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Migration - Singapore


Singapore - Asia’s most stable and developed countries and a key financial hub.

Rated #1 in Asia for offering the Best Quality of Life, Singapore is known for its materialistic culture. There is constant pressure to excel even at a very young age and this attitude places a lot of stress on the society. Despite this stress, Singapore emerged as the ‘Happiest country in Asia’ in a study reported by ABC News. 95% of Singapore residents appreciate the clean, safe and efficient society. The study also showed that in Singapore, family is the most important unit and despite materialistic goals, the family and community always take precedence. This is turn helps build a content and happy society.

The lure of gaining Singapore permanent residence through a variety of schemes has convinced thousands of foreigners of diverse backgrounds to set up home in the island-state, one of Asia’s most stable and developed countries and a key financial hub.

Citizens (including naturalized citizens) and permanent residents are referred to as “residents,” while immigrants who are in Singapore temporarily (such as students and certain workers) are considered “nonresidents”.

Permanent residents (PRs), while typically immigrants as well, have been granted the right to reside permanently in Singapore and are entitled to most of the rights and duties of citizens, including eligibility for government-sponsored housing and mandatory military service for young adult males, though not the right to vote in general elections.

There are over 125,000 Indians as Permanent Residents, in Singapore, forming roughly 20% of the ethnic group living there.  The majority of skilled workers are from India and China. 

·                            Given Singapore's aspirations to become a major player in the globalized world, the nation's main economic strategy is based on being home to a highly skilled workforce. In addition to investing heavily in information technology and human capital to meet global competition, the government has focused on developing Singapore into the "talent capital" of the global economy.

To introduce more flexibility, a new subcategory of visas was introduced in 2007. The Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is open to all current employment pass holders who have worked in Singapore for at least two to five years and who draw a minimum annual salary of S$34,000 (US$27,032). Overseas professionals who wish to immigrate to Singapore and whose last drawn monthly salary overseas was at least S$8,000 (US$6,107) are also eligible. PEP holders can take on employment in any sector of the economy, may be accompanied by their family members, and are permitted to stay in Singapore for up to six months if unemployed between jobs.

General Information

IMMIGRATION CATEGORIES:

PERMANENT RESIDENCE SCHEMES (PR)

Singapore Landed PR Scheme (On hold now)

Singapore Landed Permanent Resident Scheme (LPR) is for highly qualified and talented professionals who want to work, live & settle in Singapore as a Permanent Resident interested in Immigration to Singapore. The LPR Scheme is open to individuals who have either top notch education or professional background. As a rule of thumb, you must be in the top 1% of your competitive landscape on a global basis. To give you an idea, a graduate degree or a PhD from Stanford University would be considered top notch education. Once approved, you must relocate to Singapore within one year and find employment to fully secure your Singapore Permanent Residence status.

It is a PR visa which you can apply for while you are still living & working in your own country.  Permanent Residence (PR) application can be applied for the whole family i.e. the applicant himself plus the spouse and unmarried children under 21.

Singapore PR Scheme for Individuals Working in Singapore

Known as Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme (or simply PTS scheme), this scheme is for foreign professionals who are working in Singapore at the time of applying for Singapore permanent residence. The PTS scheme is the easiest and most assured route to Singapore PR. It’s estimated that more than 95% of the people obtain their Singapore Permanent Residence through PTS scheme.

The key requirement under this scheme is that you must be working in Singapore at the time of application. This means you must first relocate to Singapore on a work visa of type Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass.

You must show a minimum of six months’ worth of salary pay slips; hence you must have stayed and worked in the country for at least that amount of time before applying.

Singapore PR Scheme for Capital Investors

You can also invest your way to Singapore permanent residence through Investor Scheme (also known as Million Dollar Scheme). Under this scheme, you may apply for PR for yourself and immediate family by starting a business or investing in Singapore.

At present, under the Investor Scheme, you can choose either of the following investment options:

Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a new business startup or expansion of an existing business operation.

Option B: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund.

Apart from funds to invest, you must also have a good business track record, an entrepreneurial background and a business proposal or investment plan.

Singapore PR Scheme for Foreign Artistic Talent

Singapore is keen to promote itself as an arts hub. If you have a talent for arts, photography, dance, music, theatre, literature and film, you can apply for Singapore permanent residence through Foreign Artistics Talent scheme. To qualify for this scheme, you must be a well recognized artist in your own country, preferably with an international reputation.

Singapore Employment Pass Scheme

Employment Pass (EP) is a type of work visa issued to foreign nationals.  You can apply for Employment Pass under the following scenarios:

You are one of the owners/directors of a Singapore company and need to relocate to Singapore to run your company operations. Note however that if the company is a newly setup company and you hold more than 30% of the shares, you may need to apply for Entrepreneur Pass instead.

You are hiring foreign staff for your Singapore company. In this case, your company will need to file an Employment Pass application for each such employee.

Employment Pass is normally issued for 1-2 years at a time and renewable thereafter. An EP visa enables you to work and live in Singapore and travel in and out of the country freely without applying for Singapore entry visas. Possessing an Employment Pass also opens the door for Singapore permanent residence in due course.

