Tips & Tricks: Expat Tips
Expat Tips on immigration issues

Query: Is there a source on the net or otherwise where I can find an analysis of Singapore Permanent Residency? Does it make sense for an expat to pursue this? One of the downsides if children take permanent residency is an obligation for National Service in Singapore. Are there upsides?

Tip:  Firstly, Singapore Immigration has a useful website with more information. (editor's note: website is at www.mha.gov.sg/sir).
Some of the advantages of getting Singapore PR are:
1. being able to borrow 80% of your housing loan from the bank if you are thinking of buying property in Singapore
2. depending on your long-term goals, SPRs also get to contribute to their CPF (the employer's contribution is also added to the employee deduction) -- the result is "enforced" savings which grows pretty rapidly, and from which you could use for mortgage payments for your home, purchasing unit trusts/stocks, etc. (I used to wonder how Singaporeans could afford
to purchase such expensive homes, at least compared with North American standards, and i think one of the reasons is because of CPF which can grow to quite a large sum after several years of work.

3. being able to deduct the amount of your CPF contribution to lower your taxable income, thus vastly reducing your Singapore taxes (this of course, depends on what your tax status is in your home country, i.e. whether you are liable for taxation on world wide income at your home country's tax rates, or whether you declared non-resident of your home country for tax purposes)
4. being able to get a long term social visit pass for your parents to stay with you in Singapore
5. if you are thinking of staying in Singapore in the longer term beyond your expat contract expiration, then why not start the SPR process ASAP and get a headstart into becoming a Singaporean
Most expats do not get the CPF deducted from their monthly paychecks and at the end of their contract, a lump sum gratuity is paid, which is taxable during that year. Of course, although reason (2) above talks about the higher rate of savings, one thing to bear in mind is that the percentage of CPF deductions is staggered during the first two years that you receive your SPR, so that you only get the full CPF deduction/contribution (same as other Singaporeans) in your 3rd year as a SPR.
- submitted by May

Tip: One main reason I know of why expats go for PR is security. As it stands at the moment, if you lose your current job your permit gets cancelled and you get probably a maximum of a few weeks to either find another job or get politely asked to exit by the Govt. If you have PR then you are basically allowed to stay around which gives you much more time to find another job which suits you, rather than having to re-patriate back to where you came from. Also means that if you choose to change jobs in Singapore that you don't have to apply for a new emp pass (and run the risk of being rejected) and you don't have to pay off all your outstanding tax.
- submitted by Rob

Query: My wife has preliminarily been offered a teaching job in Singapore and I am finding it increasingly difficult to get solid information on whether I will automatically get a dependancy visa to come out - the ministry of manpower website info says it would be automatic but friends and contacts we have in Singapore seem to suggest otherwise? - Rod Wyatt

Tip: The Immigration Department changed its rule about granting husbands a dependant pass early this year. A couple of years ago it was quite difficult for a husband to get a dependant pass in Singapore. However, if a male expat was offered a job in Singapore and was sponsored by his employer, his wife and kids could easily get dependant passes. Since your wife is going to be a teacher over here, her employer should send her all of the necessary immigration paperwork for her to fill out, before she come over ie. an Application Form for her employment pass and Application Forms for dependant passes for yourself and your daughter. Your wife's employer should sponsor you and your daughter to come out here.
If your wife's employer is a bit slack and slow off the mark, they might ask you all to come over on tourist visas first, and then once you arrive, they will try to get your wife a Temporary Employment Pass. Some employers don't get the paperwork rolling until the expat employee and his/her family arrive. At worst, you and your child can apply for a long term social visit pass. These are usually granted to boyfriends/girlfriends of foreign employees who want to come over to Singapore to be with their partners or to family members of the employee.
- submitted by HR Manager

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