How to apply for Singapore PR?

Who wouldn’t love to live in Singapore? When it comes to quality of living, Singapore ranks among the top countries to reside in. Infrastructure, educational institutions, healthcare, housing options, employment opportunities, business opportunities – the country offers a fulfilling platter of tangible benefits. At the same time, Singapore delivers intangibles such as racial harmony and access to tourist locations. All in all, the multi-national and multicultural country just stands out.

Over the years, the city-state has made its name not only as Asia’s business hub but also as the best place to live and work in the continent. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to get a Singapore permanent resident status.

What’s more, the PR status comes with an array of personal tax reliefs, subsidies, and Central Provident Fund benefits. PRs in Singapore enjoy many of the same benefits as citizens of the country-state. This includes access to public housing, healthcare services, good education, etc. at subsidized rates.


Singapore Permanent Resident Schemes

Permanent residency in Singapore can be obtained in various ways, depending on your qualifications and field of interest. Any foreign national looking to benefit from the PR status can apply for one of three PR schemes. The PR schemes are:

  • PTS Scheme: Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme
  • GIP Scheme: Global Investor Program Scheme
  • ForArts Scheme: Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme


Eligibility: Who Can apply for Singapore PR?

Foreigners who meet the following criteria can apply for Singapore PR under the PTS Scheme and GIP Scheme:

  • Unmarried children (less than 21 years old) and spouse of a Singapore PR holder or citizen
  • Aged parents of a Singapore citizen
  • S pass and employment pass holders (including entrepreneur pass and personalized employment pass)
  • Entrepreneurs and investors who are eligible under GIP

Foreigners who meet the following criteria can apply for Singapore PR under the ForArts Scheme:

  • Have relevant education/training in their field
  • Have relevant professional experience and outstanding achievements in Performing Arts, Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Design and/or Media
  • Have contributed significantly to local art and culture and have local engagements experience at a leadership level
  • Have strong future plans to contribute to Singapore’s arts and cultural scene

Most often, processing PR applications takes 4 to 5 months. However, some applications may take longer to process. This may vary based on the scheme you are applying through.


PTS Scheme: What is it?

The most common PR route to Singapore PR is the Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme. It is especially preferred by Singapore’s S pass, employment pass, personalized employment pass, and entrepreneur pass holders. Over 95% of professionals get their Singapore PR status through the PTS scheme.

Notably, the professional’s spouse and unmarried kids under the age of 21 may apply for the city-state’s PR too. When a male dependent gets permanent residency, he is liable to complete Singapore National Service (NS).

What is National Service Liability?

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) states that all male Singapore PRs and citizens must register for Singapore National Service – unless exempted. After they complete the full tenure of National Service, they will have to dedicate 40 days or more annually for Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) for the duration of their ORNS training cycle (which is 65 years of age for officers and 40 years for other ranks).

Under the Enlistment Act, applicants who get PR status are exempted from NS. However, their husband and sons who attain PR through the applicant’ sponsorship are liable for NS.

Singapore authorities take strict actions against NS-liable permanent residents who try to evade their NS liability. ICA mentioned that losing or renouncing one’s permanent residency without completing full-time NS will have a negative impact on future application to study, work, or get citizenship/PR in Singapore.

Successful PR Application through PTS Scheme: Important Tips

Whether or not an individual will be able to secure a Singapore PR through the PTS scheme depends on educational qualifications, professional experience, financial background, and relevant skills. Below is a list of some factors that might help an applicant secure the country-state’s PR:

  • belonging to a niche industry that requires specialised skills
  • possessing skills that complement the Singapore workforce instead of competing with it
  • being under the age of 50
  • obtaining educational qualifications from reputable institutions
  • having family members in Singapore
  • having a history of voluntary work and general contributions to his local community and neighbourhood
  • Having a minimum of 12 months of work experience in Singapore before applying for Singapore PR

Do not feel overwhelmed by the false claims and marketing gimmicks. There is no shortcut to getting a Singapore PR. Unlike PR systems for New Zealand and Australia, Singapore does not have any point system to judge applications for PR. But experts at Timcole can guide you to improve your chances of best communicating your values to the authorities.


GIP Scheme: What is it?

Launched by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Global Investor Program (GIP) is catered to entrepreneurs and interested investors who wish to initiate a business or invest in one in Singapore – and obtain a PR in the process. Children and spouses of these entrepreneurs and investors can also get Singapore PR as dependents.

PRs obtained under the Global Investor Program have the same NS liabilities as those who get PR under the PTS scheme. In general, a GIP application is considered strong if the applicant has an impressive business track record and entrepreneurial background.

Eligible applicants have the option to select one of the two investment options offered by the GIP program.

