Singapore has always been a coveted holiday destination among visitors from across the world. Today, Singapore is much more than just about shopping and vacations. As its significance as a commercial and business destination grows, Singapore is becoming home to a growing number of expats from all over the world.
Permanent residents enjoy a number of benefits, and are free to live and work in the country, as well as buy property. However, being a permanent resident of Singapore also means having certain obligations.
Let’s look at the key points in obtaining permanent residency in Singapore, including who is eligible to apply, the application procedure, perks of being a permanent resident and responsibilities as a resident.Eligibility for Permanent Residency
There are strict eligibility criteria for who can apply for permanent residency. Only the following categories of people can qualify for permanent residence in Singapore:
1. Family of Singapore Citizens (SC), and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR)
Spouses and unmarried children below the age of 21 of Singapore citizens, and permanent residents can apply for permanent residence.
2. Elderly Parents of a Singapore Citizen
3. Work Pass Holders
Those who hold a Professional, Technical Personnel, or Skilled Workers Work Pass can apply for Permanent Residence under the Professionals Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme.
4. Investors and Entrepreneurs
Investors and Entrepreneurs working in Singapore can apply for permanent residence through a special channel known as the Global Investor Programme under the Singapore Economic Development Board. There are special eligibility criteria for applicants going through this channel; you can find more information at www.contactsingapore.sg/GIP.
The first three categories of applicants need to apply through the Permanent Resident Services Centre. Application forms are available to download online, as well as at the centre, and applications can only be made by prior appointment. It is possible to make an appointment online at the official Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website through their e-appointment service. The third category of applicants – Investors and Entrepreneurs – can apply through the Singapore Economic Development Board.
The completed form and all required documents need to be submitted at the time of application. You can find information about additional documents on the application form for each category.
Permanent Residents of Singapore enjoy a number of benefits. The most obvious being that you do not require a visa to remain in, or enter Singapore. As a permanent resident, you and your family can live and work in the country, and even invest in property. Permanent residents have the right to remain in the country irrespective of their work permit, so permanent residents need not reapply for a work permit should they change jobs. As such, residents enjoy much more professional freedom than non-PRs and non-citizens.
Being a PR also has benefits for your family. Your spouse and dependent (unmarried and under the age of 25) children automatically become eligible to apply for the same status. Children of permanent residents are given priority over non-PR children for admission into public schools. As such, being a PR offers you more control over the education and school for your child.
There are many financial benefits of obtaining permanent residency. Firstly, as a working resident you are required to join the state Provident Fund Plan, known as the Central Provident Fund.
Being a PR means that you are free to buy property in Singapore and permanent residency automatically enhances your credibility while applying for a housing loan, or a mortgage.
Just as being a permanent resident has its benefits, there are also certain obligations associated with being a resident of Singapore. The two main obligations that come with PR status are national service, and the limitations on the type of property you can buy.
Permanent residents are only eligible to purchase a second hand housing development board (HDB) flat, and only citizens are eligible to buy a new flat providing they meet certain other criteria.
As for national service, under the Enlistment Act, all male citizens and residents of Singapore are obliged to register for and serve for twenty four months of national service upon reaching the age of 18 years. While the precise nature of conscription may change with changing regulations, in general enlistees undergo basic military training and are required to join the Singapore Armed Forces, Police Forces or the Civil Defence Forces for about two years. Upon completing national service, one is obliged to undertake forty days of Operationally Ready National Service each year, until the age of fifty or forty, depending on whether you are a serving officer or belong to another rank.
Becoming a permanent resident of Singapore comes with a number of advantages as well as some responsibilities that will be seen by many as disadvantageous. The fact is that a diverse population, world class education, and good quality of life make Singapore one of the most sought after places to live among expats, and the growing number of PR applications each year is testimony to this.