Singapore has a knack for topping global charts, and when it comes to the quality of living, this city-state is regarded as one of the world’s best. If you were to compare the tangibles — such as level of unemployment, career prospects, unrivalled healthcare, world-class infrastructure, low crime rates, excellent housing and standard of education — or intangibles — such as geographical accessibility, racial harmony and multi-cultural cohesiveness — Singapore is truly a great city to live, work and play in.
What set out as a fishing village two centuries ago has now transformed and remodelled into a devastating powerhouse, having been proclaimed as the business hub of Asia and recognised as the continent’s best city to live in. It comes as no surprise that our cosmopolitan city has been catching the eye and interests of business enterprises and expatriates alike who are drawn and enticed by the country’s exceptional quality of living.
As a result, it is no surprise that an influx of working professionals and foreign talents who have expressed their keen interest in making the little red dot their second home by way of attaining the coveted Permanent Resident (PR) status. This status is the ultimate first transitional stride towards becoming a full-fledged citizen. The perks that await you as a PR of Singapore are many, such as the likes of a wide range of subsidies, tax relief and exemption as well as Central Provident Fund (CPF) benefits. Similar to citizens, PRs in Singapore are also made eligible and get to enjoy for themselves quality education, entry rights to public housing and first-rate healthcare services, all at highly subsidised rates.
What are the Available Singapore Permanent Resident Schemes?
According to a research report by UOB economist Francis Tan, Singapore is described as a “demographic time bomb”, having topped the ASEAN list with the oldest society among the 10-member nations. To cope with the country’s worrying old-age support ratio and ageing population, the Singapore government has opened up its doors to the arrival of foreign talents who possess the capacity and aptitude to contribute positively to the nation’s overall growth and development.
Expatriates who are contemplating adopting the little red dot as their second home have several different options at their disposal to choose from, namely:
- Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme
- Global Investor Programme Scheme
- Professionals / Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme
If you would like to find out which of these three schemes is most relevant to your current situation and provide the highest chances of your PR application getting approved, keep on reading!
1. Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme (ForArts)
A joint effort between the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the National Arts Council (NAC), the Foreign Artistic Talent (ForArts) Scheme was implemented in 1991 to cater to internationally acclaimed artists in recognition of their valuable contribution that are of cultural significance in fields such as music, photography, film, dance, theatre or literature, among others. The ForArts scheme aims to encourage talented and acclaimed professionals of the Arts to become a PR of Singapore, in hope to further propel the local arts and cultural landscape in the country to achieve greater heights by way of their diverse influence and profound engagement with local communities.
Eligibility Criteria for the ForArts Scheme
Foreign individuals from the arts scene who are interested to take the ForArts route for their PR application are required to meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for this scheme:
- A portfolio of achievements in the field of performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, design and/or media
- Regular participation and contributions in local engagement, coupled with strong leadership abilities
- Possess relevant training, qualification and professional experience in the related field of practice
- Ability to inspire, motivate and contribute significantly to the arts and cultural scene in Singapore
- Dedicated, committed and passionate to be involved in the local arts and cultural sector for the long run
- Approval is at the sole discretion of ICA, even if you have met all the criteria mentioned above regarding the ForArts scheme
Chances of Getting the Singapore PR Approval Through ForArts
Of the three schemes, the ForArts scheme carries the lowest percentage of successful applicants, primarily because it is tailored for international artists in the performing arts and media industry with an impressive track record to show for. Applications going down the ForArts route will be sorted out and managed by the NAC before ICA’s assessment and the outcome is usually concluded within three months of NAC’s receipt of all relevant and supporting documents.
2. Global Investor Programme (GIP) Scheme
Launched in 2004, the Global Investor Programme (GIP) is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Economic Board (EDB). It is particularly tailored and reserved for high-net-worth foreign investors who express the desire to kick-start new business activities or invest in Singapore-based corporations and thereafter, settle here in Singapore as a PR.
Eligibility Criteria for GIP Scheme
The prerequisites for the GIP are relatively straightforward. If you are an investor looking to invest or set up base in Singapore, you may submit a GIP application if you:
- Possess a strong and successful entrepreneurial background
- Have a formidable business track record
If these two conditions are satisfied, the applicant may proceed to select one of the two options within the GIP scheme.
1. S$2.5 Million Investment in a New Business Entity or in the Expansion of a Prevailing Business Corporation (GIP Option A)
Should the applicant decide to go forth with the first option, he or she is required to submit a detailed and comprehensive five-year business or investment plan together with annual financial forecasts and projected employment headcount. More importantly, the applicant is required to accomplish the outlined milestones and deliver their business plan within five years of Permanent Residence final approval. Should the business plan include the investment into an existing Singapore-based company, the additional third-year milestones that the company would be required to accomplish are:
- The hiring of at least five additional employees and;
- An additional annual total business expenditure of at least S$1 million
2. S$2.5 Million Investment in a GIP Fund That Invests in Singapore-Based Companies (GIP Option B)
The second option offers an investor with the prospect of investing a slice of his or her net worth in Singapore-based companies (businesses that are integrated and based in Singapore and execute its core activities in the city-state) in sectors promoted by EDB and/or other economic agencies.
