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Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
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Re: RE: Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby 0ALI0 » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 9:02 pm

ecureilx wrote:
0ALI0 wrote:Besides, as shareholder and more importantly co-founder, I need to attend board meetings, meetings with investors, government agencies, etc. And I happen to be the PI for the government funding that the company receives. So there's that. .


On second thought, why didn't ICA extend a form of PR that they roll out to important individuals who contribute to Singapore? I know one individual who had a fast tracked PR - 1 month from start to finish. Is your business contributing to Singapore in any way ?


Thanks for the help.

Yes, EDB often facilitates a fast-track PR, but I will be probably eligible for that only once the company starts generating revenue and hire a certain number of locals/ PRs, however as of now, we are still in the development phase, so we burn off whatever investment we get pretty fast. On the positive side, we are bringing a lot of cash from elsewhere to Singapore.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby 0ALI0 » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 9:11 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:We're offering a considered hypothesis, 0ALI0 -- an "educated guess." You appear to me, and perhaps also to ICA, to be working in Singapore without work permission. Yes, foreigners without work permission are allowed to be shareholders of Singapore-based companies (most types anyway), but you appear to have an extremely active role that the words "profession" and "occupation" well describe. I don't think it's even a close call.

That said, Student Passes are discretionary, and ICA has no obligation to explain its reasoning. ICA is the same agency that knows how often and for how long you've been in Singapore, as it happens.

OK, you asked about appeals. Appeals are seldom successful, unfortunately. They're particularly rarely successful unless either ICA made a clear procedural error of some kind -- for example, considered you for the wrong pass -- or unless there is a material change in circumstances. If you can, try to provide well-reasoned, well-articulated arguments in your appeal along those lines.


Perhaps but it is more complicated with startup companies. As the inventor, I am pretty much the public face of the company even though I do not hold an executive role formally. So since I have been appearing globally in news articles, TV, etc, it is pretty much a given that I have to show my face at important meetings, even if I have to just sit there and smile.

I am not eligible for employment pass because I am not employed and I do not get any salary. No salary, no employment visa.

Anyway this is generally viewed positively, at least by the university and that is exactly why they chose me in the first place ... to use both my scientific AND entrepreneurial background to develop and commercialize a new technology. And no it has nothing to do with nuclear energy. :D

Thanks for the advice btw.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby 0ALI0 » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 9:28 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Personally, this.....
2) I have to re-apply for multiple-entry social pass every 3 months, and in the past 3 years, not even a single time my application has been rejected. I must have traveled to Singapore over 50 times in that period. So clearly no issues there.


is probably the crux of the problem.

What has been does not mean "will always be". They are tightening up on abusers (or what appears to be abusers) with a vengence. Additionally, I am sure with the recent arrests by ISD, they have to be wondering due to your nationality the fact that you are here almost all the time (50 trips in 36 months)? It's no wonder you are having problems, considering your nationality and the current state of worldly affairs.


Then they should have perhaps rejected my social pass application too (which I currently have until September). Traveling too often is never an issue per se. I have to pay for visa and ticket. So they are actually making money. Most of the time, I am only in Singapore for a few hours anyway and travel back to KL in the evening. My colleagues, who hold Swedish passports, usually accompany me and I'm sure nobody even thinks of asking the same question from them.

I understand that Iran is not exactly the most popular kid on the block these days, but it is important to differentiate between the government and the people, majority of whom are not a fan of the government either. If you come from academia, you would know that some of the most successful and respected scientists (and entrepreneurs too) are Iranian. So you just don't reject a highly qualified (and maybe even over-qualified) candidate because of his nationality, especially considering that I haven't even lived there for the past 11 years or so.

From what I have heard from my Iranian friends, those who have SINGA scholarship from A*STAR are easily approved; the rest, rarely if at all, because ICA is not familiar with other scholarships. In fact nowadays it is easier to study in the US (many of my friends do).

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 10:14 pm

0ALI0 wrote:Besides, as shareholder and more importantly co-founder, I need to attend board meetings, meetings with investors, government agencies, etc. And I happen to be the PI for the government funding that the company receives. So there's that.

