A Singapore PR for 30 years, Richard Faure-Field, wrote to ST Forum complaining that he was only given a 1-year re-entry permit for his PR renewal this time. His letter was published on ST today (‘Forum: Covid-19 travel restrictions affecting PR extension‘, 3 Oct).
According to ICA website, a valid Re-Entry Permit is needed each time a PR is out of Singapore. The permits are valid for up to five years at a time, and must be renewed. They allow the PR to retain his or her permanent residence while outside Singapore.
If a PR leaves Singapore or remain overseas without a valid Re-Entry Permit, the foreigner will lose his or her permanent residence in Singapore. That is to say, he or she can’t “re-enter” Singapore as a PR. But of course, the foreigner can always come as a tourist.
In his letter, Mr Faure-Field explained, “I have been a Singapore permanent resident (PR) for 30 years. After working and contributing to the Singapore economy for many years, I now live overseas.”
“I have always been able to get a five-year re-entry permit, but now have been offered only one year,” he added. He said the reason given by ICA was that he has not been back to Singapore for a few years.
Mr Faure-Field continued, “I replied to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority that I had booked a trip to Singapore for August and last month but, due to Covid-19, all outgoing travel was banned.”
“This rule still stands, and is not something I can control,” he lamented.
PR an intermediate status for foreigners to take up citizenship
However, according to the Population White Paper (PWP) released by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2013, it stated that permanent residence is an intermediate status through which foreigners take up the Singapore citizenship.
“It is meant for those who have a long-term stake in Singapore and intend to sink roots here,” said the PWP.
The paper also stated that the government will keep a “stable PR population” of between 500 to 600K to “ensure a pool of suitable potential citizens”.
So, given that Mr Faure-Field has been a Singapore PR for 30 years, it would have given him enough time to consider if he wants to become a Singapore citizen. But the fact that he is still seeking Re-Entry Permit renewals for his PR , it shows that he has no intention of becoming a citizen. It begs the question why ICA would still bother to renew his Re-Entry Permit albeit for 1 year this time?
Or perhaps he did apply for Singapore citizenship but was rejected by ICA before. If PR is an intermediate status for foreigners to become Singapore citizens and the foreigner’s citizenship application has been rejected due to certain non-compliance, shouldn’t his PR be revoked and he be given a work pass instead, assuming he is still working in Singapore?