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Should I become a permanent resident (PR)?

Friday, August 22, 2014

I am publishing this in the hope that there are PRs amongst my readers who are willing to share their thoughts on the matter.

From reader:

I have been reading your blog for half a year now. It has been my great source of knowledge! Thank you for wonderful blog!
I have some questions on whether I should apply for PR. Here is my background. I have been in Singapore for 10 years. Started off as student at secondary 3 then JC and university. I have been working for nearly 2 years now. Still holding an EP. My friends and colleagues often ask me if I would apply for PR. My answer to them so far is no. The main reasons are I still do not see myself living here permanently. The high costs of house and car are the main factors as well. Nonetheless, I may end up living here if there is great opportunity ahead, plus I have pretty much adapted to life here.

Also, the benefits of PR, of course, is CPF contribution from employer but I also do not like the idea of monthly contribution while I am still uncertain of living here or not. I know that I can take all CPF back if, in the end, I discard my PR but again, there is no second chance if I drop my PR. Short-term wise, I see myself here in the next few years. Should I then apply for PR?
If it does not trouble you so much, I'd like to seek your advice or opinion on this matter. Thank you for reading this.


Share a thoughtful moment?

My reply:

Hi C,

I cannot give you any advice but I can share with you how I might think if I were in your shoes.

Being a PR has quite a few advantages compared to being an EP holder, as you have rightly pointed out. I would simply ask myself whether those advantages are important and attractive enough for me to want to be a PR. If they are, then, I should apply to be a PR and pray that I am successful.

There is a big element of subjectivity in making this decision, of course. So, only you know if this is something you want to do.

Best wishes,

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section for C. Thank you.


B said...

Hi AK and C

I can answer this because I just converted to a pr just a year ago. Here is my background.

I have been here since primary school so that makes me a stayer in singapore for the most part of my life. When I started working, I was still under ep until last year when I converted to pr. Financially speaking, it is better to convert to a pr because you get that extra employer contribution to your cpf, whether or not you use them at the end of the day is another matter. I have the privelege of getting the employer contribution of 16% as a cash allowance during my early days of working so it really doesnt bothers me to get a pr at that time.

Having said that I do have plans to stay long term in singapore hence my decision to get a pr to allow my family to settle here easier. I still keep my nationality for other purpose reason so if I decide to go back one day for any reason I can do so without hassle.

Hope this will help you.

SMK said...

Not to mention, unless you are west malaysian, you can take all your cpf with you. All the benefits of tax deferred accounts and less of its lock in.

given singapore's increasing status as a city rather than a state, most people should start pondering their retirement options overseas.

if not for immigration, how do we sustain a relatively young median age population to maintain our capital growth and dividend payouts? (Company money must come from somewhere)

Because it does seem thay older folks do not tend to spend more and only get increasingly watchful of their expenses as they age.

Solace said...

Objective and Financial Opinion:

Yes, it makes perfect sense to convert to PR to make use prevailing CPF contribution by your employer.

If the person decide to move away from Singapore for good, can withdraw it out when they leave. I see it as a good risk free interest rate.

My View as a local Singaporean:

It does sadden me when it is very obvious that many of them do not intend to stay long in Singapore. It seems it is part of their plan to concentrate on taking something out from Singapore and have no intention of contributing back.

PR status does have the convenient in looking for jobs compared to the complications of WP/EP. Almost same employment benefits as locals. Plus they do not have National Service.

I currently in reservist at the moment and the nationalist opinions as a Singaporean during this period tends to be much stronger. Pardon me.

pf said...

I think C has asked all the wrong questions.

Key question for EP to get PR: Do you want to be able to change job "freely" in SG?

If your employer stops renewing your EP, and you cannot get another employer to apply and gotten the approval for EP immediately. Would you be able to go home and still find a job and be happy with your life? Or is that stressful for you? Is that kind of uncertainty and stress ok with you?

I have some friends who were in this situations before. Its quite depressing for them not to know if they will stay or go.

Sometimes their dream job happen to be at a company who only employs PRs and Citizens. They do not want to pay foreign employee levy. Or their quota for EP employees are reached.

And especially when you are without a job, need money to pay rent and food, such stress is really not fun.

Anonymous said...

It's just PR,

The consideration is definitely monetary. Some are dying to get PR so that they can stop renting and buy a unit. That's what my colleagues told me.

They like it here. But keep their nationality although their son/ spouse become Singaporean.

They wanted a retreat path to their "homeland"

So, with 1 spouse as Singaporean, there is no limit to the renewal of PR as long as they are gainfully employed.

The logic is sound, the longer you stay the likely hood you become citizen.

Too bad true blue Singaporean has no retreat option. The are options for successful ones to work anywhere or even migrate, but blue Singaporeans are second class citizens indeed.

Pardon me too. I already MR, no more reservist but felt transaction is too much. My mum feed me, I feed her, there is no need for love. I don't own her. I want no such family, u want?

Solace, you are not alone feeling dishearten. Pardon me too. But come, our economy need u too. Better to be second class than jobless. Sigh...

SMK said...

You can always rent or sell your house, invest for capital growth and dividend and use the money to stay overseas.

PSTan said...