Anyhow, this forum appears to be filled with not-so-knowledgeable keyboard warriors that LOVE to argue instead of simply answering the question. I asked about the appeal process.


It really is uncharitable of you to so quickly judge the people who have responded to you, and I'd ask why you feel it necessary to be so "prickly" just because you're not getting the answers you think you should be getting.

You have already been supplied with the appeals "process", such as it is, by ecureilx. I'd add that you need to set an appointment, bring your documentation, and attempt to explain that what you were doing was not in violation of any Singapore immigration laws.

I estimate your chances of a successful appeal at somewhere between zero and nothing. Your rejection has nothing to do with you being Iranian.

Your comments about your "very prestigious" scholarship serve only to obfuscate the fact that you have been running a business in Singapore without authorization, a business that should have been set up and run in a completely different manner. Consider these facts that you have posted about yourself.

  1. You have not mentioned who the managing director of the company is. Are you renting a nominee director who is filling out all the paperwork?
  2. You are a co-founder, the brains, the inventor, the face of the company, the one with the ideas and not simply a passive shareholder.
  3. You are attending meetings with "investors, government agencies, etc". Shareholders are passive, they don't attend meetings, they wait for their investments to grow and their dividend check to arrive. Therefore, you are working in an active capacity as either an employee or a director without an employment pass.
  4. It would seem quite clear that rather than coming in to "attend meetings", you are actively flying in on a regular basis to manage the affairs of your company. This is not the purposes of a business visit pass.

And here's why you won't get your appeal approved.

  1. With your statements that the Singapore government is supporting you through investment, that you apparently have a working relationship with NUS with respect to the invention/product, you should have filed for an Entrepass. Seems like you would have qualified under multiple categories. You would have had an employment pass, the ability to travel at will, and the ability to carry on all your business activities. Why didn't you form the company in this manner? Even if not an Entrepass, why didn't you form a Pte Ltd? Your chances of approval would have been very good.
  2. And if you don't/didn't have NUS involved with your company, and what you are saying is that you are both attending NUS on a scholarship and running your business, then you have violated the terms of your student pass.
  3. Finally, the Singapore ICA is going to view your past history as evidence of violation of the rules. See, they won't see it as you simply taking advantage of what was legal, they will see it as a case where you got away with it for as long as you did because they didn't catch up with you soon enough.

I have to agree with the others. You're not attending business meetings. It's a fuzzy line, admittedly, but a business meeting is something like flying in for a quarterly financial review, or to finalize the details of a big contract that has been put together and _previsously_ negotiated. Or perhaps you are flying in to replace a key employee.

But you yourself state that you've been in 50 times in 3 years... that's about 17 times per year, 1.5 visits per month, of a duration which you haven't mentioned. You're meeting with investors, you are attending board meetings, and you're meeting with government agencies. You're running a business and I would be very interested in how you are going to convince ICA that you are not running a business.

Since I had to make an edit for spelling: If you are ONLY a shareholder in the company, your actual participation is limited to voting on resolutions within an AGM/EGM. That's it.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 10:34 pm

0ALI0 wrote:I am not eligible for employment pass because I am not employed and I do not get any salary. No salary, no employment visa.


This really isn't correct. I started my own company on an Entrepass when the rules were much simpler. My company had not made one penny when I/we founded it. However, like you, we had the intention of making money. We wrote a business plan. We had formation capital, capital which, in the pro forma financial statements at least, was used to pay salaries until company breakeven.

So again, the proper way for you to have done this (and maybe you still can) is to prepare a decent set of pro forma financials, estimated breakeven dates, planned salaries, etc, then you can and should apply for an employment pass.

There are many ways of dealing with the actual salary issue. You can take a salary, then loan it back to the company if you don't need it. As the shareholder you can put it back in as additional equity. You can direct that the salary be paid but not actually take it out of the bank. Point is, you can and should pay at least the minimum for an EP.

Otherwise, I think you're screwed. You may even be barred from entering the country at all if ICA cops a real attitude towards you.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby 0ALI0 » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:13 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
0ALI0 wrote:Besides, as shareholder and more importantly co-founder, I need to attend board meetings, meetings with investors, government agencies, etc. And I happen to be the PI for the government funding that the company receives. So there's that.

