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Guide to NS issues

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kraikk
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Guide to NS issues

Postby kraikk » Thu, 25 Jun 2009 8:43 pm

Good day to all

I have been lurking on this forum for a long time and doing some research into this issue. In response to the same questions being asked over and over, I have written a short guide on NS issues for dual citizens and PRs. I hope it will be useful to all. Moderators, please remove if unhelpful. I also hope those who know enough and have experience can correct my mistakes and add useful information.

My interest in this is purely academic - I was born in Singapore to Singaporean parents and have lived here all my life (and served NS, of course). All the information here is either from the Internet or from anecdotes and hearsay. Remember that the final word is with Mindef or a court. Contact Mindef and retain a lawyer, that is the best advice you'll get on this forum. Please read the information here at your own risk.

Permanent Residents

Second generation PRs who attain PR status through their parents are required to serve NS. However, PR can be given up at any time. If you do not wish to serve, simply give up your PR at ICA. This allows you to legally avoid NS.

Note that giving up PR will have an adverse effect on any future immigration dealings with Singapore. Travelling and social visits on temporary visas should be no problem at all, while re-applying for PR and citizenship is probably out of the question. In between lies employment passes and such – I’m not sure about this but they’d take giving up PR into account.

First generation PRs are generally not required to serve. From the ICA website: “Main applicants who are granted PR status under the first generation Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) Scheme or the Investor Scheme are exempted from NS.”
Last edited by kraikk on Tue, 15 Jun 2010 9:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby jpatokal » Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:17 am

Looks like a good summary to me, I'd been hoping somebody would write this up. Time to change this into a sticky?
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 26 Jun 2009 12:06 pm

After all the research I've done over the past couple of years and the work that PHK did as well. I also have been meaning to do it. Seeing somebody as gone to the trouble of collating all that into one meaningful post. I'd say let's get him his place in the sun!

By the way, excellent job of putting all our pieces together kraikk!

sms

jpatokal wrote:Time to change this into a sticky?


Done!

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Re: Guide to NS issues

Postby igwt » Fri, 26 Jun 2009 8:53 pm

Hi kraikk,

Thank for the good work.

Have you research into the deal about both parents renouncing before the boy turns 18, as posted by Johnny3 in the "exemption from national service" thread (page 7, Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:41 pm Post subject: Re: Singapore/UK dual national and NS). Is this a viable option?

Johnny3 wrote:Here is my story, hope it helps:

3 kids with me here in the US, eldest son born in Singapore, left Singapore when he was 11 months old. So he never benefitted from any Singapore education or anything else, except using his SIngapore passport. His passport expired before he is 11, of course not knowing any details, since these poilicies are not well known, I like a dum dum, extended his passport. Got 2 year extension of which he never used his passport anyway. So in 2006, we all became US Citizens. I applied for him to renounce his Singapore citizenship, denied by Mindef as they say he benefitted from being a Singapore Citizen. Hence the saga starts.

After a few e-mails and letters, found out that the passport extension was the key. Consulted some school mate lawyers, wrote back to Mindef that the "fault of ther father should not bind the future of the son". Still no cigar. I wrote and wrote and this even included the Minister of Defence.

Wife and I divorced in 2006 and she renounced her Singapore Citizenship. Sent in more paperwork and asked for appeal again for deferment to renouce his citizenship. Again denied. Then talked to few families in California undergoing similar problems. Was told that precedents have been set that if both parents give up their Singapore Citizenship, thus showing that they are severing ties with Singapore, then MINDEF will grant deferment to renounce. CAVEAT IS son must be below 18 years old when this happens.

Did not want to give up my Singapore Citizenship, since no one would take it away. Talked to ICA and they told me many Singaporeans living overseas have dual citizenships. Officially you should not, but the govt does not want to lose talented Singaporeans. Anyway asked Mindef point blank if this was the case, they of course simply said that my appeal was denied.

Finally after 2 years of tussling with MINDEF, I walked a difficult path to give up my Singapore Citizenship for the sake of my son. FINALLY, sent in my de-registration of being a Singapore Citizen to MINDEF and then they finally agreed to let him go. Letter provided to say that they attached an updated exit permit for him for 2 years. When he turns 16.5 years, they will send up paperwork for him to register for NS, at that time they will then give him an exit permit until he is 21 and then he must renounce his citizenship. Hope this helps out to those reading this board.

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Postby kraikk » Sat, 27 Jun 2009 12:44 am

Thank you for sticking this up. I hope to be corrected and clarified on any errors. If anyone has editing rights, please go ahead and edit as you see fit, Wikipedia style.

The son would be a case of negligible socio-economic benefits that the parent managed to negotiate away.

