Singapore Expats

Absence from Singapore

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
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dan91
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Absence from Singapore

Post by dan91 » Sat, 02 Apr 2022 1:26 pm

Hi all

In the SC application, it's required to declare absences from Singapore in last 6 years if total absence in the last 6 years is 1 year or more. (source: https://www.ica.gov.sg/docs/default-sou ... _guide.pdf)

If I often take short overseas trips for leisure purposes (usually 1-2 weeks each time) as remote work allows me to do so and accumulated >1 year away over a period of 3+ years, would like to hear some insights on how it may affect my SC approval chance, and why.

Thanks

smoulder
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by smoulder » Sat, 02 Apr 2022 5:34 pm

I don't think that matters.

dan91
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by dan91 » Tue, 12 Apr 2022 2:19 pm

smoulder wrote:
Sat, 02 Apr 2022 5:34 pm
I don't think that matters.
Thanks, why you think so?

Myasis Dragon
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by Myasis Dragon » Tue, 12 Apr 2022 11:23 pm

dan91 wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 2:19 pm
smoulder wrote:
Sat, 02 Apr 2022 5:34 pm
I don't think that matters.
Thanks, why you think so?
Because, what they care about are folks like the clowns from the subcontinent who get PR, then immediately return back to India to work and live for 3 of their 5 year "PR". Traveling for a few weeks, or even a few months, while retaining a Singapore residence, is a far different situation.

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by dan91 » Sat, 14 May 2022 12:40 pm

Myasis Dragon wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 11:23 pm
dan91 wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 2:19 pm
smoulder wrote:
Sat, 02 Apr 2022 5:34 pm
I don't think that matters.
Thanks, why you think so?
Because, what they care about are folks like the clowns from the subcontinent who get PR, then immediately return back to India to work and live for 3 of their 5 year "PR". Traveling for a few weeks, or even a few months, while retaining a Singapore residence, is a far different situation.
Thanks Myasis Dragon.

So, may I clarify, you're saying that even if I breached that 1-year absence due to short-term leisure travels cumulated over a period of 6 years, it still doesn't matter?

It seems that cumulative physical presence is an explicitly stated basic requirement (regardless of the forms of absence it seems) according to several countries' citizenship requirements as shown below:
https://www.immigrationdirect.co.uk/how ... tizen.html
https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-ci ... uirements/
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... ility.html
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizen ... ligibility

Would appreciate it to hear experiences from anyone who has done the same as what I've mentioned in my post but still got their citizenship approved.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 14 May 2022 7:33 pm

dan91 wrote:
Sat, 14 May 2022 12:40 pm
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 11:23 pm
dan91 wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 2:19 pm

Thanks, why you think so?
Because, what they care about are folks like the clowns from the subcontinent who get PR, then immediately return back to India to work and live for 3 of their 5 year "PR". Traveling for a few weeks, or even a few months, while retaining a Singapore residence, is a far different situation.
Thanks Myasis Dragon.

So, may I clarify, you're saying that even if I breached that 1-year absence due to short-term leisure travels cumulated over a period of 6 years, it still doesn't matter?

It seems that cumulative physical presence is an explicitly stated basic requirement (regardless of the forms of absence it seems) according to several countries' citizenship requirements as shown below:
https://www.immigrationdirect.co.uk/how ... tizen.html
https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-ci ... uirements/
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... ility.html
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizen ... ligibility

Would appreciate it to hear experiences from anyone who has done the same as what I've mentioned in my post but still got their citizenship approved.
Sadly, Dan, all those links you have given us are for other countries. We are talking about Singapore and as far as I know, there is not a cumulative scorecard to enable you to get SGC here.

