Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why it Pays to be a Foreign Talent PR in Singapore, Today!!

Singapore is a great place for foreigners to live, work and play! Just take the example of Mr Peter Breitkreutz, an Australian citizen who came to work in Singapore and who fell in love with the country!

Mr Peter Breitkreutz is an Australian citizen who attained his Singapore Permanent Residency (PR) in 2008. Mr Breitkreutz is currently a Senior Vice President of Citibank in Singapore, and is very proud about the fact that he is a Singapore PR. He owns a resale HDB flat in Sengkang West and is married to a Shanghainese wife, and they have two sons.

Mr Breitkreutz is the self-proclaimed "Singapore's favourite expat" and who writes the "most read and subscribed to expat blog in Singapore." He has won several blogging awards, and has even been recruited by the Singapore Government (MICA) to help promote Singapore to foreigners as a great place to live, work, study and play! The Singapore Government absolutely LOVES talented foreigners like Mr Breitkreutz, so much so that it has a special name for them - "foreign talent"!

If you are a foreigner like Mr Breitkreutz, ideally a citizen of a developed nation like Australia, UK or United States, there are several reasons why you should come to Singapore to become a "Foreign Talent" PR. If you are male, all the better, because you and your sons will get to partake of most of the benefits that Singaporean males and their sons get to enjoy, without having to pay the price that Singaporean males and their sons have to pay!

Mr Breitkreutz explains, in his own words, the benefits of becoming a PR in Singapore:
"The advantage of being a PR, ranges from slightly better tax rates, CPF (pension fund) program, and the ability to buy a resale 'HDB' apartment (which foreigners on EPs cannot do). The only disadvantage is that our son will be liable for NS (National Service) when he is a teenager."

In another article he has further explained the benefits of being a PR:
"We are in Singapore for the long run," he said. "We planted our roots. The obvious attractions for anyone coming from Australia or a Western culture are the order, the education and safety and that everything is convenient.

"Becoming a citizen has entered my mind. The only issue is that Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. I couldn't see myself giving up my Australian passport at this stage."

He added: "By becoming (permanent residents) and making that plunge, we have invested in an apartment, and do almost everything citizens can do."

You see, there are so many benefits to being a 'foreign talent" PR in Singapore! But wait, Mr Breitkreutz description of the benefits are incomplete! As a matter of fact, here are several more benefits and loopholes that you can exploit as a foreign talent PR in Singapore:

1. You do not need to serve any National Service (NS), unlike Singaporean males! Singaporean males have to sacrifice 2-2.5 years of their life in the army, and then they have to go back once a year for a further 10 years until they finish their NS liability! As a privileged foreign talent PR in Singapore, you don't have to do any of these things! You can partake of the country's excellent defence capabilities and all of the economic infrastructure that was painstakingly built up over the past 5 decades, without having to pay the price that  Singaporean males have to pay!

2. Your son doesn't really have to serve national service if he doesn't want to, because he holds citizenship of the country that you came from, and Singapore cannot force him to serve NS if he doesn't want to. Unlike the sons of Singaporean citizens, your son can renounce his permanent residency when he comes of age and has the choice to go back to his father's homeland! In the meantime, he would have benefited from Singapore's excellent infrastructure, education subsidies and other benefits because he grew up as a Singapore PR, then he can just leave the country without paying the price that Singaporean males have to pay! Many second generation PRs have already done this and escaped NS, so don't worry, your son definitely can do this too!

3. When you finally grow old and want to retire, you can take out all your CPF (pension) money and return to your home country, simply by renouncing your PR. The only penalty is that you can never come back to Singapore to work, but of course, by the time this happens, you are already going to retire and are not intending to work anymore! In contrast, Singaporeans are forced to have their CPF locked up and can only withdraw it at the rate that the Singapore government allows them to! As a foreign citizen, you do not need to be subjected to any of these onerous conditions!

4. You most probably can sell your HDB flat at a profit and take the money back home to where you came from! You are not like Singaporeans, who will be stuck in their tiny HDB flats until the day they die. Furthermore, the money that you make from selling the HDB flat can buy a much bigger piece of property where you came from. Why would you want to stay in Singapore to retire when you can go home and retire in a much bigger house with a garage, a garden, and a much bigger living space?

As you can see, there are really many hidden benefits in addition to the ones that Mr Breitkreutz has been quoted as saying! Plus, there are hardly any true costs, because all you have to do to be relieved of the Singapore PR obligations is to simply renounce your PR and return home! Furthermore, Singaporeans aren't going to change their Government or get their Government to plug these loopholes any time soon, so you can be sure that these benefits are here to stay!

