Singapore Expats Forum

Long-time resident moving back to Singapore

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 19 Jul 2011 5:52 pm

Nobody has ever said doing NS would help you to retain PR. Where did you get a silly idea like that? Doing NS is an obligation for having PR, full stop. Doing your NS will also add points to a subsequent application for Citizenship, but again, this is not a guarantee either.

But, not doing NS will cause you to not be able to ever get a job in Singapore once you leave if you don't exit Singapore in the proper manner. But as a PR, there are other criteria that must be maintained in order to keep your re-entry permit valid. Without a valid re-entry permit, your PR is canceled if you are outside of the country.

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Postby samuelt » Tue, 19 Jul 2011 6:01 pm

Clearly thats what happened, but don't you think its a little ironical that he served 2 years in the army for being a PR and just because he wanted to get a little work experience in the U.S. after graduation, they took his PR away? It seems that all PRs who are students abroad must rush back to Singapore immediately after graduation to hold on to their status.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 19 Jul 2011 7:51 pm

Just like my wife did when I got her PR (Green Card) for the US. (She's Singaporean). Every year, like it or not, we had to fly her to the US for three days in order to get that chop in her passport by US immigration or else she would lose her Green Card for the US. After three years of that bullshirt we decided we were going to stay in Singapore for a longish duration (little did I know it was going to be 29+ years!) so, on the advice of the US Immigration Officer in Singapore at that time, I was told it would be better if I returned the Green Card and three months before we were ready to return to the US permanently, to reapply and give the Immigration number to them as she has already been vetted. So, you see, it's basically the same no matter where you go. PR means permanent resident, if you are not in the country that you hold PR for, then you shouldn't have it. Simple really. Give it to somebody who wants to be here and not over there. For all your education, I am rather surprised you don't see the obvious. Where do you draw the line? one year, 3 years, twenty years? :?

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Postby taxico » Tue, 19 Jul 2011 8:25 pm

samuelt wrote:I'm not so arrogant to think I'm an "invaluable asset". I just think I fit the demographic profile of whom they want and I have, humbly, something to offer.

Actually, there are quite a few Singapore scholars I've met here and around who would probably have gotten financial aid out of american universities given their stats, but chose to accept a Singapore bonded scholarship because at 19 yrs old, they didn't know any better and it was supposed to be prestigious but now limits their options. Given the number of unhappy ones, they didn't have their eyes fully wide open at 19.

Singapore is the only home I've known. However, there are many people prevented from going home all round the world due to wars, famine etc, so I suppose I'm better off given I have a chance to go home.


i have nothing to say about PRs who have done their NS and left, then were unable to obtain permits to reside/work in singapore. perhaps your malaysian friend might not have given you a complete/impartial picture about his plight.

i considered a graduate student such as yourself an invaluable asset since you had $500k of education over the past 5-6 years (i wouldn't call you a "bargain immigrant"). however it would be wise to note that people with more expensive education, extensive work experience and singapore-linked backgrounds have been denied the opportunity to work/live in singapore.

again. it's not our call on whether or not such candidates should/should not be allowed in. the government may have a clearer idea of who is desired and who is not. some participants on this forum have proven the regulars wrong by getting working permits/visas despite being (in others' opinion) ineligible.

as for singapore being your home... would you really come back and take up singapore citizenship if you were offered a good job and permanent residency in the US even if your parents no longer lived in singapore?

if so, hats off to you: not many people are as patriotic as you these days and i think you should plan properly on how to return to singapore.

singapore overseas scholars... sigh! if 19 year old students who have done well for their A levels are not able to decide if they want to be bonded to a particular entity for X number of years, they should be dragged out and shot.

especially since they have a fast-tracked career waiting for them once they graduate and are considered infallible even if they were to make mistakes.

personally, i have not finished performing one condition of school admission/graduation - it's not a scholarship but to study in my college, i had to agree to that condition.

do i like it? not really. do i regret it? sometimes. would i have done it again if i had the chance to turn back time? probably not. hind sight is always 20/20.

but worse things had/can happen. i was given a place to study there because i promised to serve my community for 2 years. i think it's a small price to pay for attending my college and i intend to go home and fulfill the remaining 12 months in future OR pay it off in cash.

either way, i have to be responsible for what i've done. i feel that if i'm old enough to own and use firearms/operate motor vehicles, i should be old enough to know what i'm signing up for.

the singaporeans you spoke to are either whining spoilt brats (as many singaporeans are) or you may have misinterpreted their grumblings for something more than that. if they meant it, those little sh!ts deserve to be in misery for taking an opportunity away from others.

whatever the case, an option is always available to them if they wish to break their bond or change careers. i don't think they've asked and are probably waiting for such options to be served to them on a golden platter.

lastly, i'm not in favor of scholarship holders bilking the american (or any other) education system for financial aid when the money should go to more deserving students.

