Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Transparency in Criteria for Obtaining PR and Citizenship by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 10 October 2016



Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the policy reasons for keeping the criteria for obtaining permanent residency and citizenship opaque and whether there are plans to make them more transparent over time; and (b) what are the circumstantial reasons that justify qualifying a child (under the age of 21) for PR or citizenship while his foreign-born parent, especially those who are the child's single care-giver, is denied similar recognition.




1. Each application for Permanent Residency (PR) and Singapore Citizenship (SC) is evaluated holistically on a range of criteria, including economic contributions, education qualifications, family profile and length of stay in Singapore. The objective is to assess how committed the applicant is to sink roots here, and how well the applicant is able to contribute and integrate into our society.  


2. However, we do not reveal the detailed criteria for granting PR and SC as it is not in our interest to do so. Revealing the detailed criteria would, among other things, create sensitivities in their countries of origin.  


3. For child applicants, there may be instances where a child is granted SC but not the foreign parent.  For example, a child born to a foreign parent who is legally married to an SC at the time of his birth would be entitled to the grant of SC under our Constitution. 


4. However, the foreign parent is not entitled to SC in the same manner and would need to meet prevailing criteria to qualify for PR or SC.  In such cases, we would not deny the child the grant of SC, even if his foreign parent does not yet meet the prevailing criteria for PR or SC. 


5. Foreign spouses who do not qualify for PR or SC may be granted a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) or Long-Term Visit Pass-Plus (LTVP+) for them to remain in Singapore with their families.  For foreign parents who are widowed or divorced and have sole custody of young SC children, we would generally facilitate their continued stay in Singapore through a renewable LTVP or LTVP+, to allow them to care for their children here.


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