The key facts and requirements for an Employment Pass type of work visa consist of the following:

With effect of 1 January 2012, a minimum fixed salary of S$3,000 and above a month.

A tertiary degree from a reputable university and relevant professional experience. Your strong professional work experience history and good salary may compensate for lack of good education in some cases. Your proposed employment in Singapore must be relevant to your prior experience. Note that for Q1 pass holders, only those candidates who are educationally qualified from reputable institutions will be considered. The minimum salary requirement of S$3,000 is typically applicable to fresh graduates who have passed out from good quality educational institutions. However, candidates who are experienced will likely have to command higher salaries in order to qualify.

There is no official quota system. Each application is reviewed by authorities based on the credentials of the employing company and the applicant.

With effect of 1 July 2011, the salary threshold for the following employment passes would be:

P1 Pass: for applicants with a base salary of above S$8,000 a month.

P2 Pass: for applicants with a base salary between S$4,000 and S$8,000 a month.

Q1 Pass: for applicants with a base salary between S$2,800 and S$4,000 a month.

With effect from 1 January 2012, the salary threshold for the corresponding passes will be as follows:

P1 Pass: For a base salary above S$8,000 a month.

P2 Pass: For a base salary between S$4,500 and S$8,000 a month.

Q1 Pass: For a base salary between S$3,000 and S$4,500 a month.

Unlike lower-skilled, lower-paid foreign workers, highly skilled workers hold P, Q, or S employment passes (i.e., not work permits) that are much less restrictive and confer greater benefits. For example, dependents who accompany employment pass holders can also seek employment at all work levels by obtaining a letter of consent (dependents of S pass-holders must apply for a separate work pass). Additionally, P, Q, and S employment pass holders may apply to become PRs or citizens — a privilege not accorded to the lower-skilled with work permits.

Family – DEPENDENT PASS

For immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age), Employment Pass holders can apply for a family visa called Dependant Pass. Usually, the Dependent Pass (DP) application will be approved automatically if the EP application is approved. You can file DP application(s) at the same time or anytime after your EP application is approved. The expiry date of Dependent Pass will be the same as the Employment Pass. 

While the Fiancée of an Employment Pass holder is not eligible to apply for a Dependant Pass, the Fiancée is usually eligible to apply for a Long-Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) subject to certain conditions.

DP holders are allowed to work in Singapore (except if the EP holder is an S pass holder) as long as your potential employer is willing to apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) that requires approval from authorities.

If you are a Dependent Pass holder, you are eligible to apply for permanent residence (PR) in Singapore together with Employment Pass holder. If the Employment Pass holder’s PR application is approved, your PR application will be approved as well.

Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Scheme

EntrePass immigration scheme is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in Singapore and will have at least 30% of company shares and will relocate in Singapore.

EntrePass Eligibility Requirements

Age of 21 or more,

You wish to establish a business in Singapore and relocate to Singapore to run it. The proposed business idea must be entrepreneurial in nature and able to create local employment.

You have an entrepreneurial and/or relevant background.

You plan to register your business as a Singapore private limited company and not as a sole proprietorship or partnership.

You have not yet incorporated your company or the company is not more than six months old at the time of EntrePass application.

You plan to have at least 30% shareholding in the proposed business.

The company will have a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000.

 

Along with your EntrePass application form, you will need to furnish a comprehensive yet concise business plan.

EntrePass holders are eligible to apply for permanent residence in due course, and its acceptance is subject to review and approval by Singapore immigration authorities. When you file your PR application, you should demonstrate that you are running a viable business and that you will not become a financial burden on Singapore.

Family & PR

The Entrepreneur Pass allows you to bring your family (spouse and unmarried children under 21) to Singapore by applying for their dependent passes. EntrePass holders are eligible to apply for Singapore permanent residence in due course.

Singapore Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) Scheme

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is a special type of employment pass that is not linked to a specific employer. PEP is targeted for highly qualified individuals who wish to work and live in Singapore. It’s not meant for business owners who wish to operate their own business in Singapore.  

Key Points about PEP

PEP pass holders are not allowed to start their own business in Singapore i.e they cannot be employed by their own company.

PEP holder can be a salary-drawing director of a company as long as the company is not owned by them.

The eligibility requirements for PEP are more stringent than the Employment Pass. See eligibility section below for more details.

The main advantage of PEP is that a PEP holder can switch jobs without re-applying for a visa as long as the holder is not unemployed for longer than six months. During those six months, the PEP holder can stay in Singapore without having to apply for any other type of stay visas.

Eligibility (effective December 1, 2012)

The following individuals are eligible to apply for a personalized employment pass:

Current EP holders – Only P1 Pass holders earning a minimum salary of S$12,000 monthly will be eligible to apply for PEP. You should have been earning a basic salary of at least S$144,000 per annum during the previous year.

Overseas professionals – If your last drawn fixed monthly salary was equivalent to at least S$18,000, you can apply for PEP.