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Exploring Singapore's Immigration Program

Many people are drawn to Singapore's high-tech culture and glittering lights. Some people are so enamored with the country that they want to leave their homeland and move there.

These people will need to fully understand what it means to immigrate to Singapore before they go. Here's what they need to know to move to the country they've been dreaming about.

What Does it Mean to Immigrate?

When someone immigrates, it means that they leave their home behind and choose to live somewhere else, instead. They often leave not knowing if they will ever move home.

Some immigrants move fully intending to never return to their home country. They may be unable to or it may be so distasteful that they know they will never want to.

Anyone who immigrates needs to set up their new life in their new country. This can involve finding a new home there, setting up bank accounts, and sending their children to school.

Some people like living overseas but they always know they will return home. This is not quite the same as immigration but offers valuable cultural experiences.

Why Do People Immigrate to Singapore?

People immigrate to Singapore for a lot of reasons. Many find jobs there, get hired, and find that they enjoy the culture so much that they just don't ever want to leave 

Others go for the adventure of living in a highly urban area with a huge variety of food and entertainment available, or they go for the easy access Singapore offers to the rest of Asia.

Some people move to Singapore to improve their lives. They may feel unsafe at home or they may simply believe they can get better jobs and live better in Singapore.

Others move to Singapore for the rich cultural traditions they can learn about there. There are sites in Singapore that are simply not duplicated anywhere else in the world.

Travelers may choose to move to Singapore to take advantage of a wide variety of educational opportunities. They may get into a program there or want their children to go to school there.

Many people who move to Singapore are enticed by photos they've seen of its glittering cityscape. They want to learn more about this city they've only seen on film.

Long Term Visits vs. Immigration

Some people want to see and experience Singapore but aren't ready to move there yet. These may choose a long-term visit, rather than immigration.

There are a number of ways to make a long-term visit to Singapore, though the easiest is probably to get a job there and get a visa through that job.

People who make long-term visits still have to find a place to live in Singapore and will need to access their money and have mobile phone service there.

If they qualify, they can even bring their family with them to take advantage of Singapore's educational opportunities.

A long term visit can be exactly like immigrating, except that the person arrives with the intention of, someday, returning to live in their home country again.

How to Immigrate to Singapore

There are a number of ways to immigrate to Singapore. Most find that the best way is to get a job in the country, as there are many available and they are often open to foreigners.

An Employment Visa will be issued to highly qualified professionals who get hired by a company. They can work 5 years on a single pass, but it must be for one organization. 

Less qualified people who manage to get hired in Singapore will get an S Pass. These can also be valid for up to 5 years.

A single company cannot have more than 15-20% of its employees in the country on an S Pass. The rest of their employees must come from within Singapore. 

An EntrePass is available for entrepreneurs who want to open a new business in Singapore. They must own at least 30% of the company and have the qualifications to run it.

Only certain businesses qualify for the EntrePass. They must be funded by a VC, work with the government or a top research institution, or own proprietary intellectual property.

People who have an Employment Visa and who make money above a certain threshold every month can apply for the Personalized Employment Pass.

This is not tied to a single employer, so allows the passholder to switch jobs if they need or want to. They can be in the country for up to 6 months without employment, too, if it comes to that.

Families who wish to join a person who is employed in Singapore must get a Dependent's Pass. These are tied to the visa of the worker, so if they lose their job the entire family has to leave.

Only spouses and children can get the Dependent's Pass. Stepchildren, parents, and common-law spouses will instead get a Long-Term Visit Pass.

The individual or family moving to Singapore does not have to apply for any of these visas. Instead, applications will be submitted by the company doing the hiring. 

They may ask everyone for documentation such as passports, etc., but it will all be submitted to the government, along with additional documentation, by the company.

This allows Singapore to more closely control its borders. It also means a lot less hassle and struggle for individuals who want to move to the country.

As long as they submit documentation to their employer, they can sit back, relax, and wait for their visa to come through. 

It's also possible to move to Singapore as a student. People will need to be admitted to a university or another program and have proof of this before they apply. 

In some situations, these visas may also be issued through the institution, rather than applied for by the individual.

A person's institution should help them through the process after they are admitted and accept that admittance. 

These visas give foreigners the best possible chance of getting to move to Singapore. Nothing is guaranteed, but having a job or a place in an educational program is the best way to start.

Refugees in Singapore

Singapore is one of the few countries around the world that does not accept refugees. They do not grant any sort of asylum to anyone, regardless of origin or reason for applying.  