Anyhow, this forum appears to be filled with not-so-knowledgeable keyboard warriors that LOVE to argue instead of simply answering the question. I asked about the appeal process.


It really is uncharitable of you to so quickly judge the people who have responded to you, and I'd ask why you feel it necessary to be so "prickly" just because you're not getting the answers you think you should be getting.

You have already been supplied with the appeals "process", such as it is, by ecureilx. I'd add that you need to set an appointment, bring your documentation, and attempt to explain that what you were doing was not in violation of any Singapore immigration laws.

I estimate your chances of a successful appeal at somewhere between zero and nothing. Your rejection has nothing to do with you being Iranian.

Your comments about your "very prestigious" scholarship serve only to obfuscate the fact that you have been running a business in Singapore without authorization, a business that should have been set up and run in a completely different manner. Consider these facts that you have posted about yourself.

  1. You have not mentioned who the managing director of the company is. Are you renting a nominee director who is filling out all the paperwork?
  2. You are a co-founder, the brains, the inventor, the face of the company, the one with the ideas and not simply a passive shareholder.
  3. You are attending meetings with "investors, government agencies, etc". Shareholders are passive, they don't attend meetings, they wait for their investments to grow and their dividend check to arrive. Therefore, you are working in an active capacity as either an employee or a director without an employment pass.
  4. It would seem quite clear that rather than coming in to "attend meetings", you are actively flying in on a regular basis to manage the affairs of your company. This is not the purposes of a business visit pass.

And here's why you won't get your appeal approved.

  1. With your statements that the Singapore government is supporting you through investment, that you apparently have a working relationship with NUS with respect to the invention/product, you should have filed for an Entrepass. Seems like you would have qualified under multiple categories. You would have had an employment pass, the ability to travel at will, and the ability to carry on all your business activities. Why didn't you form the company in this manner? Even if not an Entrepass, why didn't you form a Pte Ltd? Your chances of approval would have been very good.
  2. And if you don't/didn't have NUS involved with your company, and what you are saying is that you are both attending NUS on a scholarship and running your business, then you have violated the terms of your student pass.
  3. Finally, the Singapore ICA is going to view your past history as evidence of violation of the rules. See, they won't see it as you simply taking advantage of what was legal, they will see it as a case where you got away with it for as long as you did because they didn't catch up with you soon enough.

I have to agree with the others. You're not attending business meetings. It's a fuzzy line, admittedly, but a business meeting is something like flying in for a quarterly financial review, or to finalize the details of a big contract that has been put together and _previsously_ negotiated. Or perhaps you are flying in to replace a key employee.

But you yourself state that you've been in 50 times in 3 years... that's about 17 times per year, 1.5 visits per month, of a duration which you haven't mentioned. You're meeting with investors, you are attending board meetings, and you're meeting with government agencies. You're running a business and I would be very interested in how you are going to convince ICA that you are not running a business.

Since I had to make an edit for spelling: If you are ONLY a shareholder in the company, your actual participation is limited to voting on resolutions within an AGM/EGM. That's it.


Accusing people of wrongdoing when you clearly do not have proper knowledge of the law is not quite the same thing as helping them.

You don't appear to be too familiar with different MOM categories. Entrepass has a time-limit (if I remember correctly max 2 years after the company was formed) and it is meant for those who work in the company (I don't). In case you didn't know, unless you spend certain number of days every year in Singapore, by MOM standard, you are not eligible for employment pass. So I do not qualify anyway since I do not spend enough time here.

Yes. The company has local directors and employers. I just happen to be the guy who invented the thing and got famous and whatnot. I lend my face to the cause (you read, I use my celebrity status) and keep in touch with what happens which is normal since I am the major stake holder and want to see it grow. Beside that I have no legal capacity in the company.

Running a business without authorization? Preposterous! I run an unauthorized business and the government comes in to thank me with extra funding and featuring me in their gazette? yeah, sure. Sounds about right.

Sorry. I would love to stay and chat but I don't have the time. I got some feedback and I thank you guys for that.

So can one of the admins please close/remove the topic?

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby 0ALI0 » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:15 pm

...

