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Religious Worker / Missonaries in Singapore? What visa?

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
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Religious Worker / Missonaries in Singapore? What visa?

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 9:19 pm

I've been invited onto the board of a mission organisation in Singapore. The first problem I've run into is that we have a US family here that needs visas. From an extensive search of MOM and ICA I cannot find anything like a 'charity worker', 'missionary' or 'religious worker' visa. Other countries have these categories but Singapore only has PR's (I'm one), or work related visas or dependent passes it seems

The board are currently planning on dealing with this by paying the missionary family a salary (the minimum) for a pass (note sure which one yet) and they are then to pay their rent ($2000) and returning some of it as per a private agreement by paying operating expenses. Our board is not comfortable with this.... for various reasons;

1. We will have to establish a commercial entity (PTE LTD) for this.
2. It is not strictly in the spirit of the law.
3. There are foreign priests, monks and others here... there must be a way to correctly bring in religious workers.
4. The missionary is actually working with locals - 'work' is perhaps the wrong work - he is ministering (not prosletysiing). MOM does list 'religious talks' as being exempt for short term misc passes.

Does anyone have any experience or exposure to how chuches and temples are dealing with the ever increasing tight regulations on passes and visas?

My personal view is that Singapore is a horrifically expensive place to base someone in for a charity but the board is adamant we try to find a way to deal with this. I myself am a 'tent maker'.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:40 pm

http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/ ... fault.aspx

After all, religious workers/missionaries/shamans/witch doctors & Bomos are all entertainment, right? I don't think Singapore is big on missionaries, but you do see 7th Day adventists occasionally, but unsure if they are legally badgering the good folks on the Little Red Dot or just hustling where and when they can.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 11:38 pm

Singapore does not like missionaries or religious workers... the very meaning of the word is to proselytize through various works. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary.

It was right when I first moved to Singapore that an entire group of missionaries, coming over on a social visit pass, were detained at the airport and put back on an airplane.

The last thing the government wants around here is someone to stir the religious pot. Therefore, I think you will be very hard pressed to obtain a visa. Giving you and the family visas sets the precedent for others who may not be as noble in cause as you are.

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 22 Mar 2013 1:32 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Singapore does not like missionaries or religious workers... the very meaning of the word is to proselytize through various works. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary..


Then again, the churches and temples do get overseas priests / fathers, on contracts, and they get paid a salary ++ .. and at the end of the contract, they depart !!

Never bothered to ask any of 'em how to they do it, though I know some of the pastors who are on EP !!!

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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 22 Mar 2013 9:36 pm

ecureilx wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:Singapore does not like missionaries or religious workers... the very meaning of the word is to proselytize through various works. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary..


Then again, the churches and temples do get overseas priests / fathers, on contracts, and they get paid a salary ++ .. and at the end of the contract, they depart !!

Never bothered to ask any of 'em how to they do it, though I know some of the pastors who are on EP !!!


Well that's certainly how the International Baptist Church does it here. MY current thinking is that we should register the mission group as a religious society here and apply on behalf of the society for an S Pass for the male member of the family (and of course pay the salary). I'm not comfortable with registering a PTE LTD for this purpose.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:19 am

You will have to hire locals as well in order to have sufficient quota to hire an S pass holder. I don't what industry it would be in though I'd guess it would have to be the service industry. If that is the case you would to have to have at least two full time local employees. That's if, and it's a big IF, they would even allow a S pass.

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Postby nutnut » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:30 pm

Frankly, why can't you just do charity, why does it have to missionary work!?

Mind you, my opinion on most religion is probably not for the public eye.
nutnut

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 6:37 pm

nutnut wrote:Frankly, why can't you just do charity, why does it have to missionary work!?


The answer do that and the reasons for those answers are part of why there are so many religions in the world or even many sects within the same umbrella religion--people can't agree.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 7:29 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:you do see 7th Day adventists occasionally


Are they the clean-cut young Americans going around with black name badges on their shirts?

If so, how do they get in, i.e. on what visas?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 8:39 pm

Yep, them's the ones. I reckon they come in on tourist visas or are somehow students at one of the Int'l schools.

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Postby taxico » Sat, 23 Mar 2013 9:20 pm

i thought them black name tags mean they are mormon elders. okay, i'm not very clued in, but i assume 7th day adventists are not members of the church of the LDS.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:21 am

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. All of the same ilk to me. Don't know one from the other. Do know that they ain't Hari Krishnas though.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:25 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Six of one, half a dozen of the other. All of the same ilk to me. Don't know one from the other. Do know that they ain't Hari Krishnas though.


Same same.

Whatever religion it all seems to come down to them taking your money while you live in their prescribed and 'noble penury'.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 9:47 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:You will have to hire locals as well in order to have sufficient quota to hire an S pass holder. I don't what industry it would be in though I'd guess it would have to be the service industry. If that is the case you would to have to have at least two full time local employees. That's if, and it's a big IF, they would even allow a S pass.


Yes - aware of that. The other avenue that is opening up is that we may have an offer from a local church (that has locals on hire) to add this family to their payroll (which we compensate of course). This seems to be legal from the advice I have so far.

What saddens me in a way is how commercial Singapore has become. I know it's the harsh reality of survival but everything, literally everything has to be justified in commercial terms. There are no visas for an artist for example to be base himself in Singapore (unless 'employed'), there are no retirements visas (even short term).... the categories have become very tight. The total government control is very evident when you have something like this situation come up.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 24 Mar 2013 11:36 am

Thanks for all for your responses. I'll consider this topic closed. I'm getting some good advice now from a Church board and we are moving forward. Thanks once again.


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