Singapore is a small country with limited land. In addition, because they are so close to China, they fear being overrun by refugees if they permit any at all. 

As a country, Singapore controls its immigration much closer than many other nations. They fear not being able to do this if they permit refugees.

Singapore does aid refugees by providing humanitarian aid. They have been helpful to the Myanmar government in dealing with the Rohingya crisis, for instance.

Legal Residents vs. Citizens in Singapore

Foreigners can apply for Permanent Residence in a few situations. They will need to supply documentation to prove they qualify under all of these situations.

If they are the spouse or unmarried child under 21 years old of a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, they can apply. Adopted children under 21 also qualify.

People who are elderly parents of those who are Singapore citizens may apply for Permanent Resident status so they can be taken care of by their children.

Foreign investors, some students studying in the country, and people who are employed by companies in Singapore for a certain amount of time may also apply.

Qualifying under these conditions doesn't necessarily mean that a person will get to become a Permanent Resident. 

The Singapore government looks at how much a person can contribute to the country and how well they will be able to integrate there before making a final decision.

They may also consider factors like the person's age, their professional qualifications, their family, and more details before making a final decision.

Is it Difficult to Immigrate to Singapore?

Highly qualified people, particularly those in tech or finance, will usually not have a problem moving to Singapore if they want to do so.

However, Singapore keeps tight control over who can and cannot immigrate to the country. This can make it hard for some people to move there when they want to. 

The best way to move to Singapore long term is to get a job there. Companies can usually hire up to 15-20% of their employees from outside the country. 

The visa that comes with these jobs only permits a person to stay in Singapore until their job ends. If they want to get a new job, they may have to leave the country and reapply from there.

Most people who want to move to Singapore can figure out a way to do it, but it often takes some time. Patience will be rewarded when they are finally able to live there!

Who is Immigrating to Singapore

While people from all over the world are moving to Singapore, most of the immigrants in the country come from other Asian countries.

These include: Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Asian countries, and Indonesia. 

Living in Singapore is a goal for many Asian citizens, particularly those who are trying to improve their lives. It is known as a wealthy country where people want to live.

What is Life Like as an Immigrant in Singapore

Singapore offers a high standard of living that is comparable or even above that of many westerners who move there.

Singapore is very safe, too, as there are many rules and police to enforce them. This can grate on some foreigners who like less structure.

Life in Singapore is expensive, though not more than many other cities around the world. Real estate tends to cost more than it does in other places, but food is cheaper.

In fact, while Singapore is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, many people have more disposable income there, as salaries are also high. 

There are great educational options for students of all ages in Singapore. Public schools are good and there are a number of international schools where many expats send their kids.

Some of the curriculum in public schools may be different than what westerners have had before. 

They may have problems with that, as well as with the fact that corporal punishment is legal in Singapore's schools. Because of these reasons, many choose international schools instead. 

Singapore controls its media very closely, so getting accurate news usually means looking online, rather than watching TV or reading newspapers. 

Internet and mobile service work well in Singapore. Most people find that what they get there is the equivalent or better to what they had at home.

It's easy to access good healthcare in Singapore. There are both public and private hospitals, and both tend to be more affordable than many westerners expect them to be.

Many expats also choose to hold some sort of health insurance that will cover them in case a major medical issue occurs.

Most people choose not to have their own automobile in Singapore, as public transportation is reliable and fast and rentals are available when and if they are needed.

Not having a car can save people quite a bit of money and it means less hassle, too, since they don't have to find parking or worry about maintenance.

Overall, most expats are happy in Singapore and love living there. There is a strong expat culture, so they can always find people who remind them of home!

Undocumented Residents in Singapore

Singapore has relatively few undocumented residents, simply because they have very secure borders and their police tend to find people who make it through. 

They also have very strict penalties for people who are caught there illegally. The punishment is at least 3 strokes with a cane as well as some time in prison.

Most of the undocumented residents in Singapore come from Malaysia or China, as these countries are nearby and relatively easy to reach from Singapore.

Because of this proximity, Singapore will never be entirely free of undocumented residents. However, the strict punishments mean that seeking this status is not recommended.

Trying to Immigrate to Singapore? Start Today!

While it may take some time to figure out how to immigrate to Singapore, there's no reason not to start the process today. After all, nothing will happen to travelers who don't begin.

Once they have permission, they can enter Singapore and begin their new life there!

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