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Singapore permanent residence schemes

Updated time: 03 Jan, 2017, 16:14 (UTC+08:00)

Every year, thousands of people become Singapore permanent residents, but not all go through the same application process. A permanent-residence application can be made for a whole family (ie the applicant plus their spouse and unmarried children under 21). The lure of gaining Singapore permanent residence through a variety of schemes has convinced thousands of foreigners from diverse backgrounds to set up home in the island-state, one of Asia’s most stable and developed countries and a key financial hub.

As of June 2013, the number of permanent residents in Singapore is estimated to be about 524,600 from a population of about 5.6 million people, and the numbers are increasing (accurate for 2016). Although most foreigners apply for permanent residence after working in Singapore for few years, there are other paths leading you to Singapore permanent-resident status.

This guide provides an overview of the different types of permanent-residence schemes available in Singapore so you can decide on the one that best suits your needs and circumstances. As a permanent resident of Singapore, you would enjoy most of the benefits and rights afforded to citizens. The range of benefits includes the right to live in the country without visa restrictions, higher-priority public schooling for your children, more freedom to buy property and participation in the retirement-fund scheme etc. At the same time, you are required to make certain commitments, such as sending your sons (if any) to compulsory two-year military service once they reach 18 years old.

Singapore permanent-residence scheme for individuals working in Singapore

The Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme ( “PTS scheme”) is for foreign professionals who are working in Singapore at the time of applying for permanent residence. The PTS scheme is the easiest and most assured route to attaining permanent residence in Singapore.

The key requirement 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 the type known as Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass.

You must show a minimum of six months’ payslips, which means that you must have worked in the country for at least six months before applying.

Singapore permanent-residence scheme for investors

You can also invest your way to Singapore permanent residence through an investment scheme known as the Global Investor Programme (“GIP scheme”). Under this scheme, you may apply for permanent residence for you and your immediate family by starting a business with a minimum investment of

SG$2.5 million, or investing a similar sum in an established business in Singapore.

At present, under the GIP scheme, you can choose from two investment options.

  • Option A: Invest at least SG$2.5 million in a new business start-up or expansion of an existing business operation.
  • Option B: Invest at least SG$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund.

Apart from the minimum funds you invest, you must also meet certain other criteria such as having a good business track record, an entrepreneurial background and a business proposal or investment plan.

Also read: How to set up a company in Singapore?

Singapore permanent-residence scheme for foreign artistic talent

Singapore’s arts scene has been rapidly growing over recent years, as the country is aiming to be the region’s arts hub. If you are talented in any arts, including photography, dance, music, theatre, literature or film, you can apply for permanent residence through the Foreign Artistic Talent scheme. To qualify for this scheme, you must be a well-recognised artist in your own country, preferably with an international reputation, and possess the relevant training in your field of practice. You must also have made significant contributions to Singapore’s arts and cultural scene, including a strong track record of local engagements at leadership level, and have concrete plans to be involved in the Singapore arts and cultural sector.

In summary

The Government of Singapore welcomes the arrival of professionals and other foreigners who are able to make a positive contribution to the country’s development and economy in many different ways. There are various permanent-residence schemes in place to help you obtain Singapore permanent residence through the means that is most relevant to your situation.

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