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SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

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saxenar
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SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby saxenar » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 1:25 pm

We are a family of 4 (me, my wife, son & daughter). Its been 11 years since we have been in Singapore. We became SPR around the year 2009. I work in a MNC company and both my children go to International School. First 4 years we lived in HDB estate - at that time my son was 7 yrs and daughter was 5 yrs - both of them did not have any friends to play around - as none of the children of their age ever came down to play in the HDB estate. So we moved to a condo where they found friends and really grew-up well with all around social well being as well. While I & my wife have been actively involved in quite a few community events (volunteering etc) - and our children also accompany as and when they have time after finishing their studies.

We applied for our citizenship but the same was rejected. Now, my son is in junior college year 2 and he has decided to take-up Engeering in Astro Physics / Space stream and is keen to go to the US for his undergraduate degree and after that PG, research etc - as there's very limited scope for this kind of education in Singapore. He's quite good in his studies and has been securing 95%+ in all his academics. And he's absolutely sure that US is the place to be for this kind of stream. But since he's a PR, he has to serve NS. Incase we force him & convinece him to study here in SG only so that he can fulfill his NS obligations - we may be doing injustice to his dreams.. he may get demotivated and lose interest to pursue his dreams. in extreme case, he may become completely negative and may blame us for not letting him pursue his dreams.

With his academics,we are confident of him getting admission in NUS / NTU - but not sure how good will his education be for the stream of his interest. But before that he has to serve NS. Also, after his enginering in SG (if he decides to study here), he still wants to go to US to do his PG. But as per the Tution Grant scheme for his study at NUS - he needs to work in SG for 3 years. If he dosen't, then we have to pay nearly $60K refund of the tution grant (its about $20k per year). If we choose not to take Tution Grant - then what's the use of being SPR - he can get far better education in US for the same fees as NUS - without the Tution Grant.

If we consider to give-up his PR, what would the consequences be? Do note that we have not taken any PR privileges (no tution grant till now as both children study in International School, no housing grant, no GST handouts.).. so financially we may not have to pay back anything to Govt. But since my son may be getting the NS call any week now, what would the consequences be if we give-up his PR now? Will the Govt ask entire family to give-up PR?

Looks like being an SPR has actually made us nomads - we neither belong to the country where we come from - nor we have SG citizenship. And we dont get any benefits - we are not allowed to buy HDB flat, no use of tution grant and there's a restriction about what streams of engineering can he choose here in SG?

Does it make sense to give-up his PR status and let him choose which country he wants to study in?(US, Canada, Australia etc?)

Feedback & suggestions appreciated..

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby taxico » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 4:04 pm

saxenar wrote:We are a family of 4 (me, my wife, son & daughter). Its been 11 years since we have been in Singapore. We became SPR around the year 2009. I work in a MNC company and both my children go to International School. First 4 years we lived in HDB estate - at that time my son was 7 yrs and daughter was 5 yrs - both of them did not have any friends to play around - as none of the children of their age ever came down to play in the HDB estate. So we moved to a condo where they found friends and really grew-up well with all around social well being as well. While I & my wife have been actively involved in quite a few community events (volunteering etc) - and our children also accompany as and when they have time after finishing their studies.

We applied for our citizenship but the same was rejected. Now, my son is in junior college year 2 and he has decided to take-up Engeering in Astro Physics / Space stream and is keen to go to the US for his undergraduate degree and after that PG, research etc - as there's very limited scope for this kind of education in Singapore. He's quite good in his studies and has been securing 95%+ in all his academics. And he's absolutely sure that US is the place to be for this kind of stream. But since he's a PR, he has to serve NS. Incase we force him & convinece him to study here in SG only so that he can fulfill his NS obligations - we may be doing injustice to his dreams.. he may get demotivated and lose interest to pursue his dreams. in extreme case, he may become completely negative and may blame us for not letting him pursue his dreams.

