04 April 2013

Foreign Spouses — Does Citizenship Have Privileges?

There were 6,853 marriages in Singapore in 2011 between a citizen and a non-resident, or 31 per cent of the 22,013 marriages in which at least one party was a citizen.[1]

Foreign spouses of Singapore citizens must apply for Long-Term Visit Passes ("LTVP") or Long-Term Visit Passes Plus ("LTVP+") to stay in Singapore.

As at 31 December 2012, there were 11,736 foreign spouses of Singapore citizens who were on LTVPs, including LTVP+.  30 per cent had stayed in Singapore for less than one year, 19 per cent had stayed for between one year and two years, 14 per cent had stayed for between two years and three years and 37 per cent had stayed for more than three years.[2]

Long Term Visit Pass[3][4]
An LTVP holder cannot work in Singapore without a work pass.  Applications for work passes (employment passes, S passes or work permits) are assessed on their own merits, based on criteria such as educational qualifications, salary, occupation, and experience.  LTVP holders are not allowed to work in "objectionable" occupations such as dance hostesses, masseurs, etc.

A foreign worker levy is not required to be paid for LTVP holders on work permits.  Their employment will not be counted towards the employer's dependency quota.  They do not need to be from an approved source country.

The sponsoring spouse may be required to provide a security deposit.

Long Term Visit Pass Plus[3][4]
Couples who have at least one child who is a Singapore citizen from their marriage will be eligible to apply for the LTVP+ for the foreign spouse.  If the couple does not have a Singapore citizen child, other factors such as duration of marriage (e.g., at least three years) will be taken into account.  In both cases, other factors that are considered include the ability of the sponsor to financially support the family and good conduct of both the sponsor and the applicant.

An LTVP+ is valid for three years in the first instance and up to five years for subsequent renewals.

An LTVP+ holder who wishes to work in Singapore needs to obtain a letter of consent from Ministry of Manpower via his or her prospective employer; a work pass is not required.

Foreigners[4]
S pass and employment pass holders who earn a fixed monthly salary of $4,000 or more are allowed to sponsor the long-term stay of their spouses and children in Singapore.

P1 employment pass holders (who earn a fixed monthly salary of $8,000 or more) may also sponsor the long-term stay of their parents.

Such sponsored parents, spouses and children sponsored will be given dependant passes.

A dependant pass holder who is a dependant of an employment pass holder and who wishes to work in Singapore needs to obtain a letter of consent from Ministry of Manpower via his or her prospective employer; a work pass is not required.

A dependant pass holder who is a dependant of an S pass holder cannot work in Singapore without a work pass. Applications for work passes (employment passes, S passes or work permits) are assessed on their own merits, based on criteria such as educational qualifications, salary, occupation, and experience.

Citizen Privilege?
The LTVP spouse of a citizen can work in Singapore only if he/she satisfies the criteria for a work pass.

The LTVP+ spouse of a citizen can work in Singapore with a letter of consent from Ministry of Manpower.  However, in order to obtain an LTVP+, the couple must satisfy certain criteria.

The spouse of an employment pass holder who earns at least $4,000 a month can work in Singapore with a letter of consent from Ministry of Manpower.

The spouse of an S pass holder can work in Singapore only if he/she satisfies the criteria for a work pass.

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Notes

1. NATIONAL POPULATION AND TALENT DIVISION Population in Brief 2012.

2. S ISWARAN Speech in Committee of Supply Debate 5 Mar 2013.

3. IMMIGRATION AND CHECKPOINT AUTHORITY website (viewed on 3 Apr 2013).

4. MINISTRY OF MANPOWER website (viewed on 3 Apr 2013).

1 comment:

  1. I can tell you for sure no, being a Singaporean doesn't make it any easier to settle down with a foreign spouse, unless we have a baby, but having a baby is also much more expensive for a foreigner, and again, being a Singaporean also doesn't help, sometimes I will feel that being a Singaporean male is more trouble than privilege.

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