Immigration in Singapore - Company Setup and Immigration
Immigration in SingaporeUpdated on Monday 26th July 2021
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Whether you have obtained a job opportunity in Singapore, or want to invest here on a long-term basis, or want to relocate here for the purpose or reuniting with family members or for any other reasons, you will need to verify the legislation on immigration in Singapore.
The manner in which a foreigner will immigrate to Singapore will be completed based on the category in which the person can be integrated into. A foreigner living in this country is also entitled to obtain the permanent residency and there are several categories of foreigners who can become permanent residents of the country.
This provides a set of attractive benefits, especially when we consider that Singapore is one of the most developed economies of the world, having one of the highest standards of living. If you need counselling when relocating here, our team of lawyers in Singapore can help you.
How can one receive the permanent residence in Singapore?
The advantage of having permanent residency as a foreigner in Singapore provides numerous benefits, one of them being that the foreigners will be able to work and live here following the same procedures available for local citizens. More importantly, the rules for immigration in Singapore stipulate that a permanent resident will be able to travel without applying for specific types of visas. Some of the basic legal pathways for obtaining the permanent residence are the following:
- a foreign applicant can apply for himself/herself, but also for his or her family members, including for children with an age below 21 years old;
- the legislation on immigration in Singapore allows investors to obtain the permanent residency under the Investor Scheme (formally known as the Global Investor Program);
- persons who will arrive in Singapore for the purpose of working here are also entitled to the permanent residency if they have an Employment Pass or an Entrepreneur Pass;
- most of the permanent residency requests done by foreign employees are completed through the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme;
- those applying for permanent residency must prepare a set of documents, including some from their Singaporean employer and such papers must be submitted to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.
What is the process of obtaining the residence permit in Singapore?
If you want to migrate to Singapore and you will need a residence permit, you will have to comply with the requirements mentioned above. However, regardless of the reason for which you need the residence permit, the legislation on immigration to Singapore stipulates that all applicants will have to follow the same steps.
The applications for residence permits are all done using the e-Service of the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority of Singapore. Depending on your legal situation, when applying, you will be using your Singpass account, which can also be issued for foreigners arriving here.
However, certain categories of foreigners that immigrate to Singapore will not have a Singpass account – this is the case of foreign students, who will have to use a Foreign Identification Number that there were issued upon their arrival in the country.
You must also be prepared to pay a processing fee, which is currently charged at the standard rate of S$100. Please mind that the applications are generally processed in a period of 4 to 6 months, but in some cases, it can take longer than 6 months. Our team of lawyers in Singapore can offer more information on the documents you should prepare for your residence permit application.
Can foreigners become citizens of Singapore?
As it is the case of other jurisdictions, Singapore grants the right to citizenship to foreigners. However, persons interested in becoming local citizens must be aware that the legislation on immigration in Singapore stipulates that once a foreigner becomes a Singaporean citizen, then he or she has to renounce his basic citizenship, as the national law does not allow dual citizenship.
Although the legal procedures regulating immigration to Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, becoming a Singaporean citizen can have multiple advantages. First, this country ranks as one of the most competitive economies of the world and it has a high quality of life. Having a Singaporean passport opens the possibility of accessing 189 other countries, and the holder of the passport can benefit from numerous liberal visa policies.
If you plan to immigrate to Singapore on a permanent basis, you must also be aware that only persons who have the quality of Singaporean citizens can purchase properties here that are subsidized by the Housing and Development Board.
With regards to properties, regardless if they are purchased or rented, there are specific differences between foreigners, permanent residents and Singaporean citizens, with the latter having the most of the advantages and this should be a matter that one should take into consideration if one wants to migrate to Singapore on a permanent basis.
How can our lawyers help you when moving in Singapore?
Our team of lawyers in Singapore can present the steps that are to be followed when applying for permanent residency and for becoming a citizen, but, prior to entering these processes, numerous steps must be concluded, such as: gathering the required paperwork, submitting it to the local immigration authorities, waiting for a decision and others.
Given that the legislation on immigration in Singapore is comprised of several categories, our lawyers can provide in-depth information on what type of legal pathway is best suited for you when moving here, based on your personal situation. Our law firm in Singapore can help businessmen in applying for a suitable investment scheme and we can also present the types of visas, some of them being the following: the Employment Pass Scheme, Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Scheme, Personalised Employment Pass Scheme, S Pass Scheme or the Dependent Pass Scheme.
Highlights on immigration in Singapore
Singapore is a country with a small population (of 6,209,660 persons in July 2020), being comprised mostly of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnic groups. The immigrant population accounts for a significant part of the overall population of the country, following the more relaxed immigration regulations that were taken under the applicable law, and some the highlights of the country’s demographics are presented below:
- in the 2000 census, it was revealed that the non-resident population accounted for 18,8% of the total population;
- between 1990 and 2000, the permanent residents population increased at a very fast pace (of 10%) compared to the Singaporean population (when we refer to Singaporean citizens), which increased only at a rate of 1,3% per year;
- the largest share of foreign permanent residents in 2000 was comprised of Chinese citizens (accounting for 220,762 person from a total permanent resident population of 290,118);
- the current net migration rate of the country (measured in 2020), is of 11,8 migrants pers 1,000 inhabitants;
- in 2019, there were 2,16 million immigrants living in Singapore.
How can foreign investors migrate to Singapore?
A category of foreigners that can opt to immigrate to Singapore is the one represented by foreign investors. With a highly competitive economy, Singapore welcomes foreign businessmen that can invest in specific economic sectors that are of importance for the local authorities.
For this, investors can apply for the Investor Scheme, as long as they can satisfy the minimum investment thresholds (S$2,5 million invested in a newly founded business that will operate as a startup; the same capital can also be used for investments in an approved fund that invests in Singaporean companies).
Besides this capital threshold, the requirements for immigration to Singapore impose that the investor must have at least 3 years of experience in the business environment and, if the businessman already has other companies operating in other countries, specific company documents will have to be disclosed as well.
If you are a foreign businessman and you want to invest in this country, our team of lawyers in Singapore can easily provide legal assistance and assist you in the process of opening a local company. If you want to migrate to Singapore for this purpose, you will have to prepare a business plan for your newly founded company for the first three years of activity and to include your projections for the respective period of time.
The application for this investment program will be processed in a period of 6 to 8 months; in this period of time, you can also expect to participate in an interview with the local authorities. If the application is successful, you will be issued with a temporary residence permit, valid for a period of 6 months. In the respective period of time, you will have to start the formalities for opening a business or investing in any of the funds that are approved for this investment program.
According to the law on immigration to Singapore, you will be issued with a permanent residence permit once all the formalities are completed. Please mind that you can also bring your family members to live in Singapore under this investment program. For more details on how to immigrate to Singapore, please send your inquiries to our law firm.
If you need more details on the legislation for immigration in Singapore, please address to our law firm. Our team of lawyers in Singapore will gladly provide you with the necessary answers you need and can also represent you in the process of relocating to this country, by applying for a suitable visa scheme.