Effective 1 May 2020, the Ministry of Manpower Singapore (MOM) will be adjusting the minimum salary for foreign professionals to qualify for an Employment Pass (EP) to be raised to $3,900 per month (from $3,600 presently). This is in part due to the tightening of rules for hiring foreign workers as part of efforts to assure Singaporeans that they are competing on a level playing field.
This issue of maintaining a balanced approach in hiring foreign talent to complement Singapore's manpower requirement was debated in parliament recently. As inbound Singapore immigration specialists, we are fortunate to be in a position to analyse the situation from both sides.
So how will this impact Singapore Permanent Residence / Citizenship application?
Following on from our recent nomination acceptance in the APAC Insider Singapore Business Awards 2020, the judging panel have made their final decisions and have awarded Immigration@SG LLP
Best Immigration Consultancy Firm 2020 - South East Asia
About APAC Insider Singapore Business Awards
The Singapore Business Awards recognises hard-working individuals within the Lion City who allow Singapore to remain a major financial hub in the Asia Pacific region. Although Singapore is known for its FinTech and manufacturing sector,APAC Insider takes pride in accepting nominations from every firm regardless of size or industry enabling even the smaller sized firms and those within niche industries the chance to receive the recognition they deserve.
Effective 1 March 2020, more qualified investors can look to fast-tracking their permanent resident status (PR) under the new rules governing the Global Investor Programme (GIP). The GIP, an initiative administered by Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), was first introduced in 2004 and grants Singapore Permanent Resident status to eligible global investors who intend to drive their businesses and investment growth from Singapore.
To qualify, applicants need to showcase substantial business track record and possess a solid, successful entrepreneurial background.
So what are the new changes being implemented?
Singapore has climbed to the top of the annual world rankings for competitiveness, this time, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The city-state beat the United States, Hong Kong and the Netherlands to the spot.
The Global Competitiveness Report evaluates countries along 12 basic pillars, including the strength of their institutions, capability for innovation and workforce skills among others. They key takeaways for us as Immigration professionals are :
- The pillars which Singapore ranked highly at are in tandem with the key reasons for individuals to settle in Singapore as PRs or Citizens
- There is much room for improvement in the areas of labour markets and the foreign talent policies
- While having the ability to attract MNCs and Tech bigwigs such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, the local talent pool may not offer the necessary expertise these companies require
- The gap between the skills of its current and future workforce underscores the need for lifelong learning
Some of the pointers above present opportunities in sharpening the talent pool and funneling only qualified applicants to attain Singapore PR and Citizenship approvals. This also echoes what the authorities have been implementing in the last few years thru the Selective Immigration policy. As Immigration professionals, we value add to our clients by applying well-thought out strategies backed by research and current affairs. We identify key areas in our client profiles to present to ICA through a solid Singapore PR / Citizenship documents package.
The result? Our stellar track record.
The Singapore Department of Statistics have recently released their Population in Brief (PIB) 2019 Report with fresh data on Singapore’s population. It provides key updates and trends on Singapore’s population, particularly in relation to citizenship marriages, births and Immigration.
As Immigration Specialists who meet hopeful Singapore PR and Citizenship applicants daily, our industry insights has once again proved vital in assisting many of our clients attain approval for the year 2019. As we deep dive into the data presented in these reports we would like to bring focus on the following findings :
1) Singapore's Citizen Population continues to age. In tandem, our resident old-age support ratio stands higher. The citizen population grew by 0.8%, to reach 3.50 million citizens as of Jun 2019. The citizen population continues to age, with 16.0% aged 65 and above compared with 15.2% last year.
2) The PR population remained relatively stable with an increase in the total number of PRs in Singapore from 522,300 to 525,300. The non-resident population grew by 2.0%, to reach 1.68 million as of Jun 2019. This was mainly attributed to foreign employment growth due to sustained growth in Services and the turnaround in Construction.
3) 22,550 Singapore Citizens (SCs) and 32,710 PRs were granted between June 2018 - June 2019 (an increase from the year before)
4) The majority of our new PRs granted are in the prime working ages of 21-40 years
5) Southeast Asian and Other Asian Countries makes up 93% of total quote allocation
How does one then take advantage of increasing opportunities for their Singapore PR / Citizenship application to be given strong consideration for Approvals?
A hundred days of protests (and counting) in Hong Kong has pummeled and bruised its economy, causing a surge in migration applications from locals within the Special Administrative Region (SAR). Closer to home, Immigration@SG LLP has recorded about 20%-25% increase in immigration inquiries of all forms. This include possible Employment switch, as well as Singapore Permanent Residency. Additionally, we have also entertained interests from several business owners on business relocation and bringing investments into Singapore.
The Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore laid out plans to pilot Tech@SG, a targeted programme to help grow technology companies in Singapore and expand regionally.
The sectors in focus includes those in digital, medtech, biotech, cleantech, agritech and fintech where professionals equipped with skills in frontier technology, such as Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Internet of Things will be in high demand.
In lieu of of such specific talent requirements, how does this affect the Singapore PR and Citizenship application landscape?
In a forum letter posting in the Straits Times, a foreigner-Singaporean couple expressed their frustrations over the elusive nature of securing a Long-Term Visit Pass and/or a Singapore Permanent Residence over multiple attempts.
They further cited that they hope for the authorities, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) to consider various other factors on top of monthly salary and income. Like them, many of the clients we meet on a daily basis unfortunately also have this 'false understanding' of actual evaluation criteria.