Late last month, Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean stated in the Addendum to the President’s Address that Singapore will continue to improve its age balance and prevent its citizen population from shrinking. It will do so by welcoming new citizens who are committed to Singapore, share its values, and are willing to contribute to society. In return, the government will help them integrate.
As Permanent Residency precedes citizenship, professionals who are keen to make a home in Singapore should consider the following ten factors. Please note that these views are in no way endorsed by or represent to be endorsed by any Singapore Government Agency.
In light of Singapore’s growing ageing population, you stand a better chance of a successful application when you are young. This is because you will have many more years to actively contribute to society and can help rebalance Singapore’s resident old age support ratio. Furthermore, the younger you are, the greater the chances of socialising with others, and integration.
As Singapore gets more and more qualified and skilled applicants under the PTS scheme, understandably the bar is going to be set higher. Degrees obtained at Singapore Institutes of Higher Learning are considered additional points in your favour. So is subject matter expertise or extensive knowledge in key/sunrise industries. However, this is not the only criteria considered.
The higher your position and bigger your responsibility in your company, the higher your chances of a successful PR application. Furthermore, the salary that you draw monthly indicates how well you can support yourself and dependants.This doesn’t mean that younger workers or PMEs (professionals, managers, and executives) don’t stand a good chance of approval. The government takes a holistic approach to reviewing PR applications.
The industry you’re in
According to the EDB, Singapore will increase its focus on knowledge- and innovation-intensive activities. In addition, R&D will become the cornerstone of the country’s economic development. As Singapore works to develop these areas and sunrise sectors, subject matter experts and talent in such industries will be valuable.
How long you've stayed in Singapore
Though you can apply for PR six months after you start your job in Singapore, it is better to wait, depending on the Work Pass you’re holding. P1 Pass holders are advised to wait 2 years, P1 Pass holders - 3 years, and S or Q1 Pass holders - 4 years.
Though this may seem like a long time, this timeframe can be used to assess whether you really want to become a Singapore PR. If you are keen and genuine, your activities during this period will easily reflect that you have been making efforts to assimilate.
Family ties in Singapore
Having your family stay with you in Singapore is definitely a positive factor and shows your genuine interest in maintaining close family ties. The likelihood of your family assimilating may be higher too as your children grow up and be educated in Singapore. In turn, they may grow to see Singapore as their homes and stay on as citizens.
Giving back to society
Volunteering, charitable works, and donations, for example, are important factors. However, please note that a one-off contribution or piecemeal attempt at volunteering does not make huge impact, and can be seen as insincere attempts to boost an application. You should utilise the time in Singapore to actively give back to society before expecting the country to take on the commitment of accepting you as a Permanent Resident.
Letter of recommendation
Based on your positive contributions to the Singapore organisation you’re helping, you may be able to get a letter of recommendation from one of its respected members who knows you well. This will shed light on your achievements from a different angle and recommend you as a valuable member of society. Please remember that a generic letter will cut no ice.
Integrate, integrate, and integrate
Why not learn one of the four local languages and get certified in that? It adds to your portfolio too, as there is a strong demand for multilingual workers and helps you communicate with your fellow neighbours. Also, don’t wait until you get a PR to take part in activities and celebrations organised by your GRC.
Is your application easy to understand?
ICA receives a large number of PR applications. To ensure that the ICA officer is able to evaluate your application properly and easily, all key information should be presented clearly and within 2 pages. This will give the officer a bird’s eye view of the application and anything which is unique about you.
Even after accounting for all the factors above, an application may still be rejected due to various circumstances. If you face a rejection, do not despair. See which areas you can improve on and apply again after a few months, with further data.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Satish Bakhda is the Chief Operating Officer at Rikvin. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in the corporate services industry and is a regular speaker at marketing events around the world. He is also a consultant on matters relating to incorporation, relocation, accounting and taxation in Singapore.