By Law, PR do need to do national service. It's just that it is typically exempted for first generation PR. NS is mandatory for second generation male PR.

pf said...

Sorry. ...must hv posted many times. Something wrong with my Google account.

Apologies. Shld not hv said that C's considerations are wrong. If job security is no issue, then no problem.

Anonymous said...

I said successful ones, no lack of them, in Singapore, the world is their oyster.

Not everyone is rich, by whatever standards u live by.

By all means, come, FTs PRs, as long as the infrastructure can take in, but don't have such a big loop hole that 3 - tonners can drive through.

But our govt already aware of the big gap.

Consider in the past,

PR can buy flat and keep the foreign property when Singaporean cannot stay in the private condo and rent other HDB.

They can buy HDB once they are PR, now they need to wait 3 years.

Actually if u ask me, why the need to wait 3 years? Just let them know they cannot rent it out or sell it for the next 10 years, if they are sure they are sinking roots, we should welcome them with open arms and remove this 3 year wait for them isn't it.

But with this restriction, most would rather wait 3 years

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Did you get the OK from C for you to publish his/her letter in public?

Even if yes, I must still knock your head!

Bad AK.


Letting others 起烦恼, however unintended, is still 起烦恼...

AK71 said...


This was C's reply to me before I published the email exchange:


Thank you for your thought. I will be happy if you'd post it on your blog (:

I don't have strong feelings on the subject of foreigners becoming PRs and I think you can tell from my initial reply to C as seen in this blog post.

So, I am somewhat surprised by some of the comments and some are by very level headed people like Solace and Mike too. Once again, it shows that I definitely am a frog in a well.

I apologise for the unintended consequences of this blog post and, indeed, any other blog post I might have published in the last few years. :(

Solace said...

Hi Ak,

No need apologize lah, make it sounds so serious haha.

I am sure many of the people, including Mike and me are definitely not narrow minded people.

In fact, i do buy into the idea that certain amount of immigrants is vital for economic growth. I do enjoy working with many of my pals who are not locals, they do have good integrity and character.

However, some facts are really too obvious, i cannot turn a blind eye to them, must state accordingly.

I think recently the sun during my outfield exercise is very hot. Must have impacted my thoughts, must drink more water. LOL

AK71 said...

Hi Solace,

Thank you very much for the kind words. I am sure that we are all the warm hearted and welcoming type of people. After all, our ancestors were immigrants too, right? Of course, without the kind of perks that the new immigrants get. I am more aware now.

Yes, it was a very warm day. Then, came a heavy shower. This is the kind of weather we have here. -.-"

Take good care of yourself while serving our country. Yes, plenty of water please. :)

la papillion said...

Hi C and AK,

I also don't want to say anything at first...but something keeps nagging me back to this post.

So let me say my piece and I'll be at peace.

There's a system, a loophole out there, so people will exploit it naturally. I've a few friends who convert to citizenship after they had passed the mandatory age for NS. Why? I suppose they can save 2 or 2.5 yrs of their life doing others things, rather than join a pointless cause.

If only 2 yrs is the only sacrifice. I didn't even mention the countless times that I've to go back to serve for the past 15 yrs for reservist. This is in addition to the yearly fitness requirements that we all have to pass, if not, it's another 2-3 months worth of remedial training. It's not funny when you finish work and have to go back to camp for training for another 2 hours or so, eating dinner only around 10pm. Who knows the impact of such disruptions to the career of these people?

These are sacrifices that are shared by people that I sleep together with in the comfort of a bunk and the hot and sweaty armored fighting vehicle, shared a steaming bowl of instant noodles cooked over an open flame in the shivering and miserable hours of the night. People who are with me through thick and thin for more than a decade.

I can only say this. If you want to be a citizen, call it whatever name you want it to be, (Singaporean, PR, what have you), then maybe you should think about contributing in whatever ways you can, to the same society that had kept you secure and safe enough to prosper and live here for whatever reasons.

I don't want my home to be filled with people who call themselves citizens just for financial gains. It makes all the time and effort I had contributed in the past 17 years of NS a big sad joke.

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

After reading all the comments here, I find myself agreeing that this is a loophole that has to be plugged.

There have been some steps taken by the government to more evidently put Singaporeans first since the last GE but it seems that they might not be enough.

It is probably the truth that when people seek PR status in any country, it is usually for their convenience. It is rarely because they feel a special bond with the host country. Of course, it could include considerations of monetary gains as well.

Make male PRs and new citizens contribute to our society in some other ways since they do not have National Service obligations? I think this will filter out those who genuinely want to be a part of Singapore versus those who just want the benefits that come with being PRs or new citizens.

PSTan said...

Company typically put up a good package to entice good quality people to join the company.

For a nation with low birth rate and need new blood tonfillnthe gap, what should it do to entice the new blood to be on board? Should it put up some carrot or make it difficult?

JK Holdings said...

Definitely SPR ! But please recognize our efforts in this country , or not , at least recognize our efforts at the company . We often measure things in numbers and figures , simply because it is measurable ( not saying we love money until we must die with it ) . Can you measure personal choice and emotion/feelings ? You can't . That's why you see blogs filled with numbers are making more sense than blogging about own feelings .

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