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Falling In Between the Cracks for PR?

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
IronMac
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Falling In Between the Cracks for PR?

Postby IronMac » Tue, 05 May 2009 7:28 am

Hi all,

Ok, been having a really tough time trying to figure out a solution to our problem here. I'm a Canadian citizen who has just married a Singaporean woman and would like to move here.

My highest level of education is an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto. I have had a few years of retail management experience and a few years of experience as an industry analyst. I currently work as a freelance editor/publisher for an American company from a home office. I am in SG on a visitors' pass that has been extended for 30 days.

My wife is a Singaporean citizen who does not work at the moment because she has been taking care of her parents (her Dad just recently passed away) for the past three years. She does do jewelry design and some sales on the side which is reflected in her income tax return but her main income is through investments. That income is not reflected in those returns.

Right now, in addition to extending my visitor's pass, I've applied for the EPEC pass in order to give us some time to deal with the PR process. But, the PR application seems to put a lot of weight on the sponsor's reported income, which is negligible in my wife's case.

My wife says that it's best to apply for PR on my own merits. Everyone that we've talked to says that it should not be difficult for me since I do have an MBA, years of work experience, of Chinese descent although born in Canada, currently am employed so am not necessarily actively seeking employment in SG. (I have been offered a week-long English-teaching gig from a friend of mine who is an English teacher, though.)

My wife and I have a great work-life balance right now. We both have our respective incomes and I can really help her take care of invalid mother. After she passes, my wife is considering going back to work (she has two degrees and a decade of work experience in SG) or, if we're lucky, raise a family here.

Sorry for the ramble but any assist would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 05 May 2009 9:59 am

With your qualifications, and also being a CBC, I would apply under the technical merits scheme. They will will also look at your family ties here and generally will grant it based on whichever one has the stronger basis. It would be better though if you could find a job first and therefore at least start with an EP. An EPEC would be a good safe place to start as that would buy you time and you also wouldn't run foul of the ICA with the trips in/out for visa runs.

Good luck.

sms

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Postby littlegreenman » Tue, 05 May 2009 7:15 pm

SMS is pretty much spot on but as you have an MBA, a "good citizenship" and if you live of investment income which as I take means you have more than just a few thousand quid in a bank account there might be an alternative route for you to PR. A friend of mine who had been on EP for 12 years, applied for PR and lost his job during the application process. This actually meant the PR application was invalid and couldn't be completed even if it got approved. He would have had to leave the country.

A visit to his local MP followed by a letter to Lee Kuan Yew, co-signed by the MP changed all that and he got a reply within two weeks that he could complete the formalities straight away at ICA, no further questions asked. This was in 2007.

What I am trying to say is that you can't force anything but you can always try to seek help from your local MP (assuming you live in a PAP constituency). Singapore always has wanted to attract the bright, rich and successful and although you don't fit 100% into any visa/PR category, they wouldn't want to turn you away. The only problem is to get past the "lower level employee" at the ICA to the decision makers. Give it a try, as you shouldn't have anything to lose. Good luck.

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Postby IronMac » Tue, 05 May 2009 8:25 pm

Thanks to the both of you. Yeah, our biggest problem is that we don't fit into the sort of expectations that MOM or ICA has. Yes, we're both well-educated, we have our own incomes, we're here to take care of her mother who lives with us, we own outright the HDB flat we're living in, we're both Chinese and we want to start a family in SG. We're like the ideal SG family except that we just don't "fit".

I'd love to get a job in SG but it'd be hard to find one that pays as well with the hours that I now do. And if I find one in SG, with the attendant hours expected, that would wreck the great work-life balance we have now. My mother-in-law requires almost round-the-clock care and my wife feels like a prisoner at times. With me being able to finish work at around noon, my wife can go out during the afternoon while I watch over her mother.

I don't know if this is good news or not but EPEC came back asking for copies of my passport photo, passport, and degrees (I only have my transcripts but they all say when the degree was granted so I am hoping that that is good enough.). I only applied for the EPEC yesterday afternoon and my first email communication with them said to expect a reply in four days.

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Postby Saint » Wed, 06 May 2009 8:38 am

Just to give you further insight, I'm a Brit married to a Singaporean and we had been living in the UK for over 4 years when we decided to apply for my PR. I hardly fitted any of the criteria, highest education was an A'Level, never worked in Singapore, wife hadn't worked in Singapore for 4 years so no tax returns, no job secured in Singapore at time of application etc etc didn't really tick a lot of boxes to be honest!

But the biggest box ticked I had was being married to a Singaporean, with a Singapore wedding cert. The way I saw it was that if they refused me PR they were basically saying they didn't want my wife to return and live in Singapore!

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Postby littlegreenman » Wed, 06 May 2009 8:09 pm

Saint wrote:But the biggest box ticked I had was being married to a Singaporean, with a Singapore wedding cert. The way I saw it was that if they refused me PR they were basically saying they didn't want my wife to return and live in Singapore!


That is a good point. Also it is interesting to note that the wording on the ICA website has been changed since the last two years. When I left Singapore after we just got married in 2007 the ICA still said that a male citizen can sponsor his wife for PR. However it said a female citizen can sponsor her husband IF she has the means to support him. I noticed now two years later that this has been removed and in general citizens can sponsor their spouses for PR.

