The heavy hand of the Singapore Law weighs down with no remorse on applicants looking to dupe the authorities by falsifying/withholding information pertaining Singapore PR / Citizenship or Work Pass applications. This week alone, two cases made the headlines with the perpetrators dealt with accordingly.
This news report is likely causing a stir among hopeful Singapore Permanent Residence and Citizenship applicants, regardless if they are applying on their own or through immigration professionals. We understand that immigration is a big decision for individuals, families, and businesses. This is not a game.
How then should we restore back trust to the selection process as a result of the doings of rogue individuals and immigration consultancies endorsing such conduct as highlighted in the report?
While we are pretty sure the relevant authorities are working tooth and nail to tighten up these loose ends, we must also do our part to ensure due diligence in partnering individuals and companies.
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.
We have come to the midpoint of 2019 and looking back, the first 6 months of the year has been eventful for IASG and our clients. As at end June, we have seen a record number of PR and Citizenship approvals in the firm compared to the year before, with a large portion of approvals coming from our Indian clients as well.
This came as a surprise, considering the highly competitive quotas available for Indian applicants. We also note that there have been increased approvals for applicants with certain specific skill-sets from the few industry and sectors mapped for growth and talent development. They include, but not limited to applicants from the Information Technology, Banking & Finance, as well as Engineering industries to name a few.
While the Singapore Government reviews all cases holistically, we can also attribute the success we bring for our clients down to a few key factors:
1) We put considerable time understanding each of our customer profile
2) We invest emphatically on research in relation to understanding Singapore's short, middle, and long term economic and talent requirement - which is detrimental to strategizing each application
Step 1 – Understand Annual Quotas and Selective Immigration Policy
With approximately 30,000 quotas annually set aside for new Singapore Permanent Residences, the Singapore Government adopts highly stringent yet strategic sets of parameters in evaluating potential candidates for approval.
These parameters are reviewed holistically and there is no single parameter that is more important than another – contrary to popular belief that the Singapore Government only evaluates applicants based on their income ceiling.
Singapore’s Selective Immigration policy is built on a firm notion that views immigrants not only as a booster for the local workforce but also as a solution to address our rapidly ageing population. While the government has put in place policies aimed at increasing our birth rates, at present, Singapore remains open to controlled immigration in order to fill the population gaps, as documented in the Population White Paper.
With the euphoria of Singapore's recent bicentennial commemorative S$20 note dying down, we can take a step back and reflect on the luminaries who made modern Singapore what it is today. These individuals displayed resolute strength and grit to carve out a better life for themselves and their families. Interestingly, they all had one thing in common - all were immigrants.
Be it for commerce or cultural exchanges, Singapore's geographic locality and safe harbour has contributed much to her growth. Throughout time, Singapore has always been the port of call in the region. Today, it still is.
As of June 2018, close to 40% of residents in Singapore are foreigners. With a country that does not have natural resources, Singapore has to look to human capital to propel its economic engine forward - and that is exactly what the Selective Immigration policy is set out to do - to get the right profiles of candidates in via Permanent Residence or Citizenship.