It is one of the Singaporean government’s objectives to attract talent to live and work in the country. The government’s intention is for foreigners to make Singapore their home by becoming permanent residents.
There are defined categories of foreigners who are eligible to apply for permanent residence. These include:
- Investors and Entrepreneurs under the Global Investor Program
- Employment Pass Holders under the Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS)
- Spouses and unmarried children of a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident
- Aged parents of a Singapore citizen
Foreigners interested in working and living in Singapore may apply for in-principle approval for a residence permit by submitting an application before they enter Singapore, provided they satisfy the specific criteria. The advantage of obtaining permanent residence status is that the person is entitled to live and work in Singapore for at least five years.
A person holding an Employment Pass in Singapore may submit an application for permanent residence to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) after one year of employment and residence within Singapore. This is a very popular route for professional and highly skilled individuals, as no substantial investment is required to obtain these passes. Once permanent residence is obtained, the applicant no longer requires an Employment Pass, thereby giving the applicant more flexibility in his/her employment options.
Under the PTS, an applicant may include their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age in the permanent residence application.
The Global Investor Program is specifically for entrepreneurs or investors interested in making substantial financial investments in Singapore and is designed to attract wealthy foreign entrepreneurs and investors who wish to make Singapore their home.