Wealthy expats will no longer be able to gain permanent residency in Singapore next month as the country scraps a scheme that allows them the right if they invest in the country.
Currently under the Financial Investor Scheme (FIS) foreigners who bring in a minimum of S$10 million (£5 million) into Singapore for five years including using up to S$2 million on buying a property have a right to permanent resident (PR) status.
But the scheme will end at the end of this month as it is believed that too many are using it to buy property and helping to fuel the country’s booming property market and therefore pricing locals out of the market.
PR status is highly valued in Singapore among expats as the city state has one of the world’s highest standards of living and education, a bustling economy and sits in the heart of south east Asia, one of the world’s most vibrant regions.
The FIS used to have a lower investment limit of S$5 million (£2.5 million) but this was doubled in 2010 as part of the government’s efforts to curb the influx of foreigners.
However, foreigners can still apply for PR status under the Global Investor Programme (GIP) aimed at entrepreneurs who can boost local employment.
Under this scheme foreigners must have at least $2.5 million (£1.25 million) invested in a new business or an expansion of an existing business and have an annual turnover of at least $30 million (£15 million) to qualify.
Both schemes have encouraged wealthy foreigners to base themselves in Singapore and according to the Boston Consulting Group it has the highest proportion of millionaires as a result. Out of a population of five million, more than one million are non Singaporeans.
As well as concerns about rising property prices there are also concerns being voiced about the size of Singapore’s expat community and their wealthy status which has led to stronger demand for school places.
Some groups have even claimed that a large expat population is threatening their sense of national identity. Last year the government imposed an additional 10% property tax on foreigners buying but prices are still rising.