I am not sure why Mindef would demand that it was contingent upon renunciation of the parent's citizenship. Dual citizenship is not recognised after 22. This is Article 134(1) of the Constitution:

"The Government may, by order, deprive a citizen of Singapore of his citizenship if the Government is satisfied that —

(a) he has, while of or over the age of 18 years, at any time after 6th April 1960 acquired by registration, naturalisation or other voluntary and formal act (other than marriage) the citizenship of any country outside Singapore or having so acquired such citizenship before the age of 18 years continues to retain it after that age"

It would seem that the situation described in the Johnny's case is a negotiated renunciation instead of a deprivation under this Article. Perhaps like being asked to resign instead of being fired. Or perhaps the government wanted to sever ties cleanly with his family: they probably did not relish letting the son off but still having to protect his father. But these are just my guesses; I hope to hear from those with experiences.

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Postby char siu » Sun, 28 Jun 2009 5:23 am

does anybody know when an NS defaulter would receive a jail sentence? do jail sentences only apply to very serious cases of NS evasion?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 28 Jun 2009 11:30 am

char siu wrote:does anybody know when an NS defaulter would receive a jail sentence? do jail sentences only apply to very serious cases of NS evasion?


First of all, what is a very serious case of NS evasion? If you left the country and took up residence in another country and knowingly did not return to do your NS that's pretty serious. (especially if you eventually took up citizenship in the other country before legally being able to renounce Singapore's citizenship. While the dual citizenship may well be allowed in the 2nd country, the country of birth's citizenship takes precedence. From a Singapore legal standpoint you are a deserter. Here you are a deserter or you're not. It's like an on/off switch. Is it more serious if you are rich? or middle of the road? Is it overstaying for a year or 10 years. I doubt if the military here will see it in degrees.

Having said that, after the pianoman's case a couple of years ago, mindef will probably eventually make a case for a jail sentence as well as a fine as Singapore is famous for "making an example" of people if they want to stop or at least slow down a practice that "They" think is wrong. This, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks of them. So, yes. The odds are getting better and better that somebody will eventually have the book thrown at them as a means of getting their message across.

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Postby kraikk » Sun, 28 Jun 2009 12:54 pm

This Minsiterial Statement is the most comprehensive statement from the government on penalties for NS defaulters, since the laws were changed after the Melvyn Tan debacle.

http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_a ... 06_nr.html

In particular, I quote:

"MINDEF does not consider it necessary at this time to seek a minimum mandatory jail sentence for Enlistment Act offences, as the circumstances of the cases vary widely. However, from now on, MINDEF will ask the prosecutor to press for a jail sentence in serious cases of NS defaulters, and explain why we consider a jail sentence appropriate in a particular case. Serious cases include those who default on their full-time National Service responsibilities for two years or longer from the time they were required to register or enlist, or from the time their exit permits expired for those granted deferment, whichever is later. We believe that it is in the public interest that such NS defaulters face a jail sentence, unless there are mitigating circumstances."

"Where the default period exceeds two years but the defaulter is young enough to serve his full-time and operationally ready NS duties in full, MINDEF will press for a short jail sentence.


Where the defaulter has reached an age when he cannot serve his full-time NS in a combat vocation or fulfil his operationally ready NS obligations in full, a longer jail sentence to reflect the period of NS he has evaded may be appropriate.


Where the defaulter has reached an age when he cannot be called up for NS at all, a jail sentence up to the maximum of three years may be appropriate."

In summary,
Default for less than 2 years - hopefully no jail, probably a fine followed by NS. There was a case not long ago where an Australian was punished with probation and community service, partly because he showed the court he was very glad to serve and only defaulted for a few months.

More than 2 years but still young enough to serve in full - I am not sure what age is the maximum for full time service - short jail, followed by NS

More than 2 years and no longer able to serve NSF, but less than 40 - longer jail sentence

More than 2 years and above 40 - up to 3 years

Note that these sentences are just what Mindef/ the prosecutor will argue for in their prosecution, final discretion is with the court.

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Postby char siu » Sun, 28 Jun 2009 8:29 pm

I found this:

"The courts have imposed jail sentence on single instance defaulters only in cases where there are aggravating factors, such as repeated Enlistment Act offences, past criminal records, concurrent charges of other civil offences, and absconding during investigation."

this could be an example of a serious case.. crime etc.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 28 Jun 2009 10:45 pm

So I guess you need to look at the date those two statements/judgements were made. If the first is later than what you have just noted, then gamble if you want. He who keeps looking for easy way out usually get fingers burned.

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Re: Guide to NS issues

Postby igwt » Sat, 11 Jul 2009 11:30 pm

Hi kraikk:

You mentioned "A lawyer is definitely useful" under the section "If all has failed". I wonder what explicitly could a lawyer do in this matter? Do you think there is room for negotiation with Mindef by a lawyer?

Has anyone here used a lawyer before and care to share your experience?

Thanks.