With his academics,we are confident of him getting admission in NUS / NTU - but not sure how good will his education be for the stream of his interest. But before that he has to serve NS. Also, after his enginering in SG (if he decides to study here), he still wants to go to US to do his PG. But as per the Tution Grant scheme for his study at NUS - he needs to work in SG for 3 years. If he dosen't, then we have to pay nearly $60K refund of the tution grant (its about $20k per year). If we choose not to take Tution Grant - then what's the use of being SPR - he can get far better education in US for the same fees as NUS - without the Tution Grant.

If we consider to give-up his PR, what would the consequences be? Do note that we have not taken any PR privileges (no tution grant till now as both children study in International School, no housing grant, no GST handouts.).. so financially we may not have to pay back anything to Govt. But since my son may be getting the NS call any week now, what would the consequences be if we give-up his PR now? Will the Govt ask entire family to give-up PR?

Looks like being an SPR has actually made us nomads - we neither belong to the country where we come from - nor we have SG citizenship. And we dont get any benefits - we are not allowed to buy HDB flat, no use of tution grant and there's a restriction about what streams of engineering can he choose here in SG?

Does it make sense to give-up his PR status and let him choose which country he wants to study in?(US, Canada, Australia etc?)

Feedback & suggestions appreciated..


you worry too much. if a 2 year stint in the military can dampen his enthusiasm or attitude to life/pursuits (loss of motivation), then it would be better that he studies under his parents' watchful eyes.

you are not doing any injustice to his dreams by sending him to NS.

i was a dual citizenship holder that served NS in singapore as well. my childhood dream was to major in aeronautical engineering (or Naval/AFA - long shot). i didn't attend either - part of the reason was because of NS in singapore.

while i didn't relish the thought of spending 2 years 4 months (back in the day) with the singapore army, but i turned out just fine.

if you raised him right (which from the sounds of it, you seem to believe you have), he'll turn out for the better.

he can always use his tuition grant for his PG (or second bachelor's) in singapore at a later time if he wishes.

i'm not sure about restrictions on streams of engineering but if he has the pre-requisite grades, he should qualify. there are plenty of forums about these... elsewhere.

can't help you try to game the system for additional financial benefits, and i'm sorry you feel like you've been shortchanged by becoming/remaining SPRs.

you won't be asked to give up your residency (at least not NOW...) but if the rest of his family remains in singapore, he runs the risk of never being approved to work in singapore in future.

the short of it is: if there is a remote chance he may need to live/work in singapore in future, he -has- to serve NS.
Last edited by taxico on Mon, 24 Jul 2017 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby singaporeflyer » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 4:07 pm

saxenar wrote:We are a family of 4 (me, my wife, son & daughter). Its been 11 years since we have been in Singapore. We became SPR around the year 2009. I work in a MNC company and both my children go to International School. First 4 years we lived in HDB estate - at that time my son was 7 yrs and daughter was 5 yrs - both of them did not have any friends to play around - as none of the children of their age ever came down to play in the HDB estate. So we moved to a condo where they found friends and really grew-up well with all around social well being as well. While I & my wife have been actively involved in quite a few community events (volunteering etc) - and our children also accompany as and when they have time after finishing their studies.

We applied for our citizenship but the same was rejected. Now, my son is in junior college year 2 and he has decided to take-up Engeering in Astro Physics / Space stream and is keen to go to the US for his undergraduate degree and after that PG, research etc - as there's very limited scope for this kind of education in Singapore. He's quite good in his studies and has been securing 95%+ in all his academics. And he's absolutely sure that US is the place to be for this kind of stream. But since he's a PR, he has to serve NS. Incase we force him & convinece him to study here in SG only so that he can fulfill his NS obligations - we may be doing injustice to his dreams.. he may get demotivated and lose interest to pursue his dreams. in extreme case, he may become completely negative and may blame us for not letting him pursue his dreams.

