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09 July 2012

Amendments To The Immigration Act

Introduction
The Immigration (Amendment) Bill was introduced for First Reading at the Parliamentary Sitting on 9 July 2012.
Background
2.            The Immigration Act (IA) regulates immigration facilities as well as the entry, stay, and exit of all foreigners. The IA will be amended to enhance the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA’s) capabilities to stay ahead of the changing modus operandi of immigration offenders. The proposed amendments strengthen Singapore’s border security; facilitate the legal entry of bona fide foreigners into our country while keeping out undesirable persons, goods and conveyances. The last major amendment to the IA was in 2004.
Key Proposed Amendments
3.            The following sets out the key proposed amendments to the Immigration Act:
a) Criminalise Marriages of Convenience
This proposed amendment will criminalise marriages of convenience (MOC) by any person in order to obtain an immigration facility (e.g. entry visa, permanent residency, long-term pass, etc). The amended provision will also include criminal syndicates and middlemen who facilitate or stand to gain from such illicit practices. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.
(b) Criminalise Manufacture, Trafficking and Possession of Paraphernalia for Immigration Forgeries
These proposed amendments will criminalise the manufacture, trafficking, and unlawful possession of paraphernalia designed to forge immigration documents and endorsements. It will come with a presumption clause that would assume that any person found in possession of the forgery paraphernalia has the intent to commit forgery, unless proven otherwise. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $8,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.
(c) Advance Passenger/Crew Information
This proposed amendment will tighten ICA’s checkpoint security measures by empowering ICA to collect passenger/crew information on inbound persons prior to arrival. Many other countries have already implemented a system of advance passenger information for security risk management purposes.
(d) Introduce Good Conduct Condition for Permanent Residents
This proposed amendment allows ICA to cancel the Re-entry Permit (REP) issued to a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) if he contravenes any law or is involved in any activity which threatens a breach of peace or is prejudicial to public order. He will lose his PR status if he travels out of Singapore or remains outside Singapore without a valid REP. This proposed amendment will also enable ICA to impose, vary, or set additional conditions for the validity of the REP.

Ministry of Home Affairs
9 July 2012
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