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Re: RE: Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:34 pm

0ALI0 wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:
0ALI0 wrote:Besides, as shareholder and more importantly co-founder, I need to attend board meetings, meetings with investors, government agencies, etc. And I happen to be the PI for the government funding that the company receives. So there's that.

Anyhow, this forum appears to be filled with not-so-knowledgeable keyboard warriors that LOVE to argue instead of simply answering the question. I asked about the appeal process.


It really is uncharitable of you to so quickly judge the people who have responded to you, and I'd ask why you feel it necessary to be so "prickly" just because you're not getting the answers you think you should be getting.

You have already been supplied with the appeals "process", such as it is, by ecureilx. I'd add that you need to set an appointment, bring your documentation, and attempt to explain that what you were doing was not in violation of any Singapore immigration laws.

I estimate your chances of a successful appeal at somewhere between zero and nothing. Your rejection has nothing to do with you being Iranian.

Your comments about your "very prestigious" scholarship serve only to obfuscate the fact that you have been running a business in Singapore without authorization, a business that should have been set up and run in a completely different manner. Consider these facts that you have posted about yourself.

  1. You have not mentioned who the managing director of the company is. Are you renting a nominee director who is filling out all the paperwork?
  2. You are a co-founder, the brains, the inventor, the face of the company, the one with the ideas and not simply a passive shareholder.
  3. You are attending meetings with "investors, government agencies, etc". Shareholders are passive, they don't attend meetings, they wait for their investments to grow and their dividend check to arrive. Therefore, you are working in an active capacity as either an employee or a director without an employment pass.
  4. It would seem quite clear that rather than coming in to "attend meetings", you are actively flying in on a regular basis to manage the affairs of your company. This is not the purposes of a business visit pass.

And here's why you won't get your appeal approved.

  1. With your statements that the Singapore government is supporting you through investment, that you apparently have a working relationship with NUS with respect to the invention/product, you should have filed for an Entrepass. Seems like you would have qualified under multiple categories. You would have had an employment pass, the ability to travel at will, and the ability to carry on all your business activities. Why didn't you form the company in this manner? Even if not an Entrepass, why didn't you form a Pte Ltd? Your chances of approval would have been very good.
  2. And if you don't/didn't have NUS involved with your company, and what you are saying is that you are both attending NUS on a scholarship and running your business, then you have violated the terms of your student pass.
  3. Finally, the Singapore ICA is going to view your past history as evidence of violation of the rules. See, they won't see it as you simply taking advantage of what was legal, they will see it as a case where you got away with it for as long as you did because they didn't catch up with you soon enough.

I have to agree with the others. You're not attending business meetings. It's a fuzzy line, admittedly, but a business meeting is something like flying in for a quarterly financial review, or to finalize the details of a big contract that has been put together and _previsously_ negotiated. Or perhaps you are flying in to replace a key employee.

But you yourself state that you've been in 50 times in 3 years... that's about 17 times per year, 1.5 visits per month, of a duration which you haven't mentioned. You're meeting with investors, you are attending board meetings, and you're meeting with government agencies. You're running a business and I would be very interested in how you are going to convince ICA that you are not running a business.

Since I had to make an edit for spelling: If you are ONLY a shareholder in the company, your actual participation is limited to voting on resolutions within an AGM/EGM. That's it.


Accusing people of wrongdoing when you clearly do not have proper knowledge of the law is not quite the same thing as helping them.

You don't appear to be too familiar with different MOM categories. Entrepass has a time-limit (if I remember correctly max 2 years after the company was formed) and it is meant for those who work in the company (I don't). In case you didn't know, unless you spend certain number of days every year in Singapore, by MOM standard, you are not eligible for employment pass. So I do not qualify anyway since I do not spend enough time here.

Yes. The company has local directors and employers. I just happen to be the guy who invented the thing and got famous and whatnot. I lend my face to the cause (you read, I use my celebrity status) and keep in touch with what happens which is normal since I am the major stake holder and want to see it grow. Beside that I have no legal capacity in the company.

Running a business without authorization? Preposterous! I run an unauthorized business and the government comes in to thank me with extra funding and featuring me in their gazette? yeah, sure. Sounds about right.

Sorry. I would love to stay and chat but I don't have the time. I got some feedback and I thank you guys for that.

