Saturday, October 1, 2011

Number of Singapore PRs down in 2011

Recently announced Singapore population trends 2011 report revealed that as of end June 2011, there are 9,000 less Singapore Permanent Residency holders compared to 2010. This is despite the population increase in Singaporeans and foreigners. And this is the first time in last 20 years that Singapore PR population shrinks. As we have covered by early 2011, 2011 and next years are not the best times to apply for Singapore PR since The Government has started to tighten criteria for PR after a record PR approval of nearly 80,000 in 2008. And that article was long before the Singapore General Election of 2011. In this election, Singaporeans openly expressed their frustration with the unsustainable increase in number of foreigners and PRs in the past 5 years. The topic was so hot that, after the election, it will not be surprising to see the PR criteria will be tightened more.

We are now looking at the consequences of tightened immigration policy before the election (the population numbers are just 2 months after election). Next population figures may show more significant declines. This does not mean no one is getting PR. Singapore PR is practically given for 5 years and some of those who already got PR are not renewed for a second time. Because of the clear advantages of being a citizen over PR many PRs are becoming citizens.(This explains the increase in the Singaporean population. Singapore's fertility rate is so low that there should be a decrease. But since PRs convert to citizenship, it has increased).

But it is well probable that we will be looking at even less PR approval figures in 2011 compared to 29,000 approvals of 2010. Slowdown in new PR approvals may also partially contribute to the jump in foreigner population since foreigners on valid work permit visa cannot easily convert to PR now and stay as foreigners.

The best time to apply for Singapore PR was the large PR intake window of boom years, from 2005 to 2008. It may look a newcomer like the criteria is tightened but actually the 2005-2008 period of boom years were looser and things went back to normal.

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