avoid unnecessary delays or consult an immigration firm to help facilitate that citizenship dream.
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