Singapore cracks down on immigration marriages
Government is planning to criminalize unions made for the purpose of obtaining entry visas and permanent residency qualifications.
The amended provision will also include criminal syndicates and middlemen who facilitate or stand to gain from these marriages of conveniences, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.
This amendment and a few others were proposed to make the long-standing Immigration Act, which was last revised in 2004, more deterrent against illegal immigration.
Other key amendments put forward include the criminalisation of the manufacture, trafficking and possession of paraphernalia for immigration forgeries. According to MHA, these proposed amendments will criminalise the manufacture, trafficking, and unlawful possession of paraphernalia designed to forge immigration documents and endorsements. It will come with a presumption clause that would assume that any person found in possession of the forgery paraphernalia has the intent to commit forgery, unless proven otherwise. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $8,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.
Another amendment is the gathering of advance passenger/crew information. This proposed amendment will tighten ICA’s checkpoint security measures by empowering ICA to collect passenger/crew information on inbound persons prior to arrival. Many other countries have already implemented a system of advance passenger information for security risk management purposes, said MHA.
There will also be a good conduct condition introduced for permanent residents. MHA explained that this proposed amendment allows ICA to cancel the Re-entry Permit (REP) issued to a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) if he contravenes any law or is involved in any activity which threatens a breach of peace or is prejudicial to public order. He will lose his PR status if he travels out of Singapore or remains outside Singapore without a valid REP. This proposed amendment will also enable ICA to impose, vary, or set additional conditions for the validity of the REP.
These amendments as part of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill wer introduced for First Reading at the Parliamentary Sitting on 9 July 2012.