5 Reasons Why My Spouse’s PR Application was Rejected

According to the latest data published by the Singapore Department of Statistics, the percentage of transnational marriages (i.e. marriages between a Singapore citizen and non-resident) made up around 35 per cent of the total number of marriages in Singapore in 2017. And with the increase in the influx of foreign talents to the Lion City, this percentage is likely to rise over the years.

If you are in this category, you might eventually consider applying for permanent residency in the country for your spouse. Unfortunately, over the past decade, the government has tightened regulations with regard to the approval rate of permanent residency applications. Currently, the number of applications approved by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Singapore (ICA) each year stands at approximately 30,000.

With this increasing competition, it is not impossible for your partner’s application to be rejected. But, worry not if this happens. Below, we list the potential reasons for rejected applications so you will have a better idea of which areas to improve on in your spouse’s application.

 

1. Incomplete Submission of Required Documents

When applying to become a PR in Singapore for your spouse, there are certain documents the ICA requires both you (the sponsor) and your spouse (the applicant) to submit with the application. Missing any of these documents will render your application invalid, thus resulting in a rejection.

Therefore, before submitting your partner’s application, determine whether you have every single required document. The good news is that you do not have to submit all the required documents in one go. Just make sure to submit all the documents within seven days (or 168 hours) from the time you start your spouse’s application on the online portal.

The documents the sponsor needs to submit are:

  • Identity card
  • Official marriage certificate
  • Highest educational certificates (including all tertiary qualifications)
  • Employer’s letter stating the date of employment, position held, salary per month for the previous six months with a breakdown into basic, overtime and allowance per month (the letter should be addressed to the Controller of Immigration and dated within one month from the date of submission)
  • Payslips for the last six months
  • IRAS/CPF consent form to give consent for ICA to obtain and verify financial information provided in respect of this application with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and CPF Board directly
  • For self-employed: Valid Business Registration Certificate with names of partners shown and/or valid vocational license; and
  • Occupational license pertaining to your employment (e.g. property agent license, stall license)

The documents the applicant is required to submit are:

  • Valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions
  • Identity card (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate or official household census list or family register showing both parents’ names
  • Deed Poll or change of name certificate (if applicable)
  • Highest educational certificates (including all tertiary qualifications)

If the applicant is gainfully employed, the following documents have to be submitted as well:

  • Work Pass (if any)
  • Employer’s letter stating the date of employment, position held, salary per month for the previous six months with a breakdown into basic, overtime and allowance per month (the letter should be addressed to the Controller of Immigration and dated within one month from the date of submission)
  • Payslips for the last six months
  • IRAS/CPF consent form to give consent for ICA to obtain and verify financial information provided in respect of this application with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and CPF Board directly
  • For self-employed: Valid Business Registration Certificate with names of partners shown and/or valid vocational license; and
  • Occupational license pertaining to your employment (e.g. property agent license, stall license)

 

2. Your Spouse is Unemployed or Not Earning a Stable Income

Singapore is a nation that prides itself on its stable economy — one that continues to thrive without any foreign debt and has a consistently positive surplus and high government revenue. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Economic Survey of Singapore for the first quarter of 2019, the main drivers of the country’s economic growth are the finance and insurance sector, as well as the business services sector, both of which accounted for 63 per cent of Singapore’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

Unsurprisingly, both these sectors experienced two of the highest employment growth in the first quarter of 2019, which likely contributed to this significant GDP growth. As a country that heavily relies on its human capital to maintain its economic progress but is facing an increasingly ageing population, this little red dot is always open to welcoming foreign talents who can be positive additions to the country.

Thus, if your spouse is currently unemployed in Singapore, that might be a contributing factor as to why their application was rejected. Not earning a stable income could be another possible reason too — for instance, if your partner is self-employed via freelance work. Both these factors might, unfortunately, shed a more unfavourable light on your spouse and reduce their chances of being granted permanent residency in the Lion City.

Therefore, to increase your spouse’s chances of attaining PR status in the Lion City, it would be wise to have them work in the country for a certain length of time before submitting another PR application. This can be done in the following method:

Apply for a Dependant’s Pass for Your Spouse

If you are an Employment Pass or S Pass holder who is earning a minimum fixed monthly salary of $6,000, you can bring your family (i.e. spouse and/or children) into Singapore by applying for the Dependant’s Pass. This enables your family to stay in the Republic for a maximum of two years, as long as your work pass remains valid. Holders of the Dependant’s Pass are allowed to seek employment in the country, making this option a viable one for your partner in order to increase the success rate of their next PR application. Working in Singapore will display their willingness to contribute to the economy, thus showing that they will be an asset to the Republic.

 

3. Your Spouse is Not Working in the “Right” Industry

The ability to contribute to Singapore’s economy is not the only factor taken into account when the ICA makes its approval decisions. In general, applicants might have a higher chance of being granted permanent residency in this little red dot if they are working in sectors that are predicted to experience high growth within the next few years.