Once the applicants have firmly decided on an option that they deem is most suitable and relevant to their current situation, the relevant authorities will then examine and review the following once their GIP application is received:
- Possess at least three years of strong entrepreneurial and successful business track record
- Present and submit audited financial statements of the company by an accredited audit firm for the last three years
- If the business is privately held, the applicant is to be minimally a 30% shareholder
- Company’s annual turnover is at least S$50 million in the year immediately preceding their application
- At least S$50 million per annum on average for the three years immediately preceding their application
3-Year Re-Entry Permit for Successful GIP Applicants
A Re-Entry Permit (REP) with a validity period will be issued upon the formalisation of your PR status. The REP is a permit document that enables you to maintain your PR status when you are out of the country. You must have satisfied the investment provisions under Option A of the GIP, as well as either of the following two options:
- The firm that you are financially investing in under GIP Option A hires in Singapore at least five more employees, in addition to those employed at the third-year milestone, with a minimum of five citizens amongst all employees, as well as records in Singapore a gross total of at least S$1 million in business expenditure at the third-year milestone.
- You or at least one of your dependants, who have obtained PR status under your GIP application, must have resided in Singapore for at least 2.5 years.
5-Year Re-Entry Permit for Successful GIP Applicants
You must have satisfied the investment provisions under Option A of the GIP, as well as both of the following criteria:
- The firm that you are financially investing in under GIP Option A hires in Singapore at least 5 more employees, in addition to those employed at the third-year milestone, with a minimum of 5 citizens amongst all employees, and records in Singapore a gross total of at least S$1 million in business expenditure at the third-year milestone.
- You or at least one of your dependants, who have obtained PR status under your GIP application, must have resided in Singapore for more than half of the time (at least 2.5 years).
Chances of Getting the Singapore PR Approval Through GIP
While it is true that the GIP scheme boasts high approval rates, the downside is that it requires a lot of money. The GIP scheme is specially reserved for high-net-worth foreign investors who are financially capable of pumping in millions of dollars into the country’s economy. The GIP scheme also involves more hassle, with applicants having to go through strict auditing checks and renewing their REP every three or five years. If money is not an issue, you would be pleased to know that the application process for this scheme typically takes about six to eight months.
3. Professionals / Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme
The Professionals/ Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker (PTS) scheme provides foreign professionals who are already employed as part of Singapore’s workforce with a window of opportunity of extending their stay here indefinitely as they continue to pursue their career goals. The intention of this scheme is to retain expatriates who are contributing positively to the country’s economy and display the right capacity to become potential long-term members of the nation’s workforce.
Eligibility Criteria for PTS Scheme
Foreign professionals looking to go with the route through the PTS scheme will have to satisfy the following requirements:
- Must be an EntrePass, S Pass, Employment Pass (EP) or Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) holder
- Must be employed and working in Singapore at the time of application
- Produce and submit their past 6 months’ salary slips from time of application
The PTS scheme is designed such that preferentiality is given to foreign individuals holding the EP, PEP, EntrePass or S-Pass with sound financial histories, relevant professional experience and background as well as laudable contributions such as charity efforts for the local community. Other factors that may be taken into consideration include:
- Age of applicant
- Educational level and academic background
- Income ceiling
- Current employment industry and professional vocation
- Subject-matter expertise
- Community involvement or charity drive
- Social cohesiveness and integration
- Family ties in Singapore
Chances of Getting the Singapore PR Approval Through PTS
The PTS scheme is by far the quickest and most favoured route for expatriates aiming to gain Singapore PR status within a short time frame, with more than 95% of foreign working professionals reported to have successfully attained their PR status via this route. An application under this scheme typically takes anywhere between two weeks and 12 months to process before you receive news of the outcome of your application via a letter from ICA.
With all three different schemes leading to the same ultimate PR goal, it begs the question: which of these three schemes provide one with the most efficient route to attaining the much-coveted PR status? It only makes sense to apply through the one that you are able to meet all the listed criteria of.
If you are still undecided or unsure of the next step, consult our qualified professionals at Paul Immigrations who are dedicated to helping you determine your best course of action in your pursuit of Singapore PR status. Should you need any help with your eligibility assessment or require professional assistance in the submission of your application documents, do not hesitate to contact us or fill up our online inquiry form.