Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Singapore PR Rejected? Appeal or not?

If your Singapore PR (Permanent Residency) is rejected recently, you are not alone. Singapore PR is an important step to immigrate to Singapore and rejection is a heart breaking experience after long months of waiting and maybe witnessing less qualified people getting approval. But nowadays it is though to get Singapore PR. Since 2009, fewer applications for Singapore PR and Singapore Citizenship are approved.

This is because in late 2009, Singapore Government decided to tighten the criteria for PR and citizenship, to better manage the inflow of foreigners. And they immediately took action! In 2008, 79,200 Singapore PR applications were approved. PR approval numbers sharply dropped down to 59,500 in 2009. This trend continued in 2010 and The Government granted only 29,265 permanent residents, more than a 50% drop compared to 2009. It is almost certain that this trend will continue in 2011 Singapore PR applications.

2010 numbers point to the lowest PR intake in at least five years:
The sharp drop in PRs is a result of the tightening of immigration policy in 2009 to better manage the inflow and quality of new immigrants, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng on Monday.
A policy change that drew clearer distinctions between the benefits citizens and PRs enjoy also 'underlines our principle that Singaporeans will enjoy priority over non-citizens', he said at the Singapore Perspectives 2011 conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies.
Source: The Straits Times  Jan 18, 2011

Number of Singapore PRs approved per year (2001 - 2010)
It is also interesting to note that the number of Singapore permanent residents has almost doubled in the last 10 years, from 287,500 in 2000 to 541,000 in 2010:
Most of the increase is accounted for by immigrants from Malaysia and the Indian subcontinent, according to census data released by the Department of Statistics yesterday.
The share of Indians in the PR ethnic mix climbed from 14.9 per cent in 2000 to 20.4 per cent this year. In absolute numbers, they more than doubled, from 42,700 to 111,000.
The share of Chinese in the PR ethnic mix dropped from 76.1 per cent to 61.4 per cent, although the total number increased from 218,800 to 332,000.
For PRs of Malay ethnicity, the share dropped from 4.1 per cent to 3 per cent, although actual numbers went up from 11,800 to 16,000.
Most of the ethnic Chinese PRs in Singapore hail from Malaysia.
Source: The Straits Times Sep 1, 2010 
This looks like sharp drop but Singapore is still one of the least stringent country in the  world in terms of approving PR. As far as I know Australia PR or Canada PR are more difficult.
Singapore is considered one of the best cities to live in Asia and many aspire to make this country their home forever by applying for Singapore Permanent Residence or Singapore Citizenship. While Singapore’s immigration policy remains open, the government wants to make sure that it takes in good quality candidates who can be better integrated into the Singapore society and who can contribute economically. There is no formula that guarantees success of an application. Each application is approved on a case-by-case basis.
Source:  GuideMeSingapore 
Singapore PR approval criteria, naturally, is not open to public and subject to change depending on the foreigner policies of The Government at a given time.  But there are some known factors playing significant role in approval or rejection.

For example although it is theoretically possible to apply to PR just after receiving several pay slips, it is wise to wait at least 6 months to 1 year and it is better to pay tax. When I see someone just arriving Singapore and working several months apply to Singapore PR, I always think that "giving Singapore PR to this guy has more good to him then to Singapore". Probably Immigration Officers feel the same when they see such an application on their desk. And do not confuse them with the typical government employees in your homeland, Singapore Government jobs are so attractive that very bright people compete for them and get them.

Refer to Guide Me Singapore PR articles for more information. They have valuable information there:

The first question that typically comes to the mind of majority of the work pass holders: when can I apply for my Singapore PR? Theoretically, you can apply for Singapore permanent residence the day you start working in the country as an EP holder. However, one of the requirements is to provide salary slips that go back six months from your Singapore employer which means should wait at least six months.

In practical terms, how soon you can apply for PR status also depends on the type of work pass you are holding and the unofficial annual quota set by the government. If you are holding a P1 pass, your chances of approval are high if you apply after 1 year. If you are holding a P2 pass, you are likely to have a good chance if you apply after 2 years. If on the other hand, you are holding a Q or S pass, it’s recommended that you apply after 3 years to have a decent chance of approval. Also, make sure you are in good terms with your employer at the time of filing your PR application. One of the sections in the application form is to be completed by the employer. 
Source: Guide Me Singapore  Singapore Permanent Residence – PTS Scheme 
So what to do after rejection? Although there is an option of appeal after rejection, it will have very little effect on the decision if something about you did not change dramatically since your application (i.e. a significant pay increase, an upgrade in work permit, etc.)   But this does not mean you cannot try again. It is important to wait for the period stated in the rejection letter. If they say apply 2 years later, wait for 2 years. But before 2 years time if you have a significant upgrade in job, company, salary, etc. you may apply again after 1 year. If no time period is stated in the letter, you need to wait at least 6 months (from the date of the rejection letter) before trying your chance again.

Singapore PR approval also depends on timing of the application. Do not forget that this is designed to benefit Singapore and there are quotes for races, professional skills, etc.

Yes race is important. Singapore wants to keep its race balance. If Singapore approves more applications from a certain race and the proportion of this race increases for a period, ICA would probably be more selective on this race for the following period of time until desired balance is achieved again. For example Indian PR's rate increased from 14% to 20% percent probably due to Singapore's desire to be competitive in IT in pre 2008 boom times. It is probably now harder for an Indian to get PR compared to a Chinese or Malay if everything else is equal.

Currently we are in the following years of high PR intake period (2005 - 2008). And The Government as well as Singaporeans think that they need to slow down the intake.

See also Part 2: Singapore PR (Permanent Residency) rejected? What to do?.

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