Frequently Asked Questions
Being a permanent resident in Singapore means that you and your family can live, work, and buy property in the country. You will be treated as a part of the local community, eligible to various benefits such as travelling in and out of the country without restrictions. Your school-going children will also have priority access to Singapore’s esteemed public education system. At work, your employer will be required to make monthly contributions to a compulsory pension scheme in your behalf. You will no longer have to acquire a new work visa every time you transfer jobs.
While being a Singapore PR gives you plenty of benefits and rights, the government will also have the power to enforce certain responsibilities upon you. One of which is military service, something that your sons (if they are also PR’s) are required to partake of once they reach the age of 18.
In order to be eligible for application of PR, you must fall under one of the following categories:
Holders of S Pass, Employment Pass or Personalized Employment Pass
Spouse of a Singapore citizen or PR
Unmarried children of a Singapore citizen or PR
Aged parents of a Singapore citizen
There is no 100% guarantee that your PR application will be accepted. If there are other firms promising you that, you can be sure that they are employing false marketing tactics. We are unable to provide you the current statistics as most applicants have not received their replies yet. However, for 2014, our approval rate was about 85 – 90%. The reason for our high rates is that we choose our clients. If we believe you are not eligible to begin with, we will not be taking your case.
Yes, but you will need to apply for a Re-Entry Permit. This permit will be valid for five years. We usually advise our clients that for the first 3 years, they can do whatever they wish; but for the last 2 years, it would be best to stay and work in Singapore so that they can pay income tax and show the government their contribution. If you have no choice and are sent out of Singapore for work by your company, the ICA might ask you to explain your situation when it is time for your renewal.
We had only seen renewals get rejected when the client did not stay in Singapore for a significant amount of time after being granted PR status. The government approves applications because they believe in the individual’s long-term commitment to the country, which is why it is called “permanent residence.” But if you are always staying in Singapore and fulfilling your contributions, then it is highly unlikely that you will get rejected.
Before 2009, PR was easily granted. Many people took advantage of this opportunity, using PR as a way to make money. They bought houses for investments, treating Singapore as a holiday home. In fact, some never bothered to return, work, or contribute to the country. This situation also caused overpopulation. So to counter these issues, the government became stricter with the whole process. They became more selective, only granting Singapore PR to those who are truly worthy.
We cannot determine the exact reason for the rejection of your PR application as the ICA never specifies it. However, we can teach you about the factors that influence a Singapore PR application.
Offhand, it may seem like your case is exactly the same as your friend’s. However, there are surely big differences between your backgrounds. There are no two entirely identical cases. The ICA usually looks at your application as whole but also checks every detail.
We do not give a 100% guarantee that your PR application will be approved. However, rest assured that we will help you to put your best case forward. After that, we will no longer have control over the ICA’s verdict.
Usually, we advise clients to make a copy of their submitted documents. Should they get rejected, we can go through the documents once more and identify areas through which they can upgrade their profile. If they get approved, we still recommend keeping all of their copies, as they will be able to use it when applying for Singapore citizenship in the future.
The ICA considers the fact that some employers are unwilling to provide the Annex A document as their employees might leave them after being granted their PR. Try to convince your company, as it may increase your chances. However, don’t worry if they really don’t want to provide you with the document. The purpose of showing the Annex A is to prove that you are part of the company, which you can also do through other documents like pay slips and such.
How can we push the e-Appointment forward? How can we get an earlier date to submit the PR application?
We have a system that tracks changes in the appointments of other applicants, allowing us to find a slot for you. You can provide us with your ideal period for attending the ICA appointment, and we will do our very best to get you a slot. However, we cannot promise specific dates, especially those that fall on a Saturday. It still depends on the availability of appointments.
If you lose any of your compulsory documents, you will have to provide a declaration letter to explain your situation. We offer the service of drafting such letters.
For your cover letter, our professional writer will call you and conduct a casual interview. We will need to understand your background better before writing. Once the first draft is completed, we will send you a copy for vetting and amend accordingly.
If the ICA asks for a cover letter, everybody will be sending cover letters that have no real value. The same goes for the additional documents – applicants will just be clamoring to find as much paperwork as they can to support their case. The ICA does not require these things because it will take them a longer time to process everything. However, if you submit a cover letter and additional documents that are well planned out, each one contributing to your unique case, then your application will stand out.
A lot of applicants make the mistake of submitting documents that do not have any relevance to their case. For instance, submitting your driving license does not help at all as it is such a common practice. Our experience with PR application allows us to identify which additional documents can help increase your chances of getting approved.
We have to consider that ICA officials go through thousands of applications on a daily basis. Still, rest assured that your documents will be reviewed in a fair manner. This is especially true if your documents are neat and orderly.
There are three basic types of companies providing PR application services:
They usually provide services that you are fully capable of doing yourself. They help you fill up your Form 4A and tell you the compulsory documents to provide. These are things you can easily learn online. You get no real value from their support. Why pay for something that you can do by yourself?
Consultancies often work the same way as law firms do. They possess the expertise to process your PR application and provide added value in the form of practical advice. Immigration Solutions is the only local consultancy that specializes solely in acquiring Singapore PR and Singapore Citizenship. We possess a significant amount of knowledge and experience that can help you greatly.