With his academics,we are confident of him getting admission in NUS / NTU - but not sure how good will his education be for the stream of his interest. But before that he has to serve NS. Also, after his enginering in SG (if he decides to study here), he still wants to go to US to do his PG. But as per the Tution Grant scheme for his study at NUS - he needs to work in SG for 3 years. If he dosen't, then we have to pay nearly $60K refund of the tution grant (its about $20k per year). If we choose not to take Tution Grant - then what's the use of being SPR - he can get far better education in US for the same fees as NUS - without the Tution Grant.

If we consider to give-up his PR, what would the consequences be? Do note that we have not taken any PR privileges (no tution grant till now as both children study in International School, no housing grant, no GST handouts.).. so financially we may not have to pay back anything to Govt. But since my son may be getting the NS call any week now, what would the consequences be if we give-up his PR now? Will the Govt ask entire family to give-up PR?

Looks like being an SPR has actually made us nomads - we neither belong to the country where we come from - nor we have SG citizenship. And we dont get any benefits - we are not allowed to buy HDB flat, no use of tution grant and there's a restriction about what streams of engineering can he choose here in SG?

Does it make sense to give-up his PR status and let him choose which country he wants to study in?(US, Canada, Australia etc?)

Feedback & suggestions appreciated..



Didn't you know that he has to server NS when you took up PR for your son? And you want to make this decision just few weeks before he is being called up for NS?

Tuition Grant - To work for a SG Company - You can request them for a deferral for a short period of time and they will be ok.

You said you didnt enjoy any benefits at all. Giving you and your family the PR which allowed you to reside and work in SG. Is that not a privilege or a benefit that you enjoyed till date?

If he gives up on doing NS, he won't get more than a SVP to enter Singapore. Not even a LTSVP.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 4:38 pm

In all of this you have completely forgotten to factor in the cost of an education overseas. A good private college degree ala Stanford is around $100k. I am not sure whether a Singapore U/G is an impediment to a good P/G degree in the USA but I suspect it could be if he's trying to get an absolutely top engineering or science school.
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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 5:46 pm

saxenar wrote:We are a family of 4 (me, my wife, son & daughter). Its been 11 years since we have been in Singapore. We became SPR around the year 2009. I work in a MNC company and both my children go to International School.


India Se ? :)

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby Wd40 » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 9:23 pm

I guess most Indian parents go through this dilemma and most of them would plan in advance and give up their PR early enough before the age(of 11?) at which NS call becomes unavoidable. Few of them will wait until last moment and then do a runner.

Very very few of them actually let their kids do NS. I have heard most parents saying the same thing, they fear their kids will lose interest during the 2 years.

There is another disturbing data point that I have come across that one of my friends told me, He told me this: In his observation, 1st gen Indians who come here on EP do well. We all have great jobs etc. However, the 2nd gen Indians i.e. our kids don't do as well. Most of them who come out of the local school system are very subpar and get into mediocre jobs. There are few brilliant ones who get into universities like NUS/NTU etc but these invariably go abroad. I am not sure how true is this statistic. But these days I am curious, how do 2nd gen Indians really do in Singapore? From the acendotal evidence I have seen so far, doesn't look very good. I would be interested in knowing what are your observations.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby saxenar » Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:37 pm

Thank you all for your feedbacks. Want to clarify a few points based on your inputs:

a. Re: 2 years will not dampen spirits: Well I agree - if it were about 10-15 years ago. In today's competitive world - where carreers are measured on weekly & monthly performances - naturally, youngsters who have ambitions of certain careers will be concerned. How can they think of giving-up 2 full years, when they are probed, questioned & left on their own fate in school even for a single day genuine leave? Teachers just tell parents that they cannot even share with the child what was taught in the class if the student is on leave - they just ask them to get notes from others and pick-up by themselves. If this is the way they are handled in school now, how can the youngsters have confidence that it will be easy ride for them after they come back from 2yrs of no education? The world is getting competitive every single day.. and its more evident here in SG than any other country.