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Postby duke24 » Tue, 12 May 2009 4:28 pm

IronMac and others -

I am in sort of a similar situation. I just finished my MBA at an Ivy League school in States and want to apply for a PR through my wife who is a Singapore Citizen. She is right now in Singapore and has been teaching in a Gov school for the last 6 years. I am planning to join her later this month on a Work Holiday Permit which will allow me to work for 6 months and during that time I will apply for a PR. However the cause of concern is the length of our marriage. We got married 2 1/2 months back while I was visiting her early this year.

I read on a few other discussion boards that one should ideally be married for atleast 6 months while apping for a PR. Unfortunately in my case this isnt true. I am trying to gauge my chances and would really appreciate any help.

IronMac - Let me know how it goes with your appn. Also PM me if you can.

Thnx
D

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Postby littlegreenman » Tue, 12 May 2009 6:48 pm

Hi Duke 24,

as you have good education and a good citizenship, you might be alright. You just won't know until you try because the actualy scoring system is not public and a lot of guesswork is all that is available. Bottom line is though that Singapore has always been wanting to attract foreign talent and I do not think that this has changed much for spouses of Singaporeans applying for PR (EP side might be different). THat is the important thing: you are married to a Singaporean AND you got married in Singapore. Try sooner rather than later, you can go to the Singapore Foreign Mission to submit your application (see my recent thread on this issue). At the same time I would suggest your wife speaks to her local MP to ask for help (should he be PAP).

Good luck,
Michael

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Postby IronMac » Tue, 12 May 2009 8:49 pm

Just a small update - I got a reply this morning from MOM asking for more information in the form of passport photo and degrees. I had a look at their site after logging in and it seems that they require a passport sized photo in an upright position. They're also asking for copies of my degrees but I left in my transcripts which is all I have here in SG and which were previously submitted.

Saint, thanks for the reassuring info although my wife said that two years ago if you had a pulse you were good to go. hehehe

On another note, with regards to your spouse sponsoring you you need S$2500 per month in declared income for the past year. The friend who offered me the weeklong teaching gig has a friend who married a PRC but could not sponsor her. He is a taxi driver and has been "under-reporting" his income which has now come back to haunt him. So, she has been deported and his only recourse now is to properly declare his income in the hope that ICA will look more favourably on their situation in the next year or so.

Also, Duke, my friend says that PR cases are handled on a "case-by-case" basis so a decision in one case may not necessarily apply to your case. (I don't think that the forum software here allows for PMs until you pass three posts.)

littlegreenman, yep, we have the many copies of the SG wedding cert and were married at Raffles. :D How much more SG can you get?

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Postby IronMac » Tue, 12 May 2009 9:03 pm

Sorry...my mistake there with regards to the sponsorship income requirement. I meant to say that the sponsoring spouse has to show a monthly income of S$2500 for the past year. That is what I heard from my friend so the info might be wrong.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 12 May 2009 10:16 pm

Well, the income figure might be flexible because Saint got his sometime in the last 12 months without any income on either side of the family in Singapore. And yeah, about 2 years ago they were throwing PR approvals out the windows and just about anybody who could still take a breath was able to get one. Of course if you are Chinese you have a definite advantage and they need all the help they can considering Singapore has the 3rd lowest fertility rate in the world (something like 1.2 or 1.3) And of the four races, the Chinese have the lowest. Therefore I've had probably half a dozen Indonesian Chinese on S passes get their PR after only 6 months here. Got to keep the racial percentages up otherwise the PAP might start to get a little antsy.... :-|

As was pointed out, it's all on a case by case basis. Be thankful you didn't have to go through what I did. I got married here as well, but I had to sign a letter stating that my marriage would in no way help me gain PR at a later date! If I didn't give that to them I would not be allowed to get married here. I didn't even have an employment pass at the time - I worked out of Singapore for 11 years on a tourist visa. I had one Singaporean wife, two Singaporean/Yank kids and three cars on a tourist visa. When I told that to the ICA officers at my PR interview (it was a real interview in those days - had nothing at all to do with finalities) The interviewer's jaw dropped on his chest! (The third try - Application, Appeal, Application two years later)

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Postby Saint » Wed, 13 May 2009 12:01 am

IronMac wrote:
littlegreenman, yep, we have the many copies of the SG wedding cert and were married at Raffles. :D How much more SG can you get?


So did we! :cool:

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Postby littlegreenman » Wed, 13 May 2009 12:10 am

Saint wrote:
IronMac wrote:
littlegreenman, yep, we have the many copies of the SG wedding cert and were married at Raffles. :D How much more SG can you get?


So did we! :cool:


Fullerton Hotel for us. (My goodness, now we are like the wives comparing our weddings, geez guys) :lol:

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Postby duke24 » Wed, 13 May 2009 2:13 am

Guys - Thanks a lot. Really appreciate your help.

I will be flying next week to Singapore and would probably put in my application by the end of this month. Will keep y'all updated.

regards
D

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Postby IronMac » Thu, 14 May 2009 1:01 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:As was pointed out, it's all on a case by case basis. Be thankful you didn't have to go through what I did. I got married here as well, but I had to sign a letter stating that my marriage would in no way help me gain PR at a later date! If I didn't give that to them I would not be allowed to get married here. I didn't even have an employment pass at the time - I worked out of Singapore for 11 years on a tourist visa. I had one Singaporean wife, two Singaporean/Yank kids and three cars on a tourist visa. When I told that to the ICA officers at my PR interview (it was a real interview in those days - had nothing at all to do with finalities) The interviewer's jaw dropped on his chest! (The third try - Application, Appeal, Application two years later)


Wow...you must be better at hiding from the authorities than that terrorist whose mugshot I see everywhere! :lol:


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