In Singapore, the permanent resident (PR) status automatically opens doors to a wide array of benefits that are elusive to foreigners. When it comes to such privileges, PRs are second only to citizens in a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world. It is no wonder then that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) annually receives thousands of applications. Hence, to stand out from the crowd, any applicant must first begin by familiarising themselves with the ICA’s PR application requirements. Read on to find out if you meet any of them.
5 Requirements to Apply for Singapore PR
The application process for Singapore permanent residence is one that is highly rigorous and thorough. To begin with, in order to be eligible for PR, you must be able to meet at least one of the following five main requirements:
- Family Ties: Spouse, Child of Singapore citizen or PR / Aged Parents of Singapore citizen
- Work Visa Holders: Employment or S Pass holders
- Education: Student enrolled in a Singaporean educational institution
- Economic Contributions: Foreign investors in Singapore; ForArts scheme
- Miscellaneous: Willingness to integrate, qualifications and age, residency duration
Meeting at least one of the first four requirements unlocks a door towards applying for PR. However, the ICA assesses all applications as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts, making it easy for an applicant who is more than eligible for PR to face rejection. That is why there has to be an equal focus on the fifth miscellaneous set of requirements. Let’s take a closer look at all of them for an idea of where you currently stand.
Requirement 1: PR Application for Spouse, Child, Aged Parent
The first PR application eligibility requirement involves direct family members of any current citizen or permanent resident. In general, the ICA tends to value applicants who form an integral part of a family unit involving either a citizen or PR. This is a highly desirable trait due to the high likelihood of their ability to contribute to the nation while seamlessly integrating with the general populace. Hence, any of the following individuals may be able to apply for PR:
- Applicants who are legally married to Singapore Citizen or PR;
- Unmarried child or children of Singapore Citizen or PR;
- Aged parents of Singapore Citizen.
If you are a citizen or PR whose family members meet any of the above requirements, you may be pleased to learn that they are eligible to apply for PR. You may then be able to sponsor their stay in the country as a permanent resident.
1. PR Application for Spouse
Being married to a citizen or PR puts an individual in a favourable position if they wish to submit an application for permanent residence. If you are a citizen or PR who is married to a foreigner, your spouse is eligible to apply for PR. However, the marriage must be legal and recognised in the eyes of the law for this requirement to be met. Hence, when preparing for the application process, a marriage certificate is in the checklist of documents required. However, it has become more challenging for foreign spouses to be granted PR status. Recently, the Ministry for Home Affairs revealed that the ICA approved only approximately 49% of Singapore PR applications made by foreign spouses of citizens and PRs from 2009 to 2018.
2. PR Application for a Child or Children
A child or children who wish(es) to apply for PR must meet all of the following three sub-criteria. Firstly, the child must be born to or legally adopted by parents in a marriage that is legally recognised, with at least one parent holding citizenship or PR. Secondly, in order to fall under this category, the child must be under the age of 21. Finally, they must be unmarried during the application period. Do note that, upon approval, male permanent residents must register for compulsory National Service (NS) once they reach the age of 16.5 and are consequently obligated to enlist at the age of 18.
3. PR Application for Aged Parents
A Singapore citizen’s aged parent is eligible to apply for PR. Birth certificates must be included to prove this familial tie.
Requirement 2: Eligible for Singapore PR through Work Visa
The second main requirement involves eligibility through a work visa, mainly applicable to residents who are currently permitted to stay in the country to work. This falls under the Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS Scheme), which opens a door leading to permanent residence to professionals who hold relevant work visas. Residents who are eligible for PR via the PTS Scheme are exempted from National Service (NS).
However, not every work visa holder is eligible for Singapore PR. Under this category, only those who hold an Employment Pass, S Pass, or Personalised Employment Pass will be considered by the ICA. Hence, residents who are here on any work visas, including the various Work Permit will not be eligible unless their employer sponsors their application for at least an S Pass.
1. Employment Pass
All residents on an Employment Pass are eligible to apply for PR. This includes highly skilled foreign professionals, managers, and executives, who earn a fixed income of at least $3600 per month. According to the Ministry of Manpower, this figure is dependent on their level. In other words, those who are more experienced may be required to earn a higher minimum income to be granted this pass. Conversely, younger candidates are more likely to be granted an Employment Pass as long as they earn a minimum monthly income of $3600. In addition, the candidate must have a good university degree and/or relevant set of skills.
2. S Pass
Individuals staying in the country on an S Pass are eligible to apply for PR. This includes mid-skilled foreign employees who earn a fixed income of at least $2300 per month. They must also hold a recognised degree, diploma, or relevant technical certificate for qualified specialists and technicians. However, the minimum required base salary will rise to $2400 per month in January 2020. Additionally, those with more work experience are usually required to earn a higher salary to qualify for an S Pass. If you wish to increase your chances of success by converting your work permit to an S Pass, you must meet this list of eligibility requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower.
