Me and my husband have been living in Singapore for 7 years now. It’s not a short and easy time (as we had so many bumps, ups and downs) considering we are totally started our new life here far away from all of our relatives back at J-Town. We were never planned to stay here for too long at the beginning, but then we’re unconsciously building our nest by adding one additional family member here (and who knows how many more additionals to come?). And it really isn’t so easy to start over our business networks to somewhere else when we already conveniently built it here in Singapore. That was when we realized that we might gonna stay here for another decades, that we finally had the urge of getting PR status for our family.
The Urge of Getting PR Status
As a tiny country with a huge opportunities, Singapore has so many layers of resident’s status. There are citizen with (of course) top priority and most privileges followed. There are SPR (Singapore Permanent Resident) with lesser (and getting lesser) privileges. And then there are EP (Employment Pass), S-Pass and Work Permit for those who stay here with sponsorship from their employers. Me and my husband was first came to Singapore with EP, worked as professionals. Then we got married, gave birth to Max, employ a helper to take care of Max when both of us are working, then bought a small car, still with our EP status, and Max in his dependant pass to my husband’s EP. All those happened for six years while we were busy moving from one rented house to another 3 (so total 4 times of moving in and out). We started with rented a room for $800/month, to rent a whole house for $1200/month, then $1800/month, and our last rented house for 2000/month. And during that six years we were always worried if we would able to get our EP renewed by MOM (Ministry Of Manpower) or worse got retrenched by our employer and have to look for new company in which also means apply the EP all over again with another 50-50 chances of getting. Or if the landlord of our rented house will still let us extend the contract to stay for another year or twos, it’s hard to imagine how troublesome moving house about was. But we were quite lucky enough to always had nice landlord and agent, considering some of them are actually quite bad to the extent of terminating the contract anytime they like (again, it’s hard to imagine how troublesome moving house about was) or some agent might run away with our deposit money, or any other crappy behaviour. And when Max was born, that worries was even getting bigger and bigger. I’d never expect to feel such worrisome while I’m in fact living in (as what they claimed to be) the most safe city in Asia. That was when we thought that we need to do something to make us feel more secure. We need to settled down. We need to get PR status.
PR Status often determined as Rich Foreigners Status?
One thing about NOT being PR is that you can’t buy HDB flat, but you can still buy private property (condo or landed property) in which can be triple (or more) the price compare to non-privates. However even PR are only allowed to buy resale-flat in which the pricing is much more expensive than the BTO’s (in which fully subsided by the government only for citizens, very fair I must admit) and recently government had released new rules stating that PR have to wait up to 3 years to be allowed to buy re-sale flat. So no, PR status is never to determine a rich foreigner status, because if we’re rich foreigner, we would just buy a private property instead. We’re just wish to settled down.
Most Things To Consider When Applying for PR
CPF (Central Provident Fund)
It’s a social security savings plan applied for citizen and PR only. Once you become PR, you’ll need to contribute a portion of your salary deducted by the government, at the same time your employer required to contribute their portion to combine with yours too. This contribution will be kept by the authority to then can be used for your retirement, healthcare, home ownership, family protection and asset enhancement. So every cents goes back to you and can be fully benefit you if you have a family and or a property. Even if you don’t have any of those, you’ll get every cents given to you once you give up your PR status and out of Singapore for good.
NS (National Service) Liability
According to ICA, PR’s sons are liable for NS under the Enlistment Act. They are required to register for NS once they reach 16,5 years old and to be schedules for enlistment when they are 18 years old.
What They Say About NS?
Surprisingly enough that many of young Singaporeans are actually keep wanting to leave the country before they reach the liable serving age. They think that it's not worthed at all losing their two years of serving NS while other teens are enjoying their new experience of university life with no runnings or pushups routines. So it’s not a surprise to know that some of PR’s sons are actually feeling doomed by their parents decision who included them when they were applying for PR without even considering their sons opinions. They’d feel silly to serve NS for a country that is not even theirs. Some of these doomed or felt-silly ones were actually managed to leave Singapore for good before their time (and bearing the difficulties of entering Singapore again one day), while many of them have no choice but to follow the rules.
What I’d Say About NS?
Having my young times living in a country like Indonesia, after some conversations with some of my citizen and PR friends about NS, I can’t help but to comment that serving NS is actually not that bad at all. Many things can happen during NS, some may be bad or good or sad or boring or crappy or fun or lame or scary or crazy or great or whatever it is. But all those things are what we actually called “life”. You’re lucky that you’re introduced to real “life” before you’re actually jump into it.
I have a 3 years old boy who is now with his PR status (and who knows that he may be a citizen by his time to serve), and here's what I'd tell him when he's grown up enough to understand that:
“NS is good for you, because:
It’s about the right time when a boy transitioned to become a man;
It stops you from being mommy’s boy;
It trains you to be independent and self-relied;
It makes you fit;
It teaches you disciplines;
It builds up your nasionalisme;
It opens up your new perspectives about goods and bads;
Even though all decision shall be all yours”
And having to know my son’s characteristic, I strongly believe he will respect this opinion of mine too.
(photo taken on the SAF's journey in Afghanistan Walkthrough at Nge Ann City, 22 Sept'13)