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Immigration through Investment to Singapore

The Republic of Singapore is an island country 137 km north of the equator. Singapore is the world’s fourth leading financial centre and a cosmopolitan world city, playing a key role in international trade and finance. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world. Singapore has a long history of immigration. It has a diverse population of close to 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Asians of various descents, and Caucasians. 42% of the population in Singapore are foreigners who work and study there. Foreign workers make up 50% of the service sector. The country is the second most densely populated in the world after Monaco. A.T. Kearney named Singapore the most globalised country in the world in 2006 in its Globalization Index. Before independence in 1965, Singapore was a vibrant trading port with a GDP per capita of USD 511, the third highest in East Asia then.
After independence, foreign direct investment and a state-led drive for industrialization created a modern economy. The Economist Intelligence Unit in its “Quality-Of-Life Index” ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world. Singapore possesses the world’s ninth largest foreign reserves. The country also maintains armed forces that are technologically advanced and well-equipped. After a contraction of -6.8% in the 4th quarter of 2009, Singapore claimed the title of fastest-growing economy in the world, with GDP growth of 17.9% in the first half of 2010.

Immigration to Singapore, Permanent Residence in Singapore

There are a number of schemes to obtain Permanent Resident status available for non-Singaporeans:

  1. Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker Scheme, administered by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority;
  2. The Global Investor Program, administered by the Contact Singapore, an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Ministry of Manpower. Applications for Permanent Residency under both the Financial Investor Program and the Global Investor Program are subject to the final assessment and approval of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

Elma Global does not work with professional category of immigration to Singapore. That is why this article will concentrate on two “immigration through investment routes”.

Global Investor Program – Who Can Apply?

To qualify for Global Investor Program the applicant must:

  1. Have a substantial entrepreneurial and business track record of at least three years, to be evidenced by audited accounts of the applicant’s company for the last three years: the turnover of the applicant’s company must be at least SGD 50,000,000 per annum in the most recent year, and at least SGD 50,000,000 per annum on average for the last three years; and where the chosen investment is in a new business startup or expansion of an existing operation, the applicant will need to submit the audited financial statements of the relevant company at the end of the second and fourth year of his investment. For construction and real estate businesses the turnover of the applicant’s company must be at least SGD 200,000,000 per annum.
  2. Senior corporate managers will no longer qualify to take part in the program (effective from 2011).
  3. In addition, the applicant must: invest at least SGD 2,500,000 in Singapore.
  4. The investments above have to be maintained for five years and the business plans must be approved by Contact Singapore.

Immigration to Singapore of Family Members

The applicant for the Permanent Residency in Singapore may include their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age) in the same application. The applicant’s parents and parents-in-law are eligible for Permanent Residency at an additional investment of SGD 300,000 per person under your application. Interestingly enough, Singapore is the only country in the world that allows simultaneous immigration of investor and his parents under the same application. In many other countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc, despite their democratic slogans) immigration of parents is a big problem even for investors.

Citizenship and Passport of Singapore

Persons holding Permanent Residency may apply for Singapore citizenship after residing in Singapore for two years. At the same time it should be kept in mind that Singapore is a strict single citizenship country. Legislation of Singapore does not recognize and directly prohibits dual citizenship. So, in case you wish to become a citizen of Singapore you will be expected to renounce your previous citizenship.

The article was last updated in July, 2014.

Questions on Temporary and Permanent Residence in Singapore:

Question: I would like to re-locate to Singapore. Could you please advise me the best option for me to apply for Singapore PR?
Answer: There two major ways of business immigration – Global Investor Program and EntrePass. Global Investor Program is rather expensive. In a nutshell, the program requires investment of at least SGD 2,500,000 on the territory of Singapore. Moreover, the annual turnover of the applicant’s company must be no less than SGD 50,000,000. If you are not able to meet these strict criteria then the only way of business immigration is to establish a new company in Singapore and apply for EntrePass. The minimum investment that is required is 50,000 SGD (paid up capital). Our legal fee is 3,000 USD for company incorporation and 7,000 USD for assistance with obtaining EntrePass (which is a temporary residence permit). See information about EntrePass eligibility criteria at EntrePass official information. After 6 months with EntrePass you will be able to apply for a status of permanent resident in Singapore.

Question: I am a citizen of China. I feel interested in obtaining permanent residence by incorporating a Singapore’s representative office or branch office if possible. Would you please kindly tell me the requirements respectively? And which way is more cost-effective?
Answer: Permanent Resident status can be obtained based on SGD 2,500,000 investment. More real immigration scenario is obtaining Employment Pass or EntrePass (after 6 month or physical residence in Singapore with Employment Pass or EntrePass you may apply for permanent residency). To get EntrePass you must be a shareholder (in this case branch or subsidiary of Chinese company will not be suitable). If you want use your current company you may open a representative office in Singapore provided your company is older than 3 years, has an annual turnover of more than SGD 250,000, and provided your company can submit an audited financial statements for the last year. This immigration route is cheaper than with company incorporation, our legal fee will be only 6,000 USD, but this is a temporary solution because after three years your Chinese company will be expected to incorporate a branch in Singapore. Employment Pass/EntrePass seems to be an optimal immigration solution.

Elma Global in cooperation with immigration lawyers based in Singapore can assist you in relocation to Singapore under any investment option available. If you have any questions or wish to use our legal assistance contact us today


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