Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Number of Permanent Residence Status Granted in 2021

Published: 20 October 2022


Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs with the number of individuals granted permanent resident (PR) status in 2021 at a record high since 2009 (a) what are the reasons for this; (b) whether the number of PRs is expected to increase and to what extent; (c) how will the enhancements to our Employment Pass framework contribute to this; (d) how long can they expect to wait before receiving their Singapore citizenship after applying; and (e) what are the efforts to facilitate the conversion of suitable PRs.


Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

1.   About 33,400 individuals were granted Permanent Residency (PR) in 2021. This number is similar to pre-COVID levels – for instance, we granted about 32,900 new PRs in 2019. The grant figure in 2021 included several thousand applicants who were approved in-principle but had not completed all the required processes to be granted PR by end-2020. Such processes have to be done in person, and some applicants could not do so due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 situation. This also explained the below-trend number of 27,470 PRs granted in 2020. 

2.   The exact number of new PRs granted each year depends on several factors, including the number and quality of applications we receive. We will continue to select PRs based on their ability to integrate and contribute to Singapore, and their commitment to sinking roots here. We have kept and will continue to keep the pace of immigration measured and stable, so that Singapore remains a cohesive society and a good home for all Singaporeans.

3.   The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) assesses applications for PR independently from work passes. Changes to the Employment Pass Framework will not change how ICA assesses PR applications, which includes evaluating the applicants’ family ties, contributions to Singapore and length of residency. No work pass (including the new Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass) gives its holder any guarantee of or fast-track to PR.

4.   Singapore Citizenship (SC) applications usually take 12 months to process. The best way to encourage qualified PRs to convert to SC is to continue to ensure that Singaporeans are well looked after, in a Singapore that continues to do well.

5.   Further, we have in recent years widened the differentiation of benefits accorded to PRs and Singaporeans, such that Singaporeans receive more benefits in areas such as parenthood, housing, healthcare and education. This reflects the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. That said, taking up citizenship is a serious commitment that is ultimately a personal decision.