Singapore plays by their own rules and are not beholden to any other country. Their immigration criteria is shrouded in mystery but with some facts known (but not quantities or scorecards) like the fact that they use immigration to maintain the current demographic ethnic numbers here at a certain percentage of each of the races of the (resident) population here. It actually has nothing to do with how long you have been a PR here aside from the anecdotal evidence of certain estimated minimum durations before your application for SGC would be even entertained for consideration.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by Myasis Dragon » Sun, 15 May 2022 11:09 am

dan91 wrote:
Sat, 14 May 2022 12:40 pm
Myasis Dragon wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 11:23 pm
dan91 wrote:
Tue, 12 Apr 2022 2:19 pm

Thanks, why you think so?
Because, what they care about are folks like the clowns from the subcontinent who get PR, then immediately return back to India to work and live for 3 of their 5 year "PR". Traveling for a few weeks, or even a few months, while retaining a Singapore residence, is a far different situation.
Thanks Myasis Dragon.

So, may I clarify, you're saying that even if I breached that 1-year absence due to short-term leisure travels cumulated over a period of 6 years, it still doesn't matter?

It seems that cumulative physical presence is an explicitly stated basic requirement (regardless of the forms of absence it seems) according to several countries' citizenship requirements as shown below:
https://www.immigrationdirect.co.uk/how ... tizen.html
https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-ci ... uirements/
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... ility.html
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizen ... ligibility

Would appreciate it to hear experiences from anyone who has done the same as what I've mentioned in my post but still got their citizenship approved.
I have no idea what other country's regulations have to do with Singapore or your question.

Here's the real questions.

Have you constantly maintained a residence in Singapore? All good. Or did you let your residence lease lapse while you were out of country. Not so good.

Are you working for a Singapore company? All good. Or, have you gone to work for a foreign company while out of Singapore? Bad, bad.

Have you consistently paid Singapore income tax? Very good. Have you skipped paying Singapore income tax because you are living and working elsewhere? Also very bad bad.

Over a period of 18 months, my company rented me an apartment at KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur. I spent 3 or 4 days in KL every week, then flew back to Singapore. During this time I spent at least 3 weeks in Manila rescuing a project. I flew to Europe and the USA on 3 to 5 day business trips about once a quarter. Almost every weekend, I took the fast boat to Batam or Bintan, sometimes staying overnight, to play a rounds of golf. I spent almost 60 days in the USA, staying at my mother-in-law's house because of a contract that I took that required me to either take midnight con calls or work in the USA for a while.

And all the while I maintained my lease and residence in Singapore. I worked for my Singapore company. I paid Singapore income tax. I had my car inspected and paid annual road tax. The passport below is for more than 2 years but you can see that I traveled a fair bit. So, I ask you: Do you think that I had any trouble with my PR renewal? Hint: I did not.

As I previously stated, it really boils down to whether you've been living and working out of country or traveling for business and leisure. So, if you've been travelling home to the same city in India for 90 days, then coming back for 6 months, only to do it again, the chances might be good that your application will receive extra attention. Otherwise, as a red dot, the Singapore gahmen knows that people travel.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 15 May 2022 1:07 pm

And to show MS's passport isn't an anomality, here is a photo of mine before the US started gluing in additional bound booklets of pages....
20160823_223931_zpsdomgfry1.jpg

Every page in my passport except the identity info page had a 12 page accordion fold out page attached (6 pages front & back stamped) was cute and frustrating for Immigration officers looking for a blank page to stamp their chops in. I think that why they finally went to adding additional bound booklets of of pages like in MS's P/P. And no, I didn't lose my PR either.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

dan91
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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by dan91 » Sun, 15 May 2022 8:22 pm

Thanks Myasis Dragon and sundaymorningstaple. That's a lot of trips abroad there.

Yes, i'm well-aware they're of different jurisdictions even though all of them explicitly state the min. physical presence as one of their citizenship application requirements. However, while SG is much less explicit about their scorecard/requirements, they still explicitly asked about travel history declaration in the SC application which is why I can only imply that it does matter in their undisclosed scorecard. That's why I'm seeking relevant anecdotes here which may support or suggest otherwise. I hope you see where I'm getting at.

