By Leong Sze Hian

Further to my article “Foreign spouses not counted for foreign worker quota/levy?” , Laura Chen said in her letter “Please make immigration policies more pro-family” (Today, Oct 1)  – “The LTVP Plus requires us to have a Singaporean child, but no one in the right mind would have a child without health insurance and a job.

 

EP holders' foreign spouses can apply for Letter of Consent?

The wife of an Employment Pass (EP) holder is able to work with a Dependent's Pass and a letter of consent from the authority”.

 

Not counted in foreign workers quota, no CPF/foreign worker levy?

Why is it that EP holders' foreign spouses can also apply for a Letter of Consent from the Ministry of Manpower to work, and not be counted in the company's foreign worker quota, with the employer also saving on the 16 per cent employer's CPF contribution and foreign worker levy?

 

Unfair advantage over Singaporean job seekers?

This may give them an advantage over Singaporean job seekers.

 

PRs' foreign spouses can apply for Letter of Consent?

I have also seen a posting on Facebook – (“I know of at least two LTVP+ personally, both working in low-end F&B jobs. I was told it was very easy to land a job given their status. For these two LTVP+, they are dependents of their PR sons”) that the spouses of permanent residents (PRs) were also able to apply for a Letter of Consent.

 

Impresion that only apply to citizens?

If the above are indeed true – that foreign spouses of EP holders and PRs can also apply for a Letter of Consent, why is it that the announcement in Parliament of the LTVP+ scheme in March seems to give the impression that only foreign spouses of Singaporeans can apply for a Letter of Consent?

 

New pass for foreign spouses of Singaporeans

DPM Teo Chee Hean has announced that a new Long Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) will be introduced from 1 Apr 2012 to provide more support to the families of Singaporeans with a foreign spouse not yet given PR or citizenship. The scheme will provide foreign spouses of citizens with greater certainty of stay as it will be for a duration of three years in the first instance and up to five years for each subsequent renewal. The pass will make it easier for LTVP+ holders to work and supplement the family income as only a Letter of Consent from MOM would be required.

 

Asking the wrong question in Parliament?

In this connection, the reply in Parliament on the statisics of citizens' foreign spouses given LTVP+ https://www.facebook.com/ganthiampoh/posts/508643459165636as of 31 July, may also not be addressing the crux of the issue.

 

– “NUMBER OF FOREIGN SPOUSES WITH LONG-TERM VISIT PASSES AND TAKE-UP RATE FOR LONG-TERM VISIT PASS PLUS

41. Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the current number of foreign spouses of Singaporeans who are Long-Term Visit Pass holders; and (b) what is the number of Long-Term Visit Pass Plus passes that have been issued since it was launched earlier this year.

 

Mr Teo Chee Hean said:

As at 31 July 2012, there were 9,154 foreign spouses of Singaporeans who are Long-Term Visit Pass holders.

The Long-Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) was implemented on 1st April this year. As at 31 July 2012, ICA has issued the LTVP+ to 2,334 foreign spouses of Singaporeans”

 

How many foreign spouses with Letters of Consent?

So, perhaps the question that needs to be asked and answered is how many foreign spouses have been given Letters of Consent, and what is the break-down into citizens, PRs and EP holders' foreign spouses.

 

PRs and EP holders' foreign spouses better off than Singaporeans' foreign spouses?

In this regard, another fundamental issue may be why some foreign spouses of PRs and EP holders are allowed to work, when some foreign spouses of Singaporeans can't?