3. Personalised Employment Pass
As high-income earners with significant contributions to the economy, residents on a Personalised Employment Pass are certainly eligible for Singapore PR. This pass is typically held by self-employed foreigners, based in Singapore, who earn at least $18,000 per month. In addition, those who were on the Employment Pass can apply for a Personalised Employment Pass if they earn a fixed monthly income of $12,000.
Requirement 3: Eligible for Singapore PR as a Foreign Student
The third requirement involves international students who wish to apply for PR. Among all potential applicants, international students who study in Singapore are some of the most highly likely to succeed when applying for PR. Recent figures revealed by the Ministry of Manpower show that the success rate is approximately 80% for international students who applied for PR on their own merit from 2008 to 2017. Moreover, 18% from this figure also eventually met with success when applying for citizenship by the end of 2017. These figures are exceptionally high, particularly given the PR application success rate for spouses. Do note that male applicants who are granted PR as an international student have to serve National Service when they turn 18. And under the Foreign Student scheme, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Students who plan to apply for PR must have lived in Singapore for over 2 years at the time of the application.
- The individual must have passed at least one national examination, including the PSLE or GCE ‘N’, ‘O’, or ‘A’ Level. Alternatively, they must be enrolled in the Integrated Programme (IP).
Requirement 4: Eligible for Singapore PR via Other Schemes
In a bid to draw talent to the country, the government has recently established a couple of PR application schemes. This includes the Global Investor Programme (GIP) and Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme (ForArts Scheme). Read on to discover if you may be eligible for Singapore PR through these schemes:
1. Global Investor Programme
Targeted at foreigners with a keen entrepreneurial eye, the Global Investor Programme (GIP) is a programme that grants PR status to foreign investors who intend to work from Singapore. Only those who possess an excellent track record as an entrepreneur will be considered PR status under the GIP. The application process through the GIP is an extremely stringent one. Applicants must not only have three years’ worth of experience in the field of business, but their record must be an exceptional one. To prove this, applicants have to produce financial statements of their company, audited by an accredited audit firm. All PR applications made via this scheme are handled by Contact Singapore under the Economic Development Board (EDB), rather than the ICA. Singapore PRs under this scheme do not have to serve National Service (NS).
2. Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme
The ICA collaborates with the National Arts Council (NAC) to grant PR to exceptional foreigners in the arts sector under the Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme (ForArts Scheme). Established in 1991, the scheme grants Singapore PR to applicants who meet a total of four criteria. First and foremost, they must have received relevant training or education in the arts from a good institution. Secondly, the applicant must be able to show outstanding professional experience in one or more of the following fields: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literary Arts, Design, and Media. Thirdly, the applicant must have led efforts in any key contributions to the local culture and arts scene. Finally, they must also demonstrate plans to continue to help grow and develop the local arts and cultural sector. Unlike the GIP, however, the ICA still has the final say over the application process through this scheme.
Requirement 5: Other PR Application Requirements
Having said that, applying for Singapore Permanent Residence is not nearly as straightforward as it sounds. Meeting any number of the above requirements does not necessarily guarantee a 100% approval. Although no reasons are usually given for rejections, it is clear that the ICA takes a more holistic approach towards each and every application. An applicant must, therefore, be able to stand out among the crowd through other means, including the following:
1. Willingness to Integrate
A PR hopeful may stand a greater chance of success if they demonstrate their willingness to integrate with society. This is an increasingly important factor when applying for PR. Recent statistics from a survey conducted from 2018 to 2019 by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and racial harmony advocacy group, OnePeople.sg, has further underlined this importance. According to their findings, 67% of citizens and PRs believe that immigrants do not sufficiently demonstrate their desire to integrate with society. Therefore, this might place greater pressure on would-be applicants to show their willingness to commit to life as a Singaporean.
2. Qualifications and Age
Besides any relevant work visa, such as an S Pass and Employment Pass, your skillset and age play an important role in influencing your chances of success. Younger applicants who possess a set of skills that are in greater demand in Singapore may be in a more favourable position for permanent resident status. Surveys on jobs that are in high demand may be helpful in this regard. According to a recent one by recruitment firm Robert Walters, from 2018 to 2019, these include analytical and data-driven ones. Roles involving product management, data science, user experience (UX) design and cybersecurity are now highly sought after. If any of these fields pertain to you, you may be at an advantage over the rest.
2. Residency Duration
Although no specific rule of thumb has been given, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has also listed the length of residency as an important influencing factor. This appears to suggest that residents who have been living here for a longer period of time are more likely to succeed when applying for PR. After all, it stands to reason that PR applicants who have spent more time here are likely to have shown their willingness to contribute to the country.
It is evident now that many of the above requirements play in tandem with one another. Simply being eligible for Singapore PR does not necessarily guarantee success in your application. Therefore, when applying for PR, you must be able to identify your strengths so that you can market yourself effectively. Doing so will ensure that the odds are not stacked against you. At Paul Immigrations, we can help you succeed in your PR application starting with a personalised consultation. Contact us today and a specialist will reach out to you as soon as possible!