Option A: Spend S$2.5 million or more on a new business or expand an existing business in Singapore

When an applicant selects this option, he must submit a detailed 5-year plan for investment or business. It should include annual fiscal projections and employment details. It is also required that he outlines a list of business milestones, all of which he must fulfil within the five year period. Most importantly, the proposed business entity must be within the scope of one of the below industrial sectors:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Art Businesses
  • Automotive
  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals
  • Clean Technology/ Alternative Energy
  • Consumer Business
  • Electronics
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Engineering
  • Family Office and Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Infocomm
  • Marine and Offshore Engineering
  • Media
  • Medical Technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Performing Arts Businesses
  • Precision Engineering
  • Professional Services
  • Safety & Security
  • Space
  • Shipping
  • Sports Businesses
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Management
  • Visual Arts Businesses

Option B: Invest S$ 2.5 million or more in a GIP-approved fund that invests in companies based in Singapore

In this option, the applicant is expected to show S$2.5 million or more as an investment in a GIP-approved fund. Note that the fund must invest in Singapore-based businesses.

After an applicant chooses one of the two options and completes the GIP application, the authorities assess the application based on a few criteria. The assessment criteria include:

  • The applicant must have a minimum of 3 years of business or entrepreneurial experience. In addition, he must be able to provide the last 3 years’ audited financial statements for the company.
  • The company turnover should not be any less than S$50 million in the most recent year before the application. Moreover, the average turnover per annum should be over S$50 million for 3 preceding years.
  • The applicant needs to provide financial statements of his company with the maximum turnover. To meet the minimum turnover criteria, he may also decide to consolidate the businesses and ensure that all of them belong to one or more approved industries.
  • If the applicant’s company is privately held, he should have 30% or more shareholding in the business. Authorities will not only consider the applicant’s role in the firm but will also assess the company’s growth and profitability.

GIP Application Re-entry Permit: Validity

Upon successful completion of the PR status, a GIP applicant will get a Re-Entry Permit (REP) for a 5 year period. This permit will enable them to travel in and out of the country without losing their PR status. After the first 5 years, the REP can be renewed for three or 5 years. However, the renewals are subject to the following conditions:

Conditions for 3-year REP Renewal:

  • The candidate must have fulfilled conditions for GIP Option A or Option B; and
  • Either has a Singapore-based business with 5 or more Singaporean employees and have spent at least S$1 million as annual business spending;
  • Or meet the 2.5 years minimum residency period by either the candidate or a minimum of one dependent PR under GIP.

Conditions for 5-year REP Renewal:

The candidate must have fulfilled conditions for GIP Option A or Option B; and

  • Have a Singapore-based business with five or more Singaporean employees and have spent at least S$1 million as annual business spending; and
  • Both GIP candidates and their dependent PRs must have lived in Singapore for 2.5 years or more.


PTS or GIP: Which is Better?

Getting a Singapore permanent residency is no longer easy. Now, the ICA is screening applications to find only those candidates who are willing to call Singapore their home. This is why the PR approval rates have plummeted significantly over the last few years. Even though no one can guarantee a Singapore PR, professionals at Timcole can help you make a flawless PR application, thus reducing your chances of rejection.

First of all, you must decide which scheme you wish to apply for: PTS or GIP? Surely, PTS is the faster and more preferred way to gain PR for the country-state. On the other hand, GIP is a more guaranteed method of obtaining permanent residency. However, the scheme is aimed toward the super-rich, who can afford business expenses of S$1 million or more annually.

Generally, PR applications through PTS can take as little as 2 weeks but sometimes it can take as long as 2 years. GIP applications take between 6 months to 1 year. It is to be noted that the GIP application is more tedious as it demands numerous submissions in the form of forms, plans, and interviews.


Factors that impact Singapore PR Approval

The longer you have resided in the country-state, the better your chances of getting PR approval. Another factor that can positively contribute to your application is your history of contribution to Singapore society. It may be a smart idea to shift to Singapore using immigration options such as the Entrepreneur Pass, Singapore Employment Pass, or the Personalized Employment Pass and then work towards a PR.

Your chances of getting a successful PR will increase if you are from a proximate region such as Malaysia. ICA trusts that Singapore and Malaysia share a similar history, background, and culture. Therefore, Malaysians will be able to easily integrate into Singapore society.

An exception will apply when an applicant has a male child for whom they have not made a PR application. ICA does not favour such applications as second-generation PRs are liable for NS.

Every month, ICA receives hundreds of PR applications. So, your application may be rejected even if you feel very qualified to be a Singapore PR. For, Singapore does not judge its residency applications based on a points system – unlike New Zealand and Australia. You can, however, strengthen your application and better convince the authorities by employing a professional residency service provider like Timcole.

Finally, only apply for Singapore permanent residency if you love living in the country-state and are willing to call it your forever home. Once you obtain the Singapore PR and maintain the status for two years, you will be eligible to apply for Singapore citizenship.


Timcole maximizes your chance of getting a Singapore PR

Everything said and done, the permanent residency application process in Singapore is much like a lottery. Even though using a PR agency can help polish your application, no one can maximize your chances of getting the application approved. If you submit a straightforward application stating how you meet all the criteria, you may be successful. Singapore screens and rejects applications that lack information or indicate the candidate’s eagerness to reside in Singapore.