The immigration rules in Singapore are quite complex. You need to be aware of these immigration rules if you plan to migrate or even if you just intend to visit the country and have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Outsiders who want to enter Singapore do not need a visa in advance. Incoming foreigners are required to have a return ticket, a valid supporting document, and sufficient money to cover airfare and other expenses when in Singapore.
Types of Immigration Visas
There are specific rules for particular foreigners with passports issued by an Assessment Level I country before entering Singapore.
PVP or Professional Visit Pass
Foreigners need a PVP or Professional Visit Pass to take a short-term professional assignment in Singapore. These visas are issued by Singapore immigration to a foreign professional who has found employment in Singapore and is about to begin work. A foreigner who is an organizer, speaker, moderator at a conference, a workshop leader or a religious leader needs a Professional Visit Pass to enter this country.
Training Visit Pass
The Training Visit Visa or pass is required for foreigners undergoing training in Singapore. The internship should be of a managerial, professional, specialist or executive nature. There is no charge for this Training Visit Pass if the visit is less than three months. Forty Singapore dollars is charged for visits longer than three months.
Social Visit Pass
The Social Visit Pass is required if you are a foreign national wanting a short stay in Singapore to attend a business negotiation or a job interview. You are not allowed to work in Singapore throughout this time. The Social Visit Pass is valid only for two to four weeks but can be renewed for up to three months.
Foreign executives, professionals, manager directors as well as shareholders who want to work in Singapore can apply for the Employment Pass or EP. Singapore immigration permits foreign entrepreneurs to apply for employment passes or visas only after they have established their company in Singapore.
This Employment Pass is provided to facilitate the stay and entry of entrepreneurs who are ready to begin new business in Singapore. The Singapore Employment Pass has a validity period of two years.
Foreigners who want to pursue full time studies in universities, schools or institutes of higher education in Singapore must apply for a Student Visa or Student Pass. The processing of this student pass will take about four weeks. The required documents for this visa or pass are listed below.
• Two copies of Form V103, Form 16, Form V396 as well as Form V39Q which are properly finished and signed by the local sponsor, applicant and the school at the pertinent section.
• Two recent copies of a passport-sized color photograph
• The original copy of the Letter of Acceptance from the school, university and institution of higher education in Singapore
• Passport copy
• Applicant’s official birth certificate
• Local sponsor identity card
As shared in Singapore Expat Forum last June 1, 2008:
Your spouse’s employer will arrange the visas, as the company will be his sponsor. You will fill out or sign forms, but the business of actually getting the visas won’t be your responsibility at all.
If you want to work yourself, you need to investigate your status as a ‘trailing spouse’. Some countries, like Japan, allow a trailing spouse to work. Others, like the US, usually don’t.
When your husband gets an offer, ask the company for an information packet of some sort. Singapore is bringing in so many workers that the employers should have this whole process down pat. There have even been articles about the population not even looking Chinese any more, since there are so many high tech workers coming in from all over the world, and so many construction workers from Indonesia.
The Employment of Foreign Workers, the Immigration Act and the Employment of Foreign Workers Act are the major sources of the immigration laws in Singapore. The Immigration Act is the basis of Singapore immigration policy and laws. Singapore has formed a generally excellent climate for foreign workforce and visitors.
The Singapore labor force and its immigration laws distinguish different categories of employees in terms of requirements, accessibility and validity of obtaining work permits. Special requirements are applied to definite types of work and for those nationals of countries historically known as sources of illegal migration in Singapore.
If you intend to work in Singapore, you should apply for the work permit in the Singapore immigration office. Potential employers should furnish a 5,000 Singapore dollar security deposit for all foreign workers except for those coming from Malaysia.
Singapore Permanent Residence
Permanent residence is usually sought by foreigners who experienced Singapore life before and who want to sustain living an excellent life. The Singapore government requires good education and other qualifications of a person who may respond to certain needs of Singapore’s economy. Policies and requirements are changed according to the nature of these economic needs. This is to make sure that the new Singapore citizens and permanent residents fit the relevant profile.
Singapore continues to welcome immigrants who can identify with the way of life of Singapore and whose diverse skills can contribute to the viability and vibrancy of their country.
Scheme for professional skilled workers and technical personnel
Permanent residents or the PR status, which is under the technical personnel, professional and skilled workers scheme, is granted to those who have secured employment in Singapore prior to permanent residents’ application. They can also hold employment passes. The applicant must be below fifty years old of age. The spouse as well as unmarried children who are below twenty-one years of age under the permanent resident policy can also apply for permanent status.
The entire population of applicants who are under this scheme will be evaluated by a point system that takes into account the class of employment. It will also consider your academic qualification, length of stay, monthly salary and kinship.
Global Investor Program in Singapore
The global investor program in Singapore is the easiest way for foreign entrepreneurs, investors and business executives to conduct and set up a business in Singapore. The EDB or Economic Development Board gives assistance in linking-up foreign investors and entrepreneurs with local business networks to create a wider range of opportunities for business collaborations. Through the Global investor program, you can tap into a range of immigration service that facilitates and enhances your stay in Singapore. This aspect is discussed in Singapore Expat Forum last August 13, 2009:
Setting up a restaurant in Singapore is certainly a viable business option. The F&B sector is a crucial element of the economy and the government aims at establishing Singapore as the gastronomic capital in the region by 2010. In fact, several programs and assistance schemes have been rolled out to help the F&B sector to develop their business and profitability.
Setting up a restaurant will involve the following basic steps:
1. Business Incorporation
2. Obtaining a food shop licence for your restaurant
3. Obtaining halal certification
4. Applying for a liquor licence (if you wish to serve liquor)
5. Obtaining a licence for importing food ingredients
6. Applying for Goods and Service s Tax registration (equivalent to sales tax/VAT)
7. Hiring staff