b. Re: Didn't we know about NS when taking PR: Yes we are very well aware and my suggestion to my son is to go thru the NS. But I cannot enforce him at this age when he's also workign hard for building his career - he's always scored 95+% in his academics till now - and has been extremely active in a whole lot of extra curricular activites - including making his school proud on many ocassions. With the limited opportunities available in SG, he's questioning his future career. I feel we should never enforce youngsters to take a certain stream when they have their ambitions & aspirations of what they want to achieve in life. Wheather they are able or unable - is a different matter - many are differently abled till they find the opportunity that makes them excel.

My son's question is - the opportunities for Astro Physics / Space in SG is very limited - NUS does have faculty - but after his learning he just does not have opportunities for his PG/ work. In all, he will need to do 2 yrs NS plus another 3 years work in SG to honour the Tution Grant agreement..

c. Re: Cost of SG universities vs US / Australia: If we dont take tution grant the cost of NUS is at par with that of US / Australian universities. Whereas after his engineering here in SG - he has limited opportunities to pursue his career / PG, but in US / AU - the opportunities are vast & very very relevant to this field of interest.

d. Re: Indian - cake & walk: Does it mean that just being a SPR - one has to give-up on their career ambitions? Having asked this, he's not looking for cake & walk - he is just questioning the worth of the cake - if SG has the opportunities or can atleast give him the flexibility to finish is PG & comeback to honour his 3 yr work rule - he would be happy - but again, the 3yrs in SG work has to be relevant to his area of work..

e. Re: Indians giving-up PR: Yes, unfortunately many Indians have done this & hence even if we raise a genuine quesion & ask for suggestion, the entire community feels we are looking for a cake & walk. We asked relevant people to give us a direction - they just started issuing warnings about consequences - rather than even hearing out our challenge and atleast helping us with guidance / options etc..

f. Re:PR status itself is a privilege: Ofcourse - but that's not come for free -we do pay taxes and GST on everything - and we pay higher rent for accomodation - as we are not allowed to buy public housing. Plus our children have to sign a compulsory 3 years work in SG agreement against the tution grant - despite serving NS.

g. Re: Indian students from local schools are dumb: I am not aware of this, but not only Indian students -but even other nationalities who study in International Schools - definitely most of them are extremely bright & the school results prove the same - check the results of all inernational schools in SG.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby bro75 » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 6:19 am

The consequence of giving up PR to avoid NS is that your son may never be allowed to work and live in Singapore. It is up to you to decide if that consequence is something you can live with.
What I have seen from the thread is that you have not really prepared your son for NS by placing him in International School. He would not have any local peers to bond with and would be going to NS without any of his friends doing so. His attitude towards NS would be different if he was in local school.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby Wd40 » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 6:43 am

Good point by bro75. Actually although you have been spr, there is nothing you have done that a local would do, i.e. sending your son to local school etc. He hasn't gone through the localized education and the history of Singapore to feel the value of NS. He has been brought up like an Indian from India. NS will be totally alien to him.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 9:44 am

bro75 wrote:The consequence of giving up PR to avoid NS is that your son may never be allowed to work and live in Singapore. It is up to you to decide if that consequence is something you can live with.
What I have seen from the thread is that you have not really prepared your son for NS by placing him in International School. He would not have any local peers to bond with and would be going to NS without any of his friends doing so. His attitude towards NS would be different if he was in local school.


Adding on, what makes me feel amused is parents really charting out the future for their kids, without really knowing what the future brings. Heck, nobody can predict the future right ?

Example: A friend of mine, strongly encouraged his kids to move to US with his mother, and while father was anchored in Singapore, the kids moved to US. Primarily to avoid NS and secondly, as US was a better place to live and all, so said the father.

Kids Reached US, not sure what happened, but sort of turned out the kids weren't gonna be fast tracked to Green Card.

