Since the Covid-19 virus hit our shores in early 2020, we have observed increased inquiries from foreigners. This includes Singapore work pass holders already working in Singapore, existing Singapore PRs and Citizens who are looking to sponsor their loved ones, as well as investors / business owners looking to set up operations in Singapore for the first time, with the objective of securing PR and possible Citizenship in the future.
The number of scams in the first five months of 2020 has increased to almost 30 times compared to the same period last year in Singapore with eCommerce scams proving to be the most common in the first three months of the year, with "Covid-19 related items" accounting for about one in four such cases.
Fake loan schemes were another common tactic as scammers got away with at least $41.3 million in total between January and March this year.
In this unprecedented times, it is common that unfortunate individuals gets taken advantage of in view of their desperation to attain specific objectives. For us in the Immigration Consultancy business, it is no different. Recently, the Straits Times reported
We are living in a time whereby foreigners who are presently on valid work passes are worried about the stability of their jobs and their ability to continue supporting their families' livelihood in Singapore. While the situation with Covid-19 and its impact on global economies is beyond control, securing Permanent Residence in Singapore is one way which enables these foreigners to continue plying their trade here, without having to go back to their home countries.
How do foreigners ensure that the consultancies and agencies supporting their endeavors to secure Singapore Permanent Residence and/or Citizenship are trustworthy? A good and quick audit to help you is to spend a little bit of time doing some research and ask yourselves :
We have come to the time again for Singapore to vote for a new government. Dubbed the 'Pandemic Elections', for the first time ever, the Singapore General Elections will be held amidst a global setback as Singapore looks to a progressive government that can ride us all out of this storm, together.
Singapore has retained the top spot as the World's most competitive economy in the latest edition of the Institute for Management Development's (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking. This comes amid the flurry of uncertainties plaguing businesses and whole economies globally, due to Covid-19.
The Global Competitiveness Report evaluates an annual list of 63 economies, which analyses their ability to generate prosperity. Making up the top five after Singapore were Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong - which economists duly noted as illustrating the strength and resilience of many small economies, rather than a single major player in dealing with the pandemic.
IMD noted that the factors behind Singapore's success include its:
1) Strong economic performance (robust international trade and investment)
2) Progressive and inclusive Employment and Labour market measures
3) Relative ease of setting up business
4) Availability of skilled labour
5) Cutting-edge technological infrastructure
IMD also pointed out that it is key to note that Singapore's stable and quality education system also played key roles in the outcome of the rankings. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, speaking at an Enterprise Singapore event on Tuesday, said it was good to see that Singapore has managed to maintain its top position in overall global competitiveness. He however warned that Singapore must not be complacent, considering the volatility of the situation with Covid-19.
If you are looking to incorporate or expand your business to Singapore, look no further. Regardless whether you are a seasoned business professional or a budding entrepreneur, we are in a position to dispense the best advice on the various options available.
Setting up a business, especially if you are a non-Singaporean, requires that you be familiar with the policies and systems in place. As such, it may be worthwhile to engage the services of a professional firm to register your company in Singapore. This ensures that your business complies with local immigration laws and policies.
With its pro-business environment and laws, Singapore has established itself as a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting corporates both small and large as the choice destination to relocate.
As one of the world’s easiest places to do business, setting up in Singapore is seamless and efficient for both corporate or individual investors.
Why is Singapore an Ideal location for Business?
With mandatory lock-downs and work from home orders befalling us all globally, one key take away we can agree on is that the world needs to digitalise or die.
Part of the Digital Government Blueprint tabled back in 2018, the Smart Nation initiative is an ongoing digital revolution, that recognises how advancements in digital technologies are transforming the way we live, work and play. Singapore envisions Smart Nation to lead the economy powered by digital innovation, and a world-class city with a Government that provides citizens the best home possible, complying with their different and changing needs.
What Covid-19 has clearly showed the world is that at all levels (Enterprises, Schools, Workers, Students, Families) - we are all going digital. From the swift adoption of digital alternatives to the abrupt transition from traditional office to home office setup, the world is changing rapidly, and we will need to be ready to embrace 'new norms'.
As Immigration Professionals, the Circuit Breaker provided us with an opportunity to analyse how foreigners in Singapore can make use of this period to elevate their chances of securing Singapore PR / Citizenship. Simply by knowing how to put together a compelling case profile, candidates with the right skill-sets and experience can stand out from other applicants.
Further, Singapore is already looking ahead to overcome this pandemic with resilience and fortitude. To do this, Singapore cannot do it alone. In the last few weeks, Ministers from the various government bodies have reaffirmed how vital, foreign talent contribution is to the economy.
If you are keen to apply for either Singapore Permanent Residence or Citizenship, you can take light that to date, there are no major policies that has been meted out to freeze nor reduce annual approval quotas. On the contrary, below are some reasons why Singapore probably needs you if you have a strong Digital / Tech background :
As Singapore nears the end of the Circuit Breaker measures, the impact that the virus has both economically and socially has been highly apparent. This does not only affect our well-being and way of life, but also business and economic confidence, as well as the ability of the Singapore government to see this through with the least impact on Singapore as an economic powerhouse.
As Immigration Consultants, we face increased concerns from existing foreign talent in Singapore (Professionals holding on to Employment Passes and S-Pass only) with regards to their job stability and likelihood of them continuing to contribute their expertise to Singapore.
This comes amidst recent reports on how organizations are trying to hold on to their foreign workforce despite cost pressures from the circuit breaker. In lieu of preserving jobs for locals and PRs, HR experts weigh in on how foreign talent could be the first to go, when push comes to shove.
So, Are Foreign Talents here to stay in Singapore post Circuit Breaker and Covid-19?
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?