So you’ve landed in Singapore and begun your expatriate life. Once you settle into the rhythm of the city, the idea of sowing deeper roots in your new home may cross your mind. In time, you might even consider applying to be a Permanent Resident. The good news is that being a PR comes with a host of attractive benefits and considerations. Here, we take a look at those benefits, and also the basics of how to apply.
10 PR benefits
Here are some of the main goodies that PRs can benefit from:
#1 You can change jobs without having to reapply for a work pass (such as an Employment Pass, Work Permit or Letter of Consent). Currently with a work pass, you need to go through cancellation and re-application every time you change jobs. This process can take time – there’s no guarantee of a quick response or approval.
#2 You’re free to re-enter Singapore to live and work without needing to apply for additional visas.
#3 You can include your immediate family (children under 21) within your application.
#4 School-aged children become eligible to apply for local school options. With a robust curriculum, and a price point that can be very appealing compared to the internatinal school system, PRs have a larger pool of school options – international and local alike – to choose from.
#5 Your parents are eligible for long-term visas when they visit.
#6 You can participate in Singapore’s CPF (Central Provident Fund) scheme. This way, both you and your employer make monthly contributions towards your retirement.
#7 You can use your CPF funds towards purchasing local property, healthcare, family protection and asset growth.
#8 You become eligible to buy second-hand housing units from the government (HDB units). This lowers the barriers to entering the Singapore property market.
#9 You jump up the priority list for obtaining housing loans, and you pay lower stamp duty on your property purchase.
#10 You can benefit from various government incentives, discounts and subsidies that are also offered to Singapore citizens.
If you’re including your son or sons on your PR application, one major consideration is that he will have to serve a mandatory two years of national service when he turns 18 years old.
There can be long-lasting implications if you renounce your PR and/or leave Singapore before your son has completed his national service. (Read this feature for an expat’s personal perspective on the national service.)
Strengthening your PR application
The process to become PR has become more challenging over the years. But you can improve your chances by writing a strong accompanying cover letter, and by providing genuine evidence to support your application.
British expat Babs Khanduja told Expat Living, “My PR application took around seven months. I made sure I could demonstrate my historic contribution to Singapore’s economy and society. So, I included several testimonials from well-standing/educated Singaporeans and PRs to vouch for my credentials, character and participation within the community. I also documented my local charitable and voluntary work to support my overall application”.
If you decide to go for PR, you can apply if:
- You hold an Employment Pass or S Pass
- You are a student studying in Singapore
- Your spouse is a Singapore citizen (SC) or Singapore permanent resident (PR)
- You have unmarried child below 21 born to (or legally adopted) by a SC or PR
- You’re an aged parent of a SC
- You’re an investor in Singapore
The ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) will take into account the following:
- Your economic contributions
- Age and family profile
- Length of your stay
- Your ability to integrate into the community
- Your commitment to deepen your roots into society
While the exact ‘approval formula’ is unknown, including evidence of your contributions to society, charity, volunteering and testimonials from Singaporeans and PR may help support your application.
Singapore as a Smart Nation
It’s worth considering Singapore’s grand vision as a smart nation. Certain skill sets and qualifications are more coveted than others. It may be worth up-skilling/re-skilling to ensure your qualifications and memberships provide economic benefits.
In true Singapore style, applications are relatively straightforward and can be made online via the ICA website using your SingPass.
While the ICA website states the application process can take four to six months, be prepared to wait, as there have been reports of longer processing times.
If you’re thinking of applying for PR, you should genuinely consider how you and your family can participate and contribute to the wellbeing and growth of Singapore as a nation.
For a full list of required documents, fees and National Service obligations, refer to the ICA website, here.
For more helpful tips head to our Living in Singapore section.