Between 2014 to 2020, an average of 30 overseas intra-corporate transferees (ICTs) per year who entered Singapore via the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO) GATS) or other free trade agreements (FTAs) have acquired permanent residency or citizenship, said Minister of Manpower Dr Tan See Leng.
He revealed this in a written response to questions from Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai on Monday (2 August).
Mr Leong asked how many intra-corporate transferees, foreign professionals and dependants who have initially entered Singapore respectively through the Movement of Natural Persons provisions in the various free trade agreements subsequently became citizens, permanent residents or re-entered Singapore’s workforce through another type of visa from 2005 to 2020.
In his written response, Dr Tan also revealed that there were also 140 persons a year on average who initially came in via WTO GATS or FTA provisions who subsequently obtained another work pass, adding that the figure is a “negligible share” of the overall number of EP holders approved each year.
Dr Tan also stressed that records prior to 2014 did not distinguish between applicants from overseas ICTs who entered via WTO GATS or other FTAs.
As for foreign professionals, Dr Tan reiterated that professions listed in the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) do not have a bearing on how the MOM processes work pass applications, as they have to meet prevailing criteria. The same goes for dependants.
Dr Tan remarked: “It is therefore meaningless to ask how many of them entered through our FTAs.”