So can one of the admins please close/remove the topic?

Nice !

So you obfuscated the posts where folks took time to reply you ?

That's very anti social, asking people for their thoughts and then deleting your posts.

PS, the individual who got PR fast tracked didn't have to set up a company or deal with EDB. Or do visa runs. I guess SG inc saw his value straight away.

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Re: [CLOSED]

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:51 pm

OP should look into a PEP or Entrepass (do they still exist?).
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Re: [CLOSED]

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:56 pm

0ALI0, good buddy... do let us know how it goes.

However, I do have a question. Since you seem to know how things "ought" to be, and dismiss/denigrate other points of view, how did you manage to screw yourself so royally?

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Re: RE: Re: [CLOSED]

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:57 pm

PNGMK wrote:OP should look into a PEP or Entrepass (do they still exist?).

The guy did the honorable finger salute and went MIA.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:11 am

For being a Ph.D he sure isn't to smart. He should know by now that MFA, A-Star, MOM and ICA all have their own set of guidelines and they have a lot of crossed wires and if you happen to be on one of the crossed wires you could find yourself in a world of Crap. I think he is a scoundrel and I think we hit the nail on the head and he didn't like it.

"You don't appear to be too familiar with different MOM categories. Entrepass has a time-limit (if I remember correctly max 2 years after the company was formed) and it is meant for those who work in the company (I don't). In case you didn't know, unless you spend certain number of days every year in Singapore, by MOM standard, you are not eligible for employment pass. So I do not qualify anyway since I do not spend enough time here."

Oh, nooooo, you aren't trying to scam the government here are you.....

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Re: [CLOSED]

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:13 am

On a more conciliatory note there is a gap in my opinion in the range of visa and permits available in Singapore. Several gaps have been fixed recently (by far most of them fixed with LTVP+ and even LTVP with LOC) but there are two gaps and a request I can think of that still exist;

1. A religious and charitable workers visa that allows long term residency without a high income as a priest, pastor, nun, temple worker, missionary etc. Similar to the R-1 in the USA.

2. A better form of 'multi-entry business activities visa' that proactively permits business visits as per the OP and doesn't rely on the approval at landing in the airport. The problem with the SVP is (to my mind) it's a little grey as to what exactly is business and what is work and this need to be defined more clearly (i.e. is the work revenue related or not?). It's - to be fair to the OP -very unreasonable for businesses to assess the risk of someone not getting a SVP on landing for what they consider to be a business visit. Note - I do agree with the majority here that the OP was flagrantly abusing the SVP system and we know what happens with people doing visa runs or coming in many times for 'business' on SVP's.

3. Some leeway on LTVP for relatives (in laws, mothers, fathers) of PR's. This is becoming a bit of a personal sore point for me as my mother gets older and I know is a major issue for other families.
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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 04 Aug 2016 1:26 am

I think the OP has an additional issue of his residency status in Malaysia. I believe that if he had a work permit or other residence status, he'd be able to qualify for fast track immigration in and out... after all, the dozens of flights between Singapore and KL on a daily basis are full of business travelers in and out.

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Re: Visa rejected despite prestigious PhD scholarship

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 04 Aug 2016 10:33 am

Strong Eagle wrote:I think the OP has an additional issue of his residency status in Malaysia. I believe that if he had a work permit or other residence status, he'd be able to qualify for fast track immigration in and out... after all, the dozens of flights between Singapore and KL on a daily basis are full of business travelers in and out.


Ah ok. Yes it's getting very hard now to do continual Visa runs between the three major routes (Bkk, KL, Singapore) without ICA noticing these days (or the Thai Immigration for that matter). Most people I know living this way (mostly oilfield trash trying to remain non resident for tax reasons in Aust/NZ)) have had to extend out to Jakarta/Bali, Manila/Cebu and even odder places like HCM/HK/UAE or looping in a short return trip home to Aust/NZ for example to keep it going. I imagine in a few years or if the region really begins cooperating on immigration matters you'll need actual PR or EP in one of these countries to remain in the region long term as the OP was or is trying to. Certainly it doesn't help to be on an Iranian or Nigerian or Columbian passport in that situation.
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