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Re: Guide to NS issues

Postby kraikk » Sun, 12 Jul 2009 7:48 pm

igwt wrote:Hi kraikk:

You mentioned "A lawyer is definitely useful" under the section "If all has failed". I wonder what explicitly could a lawyer do in this matter? Do you think there is room for negotiation with Mindef by a lawyer?

Has anyone here used a lawyer before and care to share your experience?

Thanks.


I have not heard of anyone using a lawyer. I suggested retaining a lawyer because this is a legal matter and a lawyer is far better placed to advise you than the Internet or a forum of random strangers. Explicitly, a lawyer can explain your options and consequences and prepare and file necessary documents. I am not sure what Mindef thinks of negotiating with lawyers but I cannot think of any reason for which you would not be allowed to use one. Finally, if your case is right on the borderline, a lawyer might advise you to challenge an administrative decision by Mindef in court. I have not read any case on dual citizenship in Singapore and to be honest, I'm looking forward to the first one.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 06 Aug 2009 12:26 pm

I have just come across the following website which has a whole lot of good information regarding overseas Singaporeans and how to deal with a lot of the problems and it also answers some of those other questions like returning to Singapore in the future after giving up citizenship, re: work, PR or even re-applying for citizenship. Quite a good site....

Overseas Singaporean

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Exemption to Singapore NS critical information (Revised)

Postby PHK » Thu, 03 Sep 2009 9:31 pm

I am not an attorney, this is not legal advice, but if you would like to know-

Exemption from Singapore NS critical information (Revised):


1. Get you son's out of Singapore before their 11th birthday (age 13 is unconfirmed). These ages are recommended by the U.S. Embassy Singapore as a guide. MinDef advises there is no specific age, however, each young man is handled on a case-by-case basis and it is just safer to observe these ages so that your child is judged to have left Singapore at a young enough age.

a. Immediately document the departure date and new foreign domicile for each individual by mailing in the ICA change of address form for persons residing overseas: http://www.ica.gov.sg/data/resources/do ... orm_A1.pdf

2. On or before the 13th birthday send a registered letter, with postcard return receipt for yourself, to ICA and MinDef declaring intention to renounce child's citizenship at age 21. Include a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate, citizenship certificate (if applicable), proof of foreign school enrollment / attendance, proof of departure date from Singapore. The addresses for this notification are as follows:

Central Manpower Base
3 Depot Road, #02-07
Singapore 109680
Tel# +65-6373-3132

ICA Renunciation Unit
10 Kallang Road, #06-00
Singapore 208718
Tel# +65-6391-6316

3. Avoid the complications of applying for or retaining a Singapore Passport as a Dual Citizen. If your son’s need to physically enter, exit or live in Singapore then they can do so with their foreign passport too. Simply go to the ICA 6th floor Citizenship office with your child’s foreign passport and proof of Singapore citizenship and have them place a “Right of Entry”

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Attorney Referral - Dual Citizen's seeking exemption to NS

Postby PHK » Fri, 11 Sep 2009 9:57 pm

Everybody,

I am no longer going to provide the lawyer referral that my wife's relative from Australia used for their son. This is in light of the fact that this attorney, just like all the other lawyers in Singapore, is not interested in truly taking NS cases because of the perception that little money can be made and that ultimately it is not winnable.

The suggestions that we have posted in this column is free of charge and is posted with the best of intentions. Follow it to the best of your ability, if you do get in trouble, and a fine is requested, just pay it in hopes of having the best chance of winning the exemption to NS. As recently experienced by another member, it is possible to have your son's renunciation accepted by ICA at age 21 and still be on the warrant of arrest list with MinDef. ICA and MidDef are separate government agencies, each with their own enforcement policies.

Frankly the cost of going to court, retaining an attorney, and trying to fight is much higher than a fine. Not to mention the "emotional toll" that all this will take from you and your family.

Some people try to resolve their dispute with MinDef in person when they visit Singapore and make the mistake of taking their minor age son's along to the meeting. No matter how young your kid is, they will separate both of you for individual interviews, video tape everything with loaded questions and then you are stuck. I personally know of this happening to somebody and then MinDef suggested to the father after the interview that he could now be charged with assisting a potential defaulter which in itself is also a Federal offense in Singapore. Given their Asian upbringing, their son will graduate high school and will now be back to serve NS shortly, as a foreign citizen no less who will not retain Singapore citizenship. In this case the parents sent the notification to renounce letter at age 11, all that was missed was obtaining the exit pass at age 13 within 3 months due to a sudden change in the rule. If handled properly, this could have been forgiven with a simple fine and they would have been able to proceed forward from there for deferment and exemption from NS hopefully.

Communicate with MinDef without emotion, in writing or by telephone preferably, do not ever expect them to have common sense, and you will have the best chance for the most reasonable outcome with your son's future. Follow the 9 steps I wrote above, learn from other people, and please let us know if we missed something.

Please keep your experiences coming and let us learn from each other. Thank you for your time.


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