i doubt i'm very much older than you, but i think young people these days need to stop having such a strong sense of entitlement and wake the heck up.
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Postby taxico » Tue, 19 Jul 2011 8:33 pm

^ just my 2c of course.
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Postby samuelt » Wed, 20 Jul 2011 9:42 am

Taxico, I take it that you are in the U.S. right now. It may have been the land of opportunity 10-20 yrs ago, but it does seem to be in desperate straits right now. Not only is unemployment around 10%, but people are working in jobs beneath them. Doctors are working as nurses and lawyers as paralegals because of job cuts. Booming Asia is where many people want to be now. So, no, I would not consider migrating to the U.S. Given the refusal to let the banks go bust and to take the pain, I wouldn't be surprised if eventually it becomes another Japan with low GDP growth for decades, which will also imply high unemployment for a long time. Even if I get a good job here, its likely to be shaky given the state of the economy.

Singapore on the other hand is where my family, extensive relative network and friends are. Life should be very comfortable living with my parents whom I get along with very well as they have a large house, cars, club memberships that I can use etc, which imply very low living expenses and a high quality of life. Straight salary might be higher in the U.S., but the S$ has been strenghtening and taxes are almost nothing, which implies more disposable income for me. I am patriotic towards Singapore and not particularly fond of the country of my citizenship, but my desire to return is also practical.

As for the unhappy Singapore scholars, I don't disagree with you because the Singapore Government entities treat them extremely well. Some at my Uni are very comfortable and even have cars. Some of the scholar grad students even get CPF! because their ministries or stat boards sent them here. In contrast, many of the Malaysians wear hand-me-downs and eat a lot of instant noodles to cut down on costs. However, it is clear that at 19 they didn't completely understand what they were getting into and now faced with 4-12 year bonds, reality is sinking in especially to those who love it here and want to stay in the U.S. Sadly, most will return unhappy and leave for the private sector the very day their bonds expire - at least that's what they say. Some of the amounts are huge - > $500K - so it would bankrupt their families who have put up bonds. The fast track career and invulnerability are clearly not on their minds at this point. They want out and ASAP.

As I mentioned before, quite a few of these guys had perfect A levels and almost perfect SATs. Many were national champions in some sport or president of the student councils so they would probably have gotten financial aid from the U.S. colleges. U.S. universities give foreign students financial aid to add diversity to the student pool, so its quite legitimate for a Singaporean to apply for financial aid even though he qualifies for a scholarship in Singapore.

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Postby taxico » Wed, 20 Jul 2011 1:00 pm

samuelt wrote:Taxico, I take it that you are in the U.S. right now...

Doctors are working as nurses and lawyers as paralegals because of job cuts....

Booming Asia is where many people want to be now...

Singapore on the other hand is where my family, extensive relative network and friends are. Life should be very comfortable living with my parents whom I get along with very well as they have a large house, cars, club memberships that I can use etc, which imply very low living expenses and a high quality of life.

...more disposable income for me. I am patriotic towards Singapore and not particularly fond of the country of my citizenship, but my desire to return is also practical.


i am in singapore right now because of my parents. i am born in the US to americans but i studied for many years in singapore.

my parents are now singaporeans - singapore is now their only home and i badly want to spend time with them despite wanting to go back to the US to work.

although jobs are lacking i don't think doctors in america are "working as nurses." the good ole days of excesses are long over... it's time to pull up our bootstraps.

asia may be where it's hot $$$ and the US may be in the doldrums right now, but USA will forever be a great nation whose flag shall bow to no one or thing. don't be too quick to dismiss it.

God bless America!

(for reasons which may/may not be apparent to you, my input to this thread ends here.)
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Postby Mad Scientist » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 5:10 am

samuelt wrote:It's true that I don't have any commercial work experience, but Singapore didn't spend $500K educating me over the past 5-6 years either so I am a bargain "immigrant" for them. There are a few Singaporean scholars here and its amazing how much their bonds are. I'm quite confident of getting home eventually... I hope its just a matter of time.


@Samuelt; I am abit puzzled. Did you state SG gahmen spend $500K on you for your education in SG or US for the past 5 to 6 years? Are you under scholarship programme or President Scholar(which is totally impossible) or PSC Scholars programme.
You state you gave PR upon you leaving for US for you tertiary , so where does this "spend on you " comes in
Am I missing something here or I really need my glasses .
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Postby samuelt » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 7:30 am

Mad Scientist wrote:@Samuelt; I am abit puzzled. Did you state SG gahmen spend $500K on you for your education in SG or US for the past 5 to 6 years? Are you under scholarship programme or President Scholar(which is totally impossible) or PSC Scholars programme.
You state you gave PR upon you leaving for US for you tertiary , so where does this "spend on you " comes in
Am I missing something here or I really need my glasses .