For example, as mentioned above, the sectors in Singapore that experienced the highest growth in the first quarter of 2019 are the finance and insurance sector, as well as the business services sector. Therefore, applicants who are currently working or have professional experience in these sectors are more likely to get their applications approved. Unfortunately, if your spouse is not working in a fast-growing sector of Singapore’s market, then that might be a possible contributing reason that leads to a rejection of their application.

 

4. No Evident Effort to Integrate into the Local Community

Singapore is a small city-state consisting of a general population from different races and religions. Living in harmony among those who come from a different background than you and respecting the various beliefs of others is essential to maintain the peace of the country. This applies to any individual who lives in Singapore — whether permanently or temporarily — or is merely in the Lion City for a visit.

Therefore, foreigners who apply to gain PR status in this little red dot are expected to be able to integrate into the local community as much as they can. Singapore PR applicants can prove their integration efforts by submitting documents that highlight their time spent volunteering or taking part in activities organised by the local neighbourhood. This especially applies to those who have spent a significant period of time in the country prior to their application.

If your spouse’s application was rejected, then that might be attributed to the lack of evidence of their efforts to integrate into the Singaporean community, particularly if your husband/wife has been in the country for some time. Therefore, before submitting the appeal for your spouse, encourage them to engage in activities with the local community to show their willingness to be part of the Singapore identity. This can be done in the following ways:

Volunteer for Non-Profit Organisations or Charities

Depending on the organisation or charity, foreigners in Singapore are allowed to engage in volunteering activities even though they are not residents of the country. If your husband/wife is in Singapore for a short period of time and wishes to donate her time and efforts during her visit, do check with the specific organisation or charity on its volunteering criteria. To narrow down your spouse’s choices for volunteering activities, decide on a place where they will be able to use their expertise. For instance, if your partner has excellent writing skills, look for an organisation or charity that requires copywriting assistance. If they are a whiz in the kitchen, there are a number of soup kitchens in Singapore where your spouse can lend their dexterous cooking skills.

Take Part in Local Neighbourhood Activities

If there are no organisations or charities that suit your partner’s interest and skills, simply setting aside some time to engage with the community in the local neighbourhood might boost the success rate of your spouse’s PR application. Neighbourhoods in Singapore often hold a number of activities and events throughout the year as an opportunity for the residents of that particular neighbourhood to come together and interact with one another. For a list of events held in the different neighbourhoods around this little island, visit the People’s Association website at onepa.sg.

 

5. You are Not Earning Sufficient Income to Support Your Family

With Singapore’s high cost of living, any foreign individual who wishes to bring their family members into the country has to have the financial capability to bear the costs of staying here. While this is not one of the criteria specifically listed on ICA’s website, your ability to support both you and your spouse while living in Singapore is an important contributing factor to the likelihood of your partner’s PR application being accepted. This is especially so if your spouse is unemployed or not earning a high income.

Therefore, before submitting an appeal against your spouse’s rejected application, it might be a wise idea for you to wait until your monthly income has increased to ensure you will be more financially stable to support your family. As a rough guide, here are the different costs you have to consider if you wish to live in Singapore with your spouse:

Housing

If your spouse is successfully granted permanent residency in the Republic, you have two housing options: HDB flat or private property. The latter will, of course, hold a significantly higher price tag than the former. If your husband/wife has successfully attained their PR status, you will be able to purchase a HDB resale flat under the Public Scheme (do take note that this only applies if both you and your spouse have had your PR status for three years prior to buying a resale flat). The cost of a resale flat will depend on its location; generally, the price of a resale flat is higher if it is located in more central areas. Its size can affect its price tag, too. You will have to be prepared to pay anywhere from roughly $300,000 for a 3-room HDB resale flat to millions for a private property.

Transportation

If you choose to purchase a car while living in Singapore, be prepared to set aside a relatively large sum of your income for it. Besides the price you pay for the car itself, the cumulative cost of car-related expenses (e.g. petrol, insurance, road tax, parking) will have you forking out more than $160,000 over a ten-year period. If a car is not the most financially-sound option for you and your spouse, worry not because Singapore has a reliable public transport system. The main modes of public transport in the country are the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), buses, as well as ride-hailing mobile apps such as Grab and Gojek. The MRT and buses are definitely the most affordable options you have, with them costing roughly $100 to $120 a month.

Medical

The cost of healthcare in Singapore can largely vary, depending on whether you choose to go for public or private healthcare services. Not surprisingly, private healthcare is generally more expensive than the former, with the average daily cost of a private hospital ward ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the class of ward. For a more affordable option, public healthcare is the way to go due to the subsidies available for both citizens and PRs such as MediSave and MediShield Life.

 

The Takeaway

We know how the rejection of your spouse’s PR application can leave both of you feeling dejected, but that does not mean all hope is lost. For a higher chance of having your spouse’s application accepted the next time around, consider engaging an immigration specialist at Paul Immigrations.

With our expertise, we will be able to guide you through the whole PR application process and help you navigate through the more complex areas, thus increasing your spouse’s chances of attaining PR status in this little red dot.