In the interim, eldest fellow was sort of enticed to join the National Guards, with the promise of whatever that comes along. And National Guards don't really go to war, right ?

Eldest enrolled, and in 6 months time, found himself being shortlisted to learn Pashtu, and soon found himself on a flight to Manas.

Yes, you don't say no to the Lean Green Machine, right ? Well, the father was totally crushed when he found his son was in active combat, something he thought he wouldn't have to go through.

Well, if son joined SG NS, he would have one in a 10,000 chance of being deployed in Combat (unlike others belief, there's a small contingent from SAF which get ground deployments).

And coming back to the second son. Second son got a scholarship, sailed through Green Card, and then now his Employer wants him to be placed in Singapore HQ.

A strict NO - GO as, his attempts to get an EP have come to NAUGHT, even though he was an EX PR in Singapore, gave up PR long before NS age.

So you can't predict the future.

Just to avoid NS leaving Singapore MAY see your son being ostracized in Singapore. Or NOT. Who knows :)

While those may wish otherwise, I do feel the powers-be are gearing up to even severely punish those who avoid NS, either by their own decision or their parents' ;)

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby singaporeflyer » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 9:56 am

saxenar wrote:Thank you all for your feedbacks. Want to clarify a few points based on your inputs:

f. Re:PR status itself is a privilege: Ofcourse - but that's not come for free -we do pay taxes and GST on everything - and we pay higher rent for accomodation - as we are not allowed to buy public housing. Plus our children have to sign a compulsory 3 years work in SG agreement against the tution grant - despite serving NS.


Even citizens pay taxes and GST. For higher rent, that is why they allow you to buy HDB after 3 years. You are looking at ways on how to avoid NS for your son and you say 3 years of work in SG + NS. You are trying to avoid this? Aren't you?

If you know that signing him for NS will be against his wish, then why did you take PR for him on his behalf? Just to enjoy the benefits while it is there?

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby Barnsley » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:22 am

ecureilx wrote:While those may wish otherwise, I do feel the powers-be are gearing up to even severely punish those who avoid NS, either by their own decision or their parents' ;)


https://forum.singaporeexpats.com/viewtopic.php?t=116575&start=15

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby Barnsley » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:25 am

singaporeflyer wrote:
Even citizens pay taxes and GST.



Despite what many believe non-citizens also pay taxes here , many considerably more , and for that they get almost constant online abuse.

All the facilities that have been built with tax payer money i.e. non-citizens then have to pay again on top of that for the privilege to use them. How is that fair?
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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby singaporeflyer » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:48 am

Barnsley wrote:
singaporeflyer wrote:
Even citizens pay taxes and GST.



Despite what many believe non-citizens also pay taxes here , many considerably more , and for that they get almost constant online abuse.

All the facilities that have been built with tax payer money i.e. non-citizens then have to pay again on top of that for the privilege to use them. How is that fair?


It is the place where we chose to live and so can't complain. They did not force us to make a life here. Secondly, taxes here are way way lesser than what we would pay back home. So, can't complain.

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Re: SPR status - is it really worth it if your children have to pursue their dreams?

Postby Wd40 » Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:05 am

The only thing you can tell OP is that he should have studied the rules of the game before wearing his pads. After you come to the field and are facing the baller, you can't say, what if I get a bouncer.

It is a different matter that you didn't make use of the benefits of PR or also saying that PR benefits are not really great, is also a moot point. On a forum like this you either get sympathy or ridicule. But that doesn't help your situation at all. Also nobody will suggest you to do anything illegal or unethical.

So this is just a philosophical discussion going on here. I don't know what OP has come here looking for, especially his second post is almost like an appeal to the forum members. How does convincing us help you in anyway. None of us are in any power to give you some kind of waiver or something.

OP you just have to learn the rules of the game and play accordingly. If you didn't bring your helmet along, may be it is too late and you do a hit wicket and get out of the field rather than injuring yourself. So it is your call.


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