MS, I meant that Singapore government entities spend an enormous amount on their citizens education i.e., the scholars. The fact that Singapore didn't spend any money on me (my parents and various on-campus jobs paid for my education), I present myself as a relative bargain compared to the cost of putting a citizen through 6 years of university education with uncertain results. Given my A Level results, I would very likely have gotten a scholarship if I was a citizen or PR. As I mentioned I was accepted into law school in Singapore, which isn't easy to get in. The U.S. colleges grant scholarships based on need rather than merit and my family didn't qualify so I'm not on any scholarship at all.

Also, unlike foreigners from PRC, India etc, I don't present any integration issues in Singapore having lived there as a local mee-pok loving boy all my life. Growing up, I sang Majulah Singapore proudly during assembly through primary school until a teacher pointed out that I didn't have to because I wasn't Singaporean. I still sang it.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 7:58 am

yes , yes I agree with you. All those from President Scholars , PSC, and other gahmen sponsor albeit white horses have a $500 K bond on their head to get into Stanfield , MIT and other reputable overseas tertiary. But the bucks stop there. They cannot pursue Masters or PHD as they have to return to SG to serve NS , half their bond before furthering their studies or they must have prior approval in order to pursue. That is the very reason some parenst pay off the bond in order for their children to continue their studies overseas.
I too applied for PSC scholarship years ago but there was no quota for "other race" category.
Anyway, here is the truth on how the gahmen works. I believe you will get PEP or EP even now if you apply . Your dad will pull string to get you here but you can kiss goodbye on gaining back your PR.
But if for some reason , they knew this , you whole future will fall into tatters.
Just thread carefully. It is not how you how you show yourself to be a"bargain" but how MOM perceive your return as something valuable towards SG economy.
As I said it is best you find work in US first and gain some work experience before applying but this is your call. Only you can make this call.
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Postby samuelt » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:07 am

MS, I was never a PR. On LTVP then student pass for whole life until I left. I hope that makes it easier for me to get PR since I never had to renounce it.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 4:07 pm

Oops my bad, I forgot about this. Even that you need an EP before you can apply for PR. My gut feeling you will be able to get your PR once you manage to get EP here.
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Postby lester2011 » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 6:08 pm

hey samuelIT,

I am in a similar position as you. Its funny how you realise where home is after many years abroad... its tough.. most of my friends n food are back there.. its heart breaking..

I tried to get in singapore with EP - employment pass - yeah the employers took this "opportunity" to swipe at me with a $4500/month job (on EP). which isn't quite enough, taking into consideration that I have 7 years experience.. plus it wouldn't get me a singapore PR...

Reality check. Its highly possible that I may never live in spore again

Forget the EP. most singaporean employers look at EP workers cuz
1) they are " a cheaper source"
2) employers don't need to pay CPF towards EP holders
Good deal for them..

I know what the other forum members said about EP...

you can try it , and see what low0priced job offers they will offer you cuz they know that you need their help in securing an EP....

High income EP holders are typically expats who are sponsored by their own companies to work in singapore.. ie setup a branch, oversee big projects, etc

I haven't heard or come across high income EP who applied and got into spore..

Reality check. For somebody who has never done NS, you can't work or study in singapore.. its also stated in their ICA website but you are not a PR, that puts a spin to the whole story but puts you back to getting EP


I read your earlier posts, I feel you bro.
Your best shot at getting back in singapore - is through your DAD

IF your DAD can pull some strings thru his contacts and get you a high paying job in ANY BANK OR WHATEVER SHIT HOLE...

... just suck it in and take the job, get PR and look for another job

Im still stuck in another country which I used to think I will live in forever. Good thing your family has influential friends/contacts

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Postby samuelt » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:02 pm

lester2011, thanks for your thoughts, but I am determined to make it back home on my own merits and contribute to the country. With 1.9% unemployment rate, I would think that Singapore is getting pretty desperate for people. With one nationality that provided most of the FT supply cut off perhaps one humble but hardworking quasi-Singaporean Chinese Ivy grad with a stellar academic record can get a job on an EP. The bak chor mee sellers in Singapore will surely celebrate my return. I will even eat my mee siam with hum if they let me in (wonder if SMS has learned any hokkien during his years in Singapore)

I should finish up by early 2012 so I'll start approaching Singapore employers around December, but also interview here in the U.S.

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Postby lester2011 » Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:32 pm

Good on you. I also believe in depending on oneself, not depend on others.
If you make it back to spore, I am sure the bak cho mee n mee siam sellers will celebrate your return with extra hum!... although there are few good ones in spore these days..

I bet you haven't been back to spore for a while, things have changed dramatically in spore. Its no longer the spore that we grew up in, its extremely congested, hotter, less good old hawker food- many have closed/retired or made way for generic food. Food is still the best in spore! n msia.. :)


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