Law and Accounting firms
Law and accounting firms usually charge more than $5000. Their clients consist mostly of corporate entities. However, immigration is not their main business.
The quota is confidential and adjusted periodically. The government only releases statistics on past quotas. For example, in the year 2010, the number of approved PR applications was 29,265.
You might encounter an ICA officer saying that they don’t need your additional documents, not because they are unimportant, but because they don’t want extra paperwork to process. With our guidance, you can make sure that the officer in charge will accept all your documents.
There are many benefits to being a PR, one of which is the affordable housing due to the lower stamp duty. A PR pays half the stamp duty compared to that of a foreigner, while a Citizen pays less than half of what a PR pays. Naturally, a PR would be able to buy a HDB flat after three years, supposing the income does not exceed a certain amount.
Another great perk is job stability. Employers generally prefer hiring a local (PR or Citizen) as it saves them the trouble of getting work passes. In addition, having more locals in the team means having a higher quota for hiring foreigners.
You also get access to medical services and public education for you and your children as a PR.
Lastly, there is the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The CPF acts like a retirement plan so that you can feel secure as you get older. You can use the CPF to pay for medical expenses, housing, and even investments. The companies that you become affiliated with are required to contribute to your CPF based on a percentage of your salary. This can seem negative to some people, as a portion of their income is automatically withheld and saved for future use. You will not have access to your CPF until the age of 52. Should you wish to leave and renounce your PR, you will be able to withdraw the full sum of your CPF.
One con of being a PR is that your sons will have to be part of the National Service (NS).
If you are currently on an expat package, another disadvantage would be that your company could adjust your salary package into local terms, which means you will no longer have added benefits such as housing and/or car allowance.
In general, we believe that there are still more advantages to being a PR than there are disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice is yours. We only wish to guide you in the best way that we can, using our years of expertise in the industry.
First, the stamp duty to purchase properties is lower for Citizens. Foreigners pay double of what PR’s pay and PR’s pay more than double of what Citizens pay.
Second, you get living and job security. The Re-Entry Permit of a PR has to be renewed every five years or so. Therefore, we usually advise our clients to stay in Singapore and work if they wish to continue being a PR. If they do not reside and work within Singapore for a significant amount of time, their application for a Re-Entry Permit might be rejected. On the other hand, Citizens are not necessarily required to stay or contribute to Singapore. They have more options available to them.
Even if your spouse is a holder of a valid work pass, we always recommend families to apply together, exhibiting the commitment to live in Singapore.
It is always ideal to apply with your family to show unity and rootedness; that is, given that your salary is sufficient for the entire family to live with you comfortably. If you are earning less than $4000 a month, it may be better to apply for yourself first.
You may leave your son out of the application. However, the chances of your PR getting approved are always better when you include your whole family, in particular, your children. The government will see them as potential contributors to the society and the economy in the future.
On August 5, 2014 – the government released a statement that there will be consequences to those who renounce their PR in avoidance of being part of the National Service. We suggest that if you do not wish your son to undergo NS, keep them out of the application.
PR’s under the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) Scheme or Investor Scheme are exempted from the NS. Male children who are granted PR status under their parents’ sponsorship are liable for NS under the Enlistment Act.
If my son is not in Singapore in the future when he becomes liable for National Service, can we defer it?
Deferment is usually granted for those who pursue tertiary education. However, most eligible males are still expected to serve the nation before attending university. You will be free to write a letter asking for further deferment, but its acceptance is at the discretion of the Ministry of Defence.
Should I first upgrade to an EP (current S Pass holders) or a PEP (current EP holders) before applying for PR?
That is not necessary. As long as you are eligible to apply for PR, you should go for it as soon as possible.
Your parents can only be your sponsor if you’re below 21 years of age. If you are past 21, you will have to apply on your own merits.
I am on a Work Permit, but my parents are Singapore Citizens/PR’s, will it be easier for me to apply?
If you only have a Work Permit, you will not be eligible to apply for Singapore Citizenship/Permanent Residence. The basic requirement is that you should have an S Pass to apply. Once you are an S Pass holder, the fact that your parents are locals will give you an edge over the rest, but you will still have to apply for Citizen/PR status on your own merits if you are over 21.
Your company will have to apply for the pass in your behalf. It depends on the company’s quota and your salary. Unfortunately, we are unable to help in this field.
It all depends on where you studied. If you went to a local school (NUS, SMU, NTU, TP, NP, NYP, RP, SP, etc.), you will have an edge over other applicants, as the ICA officials will take it to mean that you were able to successfully integrate with the local community. Having attended international schools or private institutes will not be as advantageous.
What if I wish to change my job while ICA is still processing my PR application? Will it affect my chances?
It will not affect your chances, as long as you generally don’t switch jobs that often. The important thing is for the ICA to view you as a stable and responsible candidate.
Before changing jobs/companies, we suggest that you contact them via email@example.com. You may also choose to go down to their office personally. Provide them with:
A letter explaining your current situation
A copy of your new work pass
Passport biometric page copy
Annex A from new employer