Singapore Permanent Residence Scheme for Singapore Work Pass Holders

This is Part I of the step-by-step guide for Singapore Permanent Residence application filing for individuals holding an Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass in Singapore. Specifically, the scheme is known as Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker Scheme (or simply “PTS scheme”) and is the most commonly used amongst the available PR schemes.

In order to apply for permanent residence (PR) under PTS scheme, you must be an Employment Pass holder. You should be under 50 years old, although exceptions can be made on a case by case basis. The PTS scheme allows you to include your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years old in your application. The procedure to acquire Singapore permanent residence (PR) through the PTS scheme is straightforward, though it requires research, leg-work and attention to detail.

The following step-by-step guide will help you to tackle the Singapore PR application process with ease and confidence.

Step 1: Decide when to apply for PR

The first question that typically comes to the mind of the majority of work pass holders is "when can I apply for my Singapore PR"? Theoretically, you can make the application the day you start working in the country as an Employment Pass (EP) holder. However, one of the application requirements is to provide six months’ of payslips from your Singapore employer. This also  means that you should wait at least six months from the day you start work to apply for your PR.

Realistically, how soon you can apply for PR status also depends on the type of employment pass you are holding and the unofficial annual quota set by the government.

Also, do make sure you are in good terms with your employer at the time of submitting your PR application. The application form contains a section that is to be completed by the employer.

Step 2: Think about your chances of approval

Besides the type of employment pass you hold and how long you have been working in Singapore, there are other factors that are also taken into consideration by the authorities when reviewing your PR application. These include:

  • Your education background. Singapore authorities give a lot of weight to your degree and the institute from where you graduated.
  • Your physical stay in Singapore. The longer your physical stay in Singapore, the more the authorities are convinced that you plan to reside in Singapore permanently.
  • Your employment background and stability of your job
  • Credentials of your employer (the more established the company, the better)
  • Your salary and financial well-being
  • Your character (such as whether or not you are a law-abiding citizen)
  • Your family ties in Singapore. If you have family ties here, it is considered a positive factor.
  • Your charitable contributions to society such as volunteering, donations, etc.

Bottom line: The government wants to ensure that you are a law-abiding resident and that you will not become a burden on Singapore if you are granted a PR status. They want you to be an asset to the country.

Step 3: Decide on PR filing for your children

If you are married and have children, one of the important decisions you have to make is whether you want to apply for PR for your son(s).

As per Singapore laws, the main applicant (i.e. you) who is granted Singapore PR under the first generation PTS scheme is exempted from the compulsory military service. However, all healthy males that are granted PR status through their parents, must register for national military service when they reach the age of 16½ years old. They will be required to serve 2 years of full-time National Service followed by 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service per year until the age of 50 (for officers) or 40 years old (for other ranks).

Different parents view the National Service obligation differently. Some parents don’t mind it, thinking that the child will be stronger and more mature after the two years in service. Others are horrified at the thought of having their child go through any kind of military service. You will need to think carefully based on your own standpoint and decide accordingly, before you make any PR applications for your son(s).

Step 4: Download documents and review filing requirements

Once your eligibility is established and you have decided to proceed with PR application filing, the next step is to obtain the PR application forms and review submission requirements.

For your convenience, you can apply online by clicking here.  Specifically, download the two forms titled Form 4A and Accompanying Notes to Form 4A listed under PTS scheme.

Form 4A document consists of two parts: PR Application Form and Annex A. The first part (PR Application Form) is to be completed by you. It asks for yours and your family’s details, covering basic information as well as educational and professional history. The second part (Annex A) is for your employer, who must explain the nature of their business and confirm your employment and salary details. Your employer is not considered to be sponsoring your application. Later sections of this article will provide guidelines on completing the form.

The second document contains explanatory notes on Form 4A and this is the document you need to pay attention to first. Read this document and get ready to prepare the supporting documents as explained in the next section.

Step 5: Prepare supporting documents

The first order of business after you have downloaded and read the necessary documents is to submit the application online. You will need to start compiling the supporting documents. The list of supporting documents required is provided in the explanatory notes and documents list in Form 4A. Here are some additional helpful guidelines that you should take into account:

  • For each supporting document, make a scanned copy and keep the original handy as well. At the time of submitting the PR application online, you will be required to upload the scanned copies.
  • If you have any document that’s not in English, you must produce an official English translation of the document. The safest approach is to get it translated and stamped through your embassy. Make sure to scan the originals of both non-English and English translated versions of the document.
  • Previous employment appointment letters, performance evaluation reports, recommendation letters are useful. Contact your previous employer(s) if necessary.
  • If you have purchased a property in Singapore, include the documents that provide the necessary proof. This will be considered a positive factor both in terms of your financial position as well as your longer-term intention of staying in Singapore.
  • Make sure you also attach the most recent copy of your CV/Resume.
  • It is also a good idea to prepare a cover letter wherein you can articulate your love for Singapore, your financial and family stability, your decision to become Singapore PR, and a list of the supporting documents you are attaching with the application.

Bottom line: Singapore is big on paperwork and the accuracy of it. The more you provide the better. Once you have prepared copies and originals of all the required documents and you have taken into consideration the additional guidelines listed above, you are ready for the next step, i.e. filling out the PR application form.

Step 6: Completing the PR application form

The PR application form is not a complicated form to complete. Some helpful guidelines listed below should make it even easier:

  • Write down your education and employment history in chronological order.
  • In the education qualifications section, list out your high school diploma and anything higher. You do not need to list educational details prior to high school.
  • If you cannot produce an appropriate certificate for a degree or diploma education that you have completed, don’t list it. Otherwise, it might create unnecessary delays where authorities might send you a letter saying that you need to produce the necessary document for verification purpose in order to further process your application.
  • The details of your spouse and children would also be completed in the same PR application form. Even if you are not applying for PR for any of your family members (spouse or children), you will still need to provide their details in the application. For each of the family members, there is a field where you will indicate whether or not you are applying for PR for this family member.
  • Ask your employer to complete the Annex A (i.e. the last page of the PR application form titled “Annex A to Form 4A (Application for Permanent Residence)”). Completion of this form is to serve as confirmation that the information provided is accurate and valid and it does not imply Company’s Sponsorship.

Although the form states that it will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete, in reality, you will probably end up spending a few hours to complete the PR application form. The next part of this guide (Part II) will describe the actual submission procedure for the application as well as what to do once your PR application is approved or rejected.

Next Reading: Singapore PR Application Filing – Part II

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