Better to be foreigners' dependants than spouses of Singaporeans

~ By: Leong Sze Hian ~

I refer to the reply in Parliament that 3,000 2nd-geneneration permanent residents (PRs) who did National Service (NS) applied to be Singapore citizens. (“3,000 2nd-gen PRs who did NS applied to be Singapore citizens”, Straits Times, Jan 10) The reply said that about 9,400 foreign spouses of Singaporeans were on Long Term Visit Passes each year, between 2008 and 2010.

How many Singaporeans' foreign spouses denied passes to stay?

A reply in Parliament on 18 May last year, to a similar question, said that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) processed an annual average of 15,400 long term visit passes (LTVP) from Singaporeans' foreign spouses between 2005 and 2009., and that of these, about 2,200 a year, were unsuccessful.

My questions are, since about 9,400 such spouses were on LTVPs each year, between 2008 and 2010, how many applications were rejected? Has the success rate of applications increased or declined?

Singaporeans may face emotional and financial stress, when their foreign spouses and possibly children, are denied the right to live in Singapore.  Since the requirements for granting foreign spouses’ LTVP are not known, on what basis should a Singaporean decide whether or not to marry a foreigner?

Also, Singaporeans hospitalised in a C class ward receive an 80 per cent subsidy, while foreigners receive no subsidy. This means that a Singaporean's foreign spouse on a LTVP may have to pay up to five times more.

Foreigners can work, but some S'poreans' foreign spouses can't?

As to about 2,200 work permit holders declared themselves to be spouses of Singaporeans every year,  since Singaporeans who want to marry a work permit holder/ex-work permit holder have to apply for approval from the Ministry of Manpower, if they want to  reside in Singapore, how many of such applications were approved, and what is the rejection rate?

With regard to about 20 per cent of work permit applications from foreign spouses of Singaporeans were rejected each year, does this mean that these spouses were not allowed to work in Singapore?

Foreign employment pass dependants can stay, but some Singaporeans' foreign spouses can't?

As a Singaporean, I find it somewhat ironic that an average of 35,000 dependents of employment pass holders who are foreigners, entered Singapore each year from 2005 to 2010, of which about 4,200 have gained employment, when thousands of Singaporeans' foreign spouses were denied permission to live in Singapore, or to work here.

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