Now, I just want to make sure we're on the same page because I'm asking about how it might affect SC application approval rather than about maintaining/renewing PR. The SC application is explicit about this matter (as shown in the application form guide above) whereas the PR application is not (not sure about PR renewal).

So I would like to clarify if I may, while I understand your circumstances and the application process might have been different then, did both of you had to declare your extensive travel history in your SC application and still got your SC? Also, i think the government probably gives exemption to business-related travels like yours, but may not to remote-work-travel like what I intend.

Just to be clear, yes, I'll be (i) employed by SG-based company, (ii) paying income tax, and (iii) still maintain a rented residence in SG.

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by smoulder » Sun, 15 May 2022 9:57 pm

Neither of them are SCs. If I may, my wife successfully applied for an SC a few years ago. She had plenty of business travel over the years. Not remote work though.

Now when you say remote work, I believe that being paid in Singapore, paying taxes and contributing to CPF should be OK, I can't say the same thing about not fulfilling those criteria when you work remotely.

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by Myasis Dragon » Mon, 16 May 2022 1:55 am

dan91 wrote:
Sun, 15 May 2022 8:22 pm
Also, i think the government probably gives exemption to business-related travels like yours, but may not to remote-work-travel like what I intend.
What do you mean by "remote work travel"? Are you aware that there is virtually no country that you can go to for more than 90 days every calendar year (or every 6 months) without obtaining a residence and work permit, and working for a company with a legal presence in that country?

For example, you're planning on going to Malaysia to work for 6 months. A Malaysian registered business is required to hire you. You need a work permit. You are required to pay Malaysian personal income tax at either a resident or non-resident rate depending upon your length of employment.

And yes, before you ask, I flew under the radar... literally. You've seen my passport. I flew into KLIA on Sunday evenings almost every week. I had that fat ass passport that the Malaysian immigration officer "chopped". Not once was I ever asked why I was traveling so much. I had created a Malaysian company, and was prepared to pull work permits and all that, just in case, but it never happened.

By contrast, I had an employee fly into Bangkok one Sunday afternoon. The immigration officer thought she had too many stamps and counted the days she was in Thailand... 93. She was immediately put on a plane and sent back to Singapore. And yes, believe it or not, we got a different work permit for her and she was back in Bangkok on Tuesday.

I can't guess what the Singapore citizenship people will do in your case, because Singapore does not tax your overseas earnings when you are resident and paying tax in another country. But my SWAG says that unless you've got a good explanation as to why your job requires you to spend enough time to become tax resident in another country, the perception might be that you're not really married to Singapore.

But again, intent is a big thing. I mean, if you're a petroleum engineer, working for Exxon, and they send you to Malaysia for 8 months to upgrade a refinery, you know that Exxon will play straight with the Malaysian government, and get you a work permit and residency. You really would be legitimately out of Singapore for 8 months, and I bet the Singapore gahmen would still view this as a "temporary" assignment, even though you were no longer tax resident and living in Malaysia.

But if you're an independent consultant, and you keep grabbing contracts that take you hither and yon for months and months at a time, then I'd see problems... because you're not working for a company that sent you somewhere for a project, you're an individual making conscious choices to take longer term jobs outside of Singapore. I judge that will count against you... because, you might next time take that job outside Singapore and never come back.

And to close, this is one additional example of why it's so useless to ask other people in the forums about their backgrounds when they did/didn't get PR/SC/EP... the devil is always in the details.

Edit: A PS - I am assuming here that by "remote work", you're talking about physically traveling to another country to perform your job.

But if, by "remote work", you mean working for an overseas company with no Singapore presence, from your home or office in Singapore, then you are tax resident and there are no issues.

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by smoulder » Mon, 16 May 2022 11:51 am

^MD, there is one country that allows you to live indefinitely. The one that you are a citizen of. :)

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Re: Absence from Singapore

Post by dan91 » Fri, 24 Jun 2022 11:09 pm

Appreciate your inputs, smoulder and MD. :)

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