So, what are you waiting for? Send in your application to Singapore, and become a foreign talent PR today!!

Expat (Oct 2008) "Australian Expat Peter's Life and Times in Singapore"
Straits Times Indonesia (Nov 28, 2011) "More Australians Choosing to Move to Singapore"


Eddy said...

Just wanted to point out, as it is not too clear in the article, that the quote from Mr B is talking about the advantages of getting PR over remaining as on EP (temporary employment permit). In other words, he is talking about the advantages citizens, as well as PRs, enjoy over foreign talents on EPs:

slightly better tax rates, CPF (pension fund) program, and the ability to buy a resale 'HDB' apartment (which foreigners on EPs cannot do).

For one thing, he actually sees the oft-criticised CPF program as a benefit (though as you pointed out, he has the advantage of being able to withdraw his funds if he changes his mind). He then goes on to say this:

Becoming a citizen has entered my mind. The only issue is that Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. I couldn't see myself giving up my Australian passport at this stage.

This man you are holding up as an example of a FT who comes and exploits the country before going back home, actually wants to be a citizen! He wants to stay, contribute to the economy, vote in elections, offer his talents to improve the nation.

Another question here is why the law prevents someone like this becoming a dual citizen, something that is now commonplace in lots of countries. He clearly has a lot to contribute, so would it be that bad to have to share him with another country?

This is something that might be worth addressing in a future post.


utwt said...

singapore cannot allow dual citizenship for a simple reason:

thousands of singaporeans will choose to take up a 2nd citizenship and many of their sons will choose to revoke their singaporean citizenship in lieu of their fathers' 2nd citizenship in order to avoid the NS liability

utwt said...

i would also like to clarify that i am not accusing of Mr Breithautz of being an exploitative individual.

i am merely trying to point out how exploitable the system is.

theonion said...


I am unsure where you get the idea that the sons of PR can just escape.
This would be the same ruling which applies for Singaporeans such Melvin Tan who " escaped NS" but the parents would pay a large financial bond forfeited which applies only for those who go overseas for their studies.
This applies also for PRs.

Anonymous said...

Onion... The govt cannot prevent a foreign citizen from leaving the country. If a 2nd gen pr decides he wants to forfeit his pr and leave singapore to go back to his country of citizenship, there is nothing the govt can do yo stop him!

And, there is no bond involved! I know personally of at least 3 2nd gen PRs who have renounced their PRship without paying a cent!

theonion said...


Likewise, I am sure that the parents of the 2nd PR has to pay, as their kids went off as recently as this year.

Fortunately the kids came back, if not, their retirement monies would be dented.

The kids do not pay, the parents do.

The amounts may be considered small for those multi millionaires, but definitely for the bulk, it is quite pricy.

What happens now, is that the insurance company issues a bond, if kid comes back, no problem, if kid does not, forfeit and proceedings by insurance company.

MINDEF does not want the hassle of refunds, so get banks and insurance companies to do it.

Anonymous said...

U guys r really ignorant. There IS NO BOND if a foreign citizen wants to renounce his PR.

The only penalty is he cannot come back to work in sg.

If the son wants to go back to us or aussie or whatever, he can renounce his PR can there is no penalty on the family left in SG!!!

utwt said...

Here you go.

4200 PRs renounced their PR to siam NS

Derrick said...

whatever system/policy you created, it is meant to be exploited. There is no perfect system in the world, you can only have the better one. The question is, why do we need foreign talent at the first place? What can Singaporeans find ways to prove themselves better than those FTs? Instead of complaining, put your feet on the ground to work hard instead of wasting time in cyberspace...

Singapore PR said...

It's really tiring to read the same cliches over and over and over again.

Does it register in your narrow Singaporean mind that:

- some of us who have become PR here have already served duty for our country of origin? My country had a conscription army until not so long ago, so I had to serve. But at no stage can I remember any idiotic debate about foreigners living there having to serve NS.

- Permanent Residency is ANYTHING but permanent. Every 5 years, we need to reapply for a re-entry permit. The Government can decide to not renew it, and they don't even have to provide a reason why it's discarded. It's completely arbitrary.

The NS is a hot topic for Singaporeans, and rightly so. One has to wonder why Singapore doesn't have a professional army rather than a conscription army, like the overwhelming majority of developed countries.

You would be perfectly entitled to ask your Government for a national debate over NS. But I suppose it's so much easier to just rant about foreigners on an anonymous website than actually having the balls to take your Government to task.

Blogger No. 35 said...

We need to be like Iran, make it compulsory for women to given birth to 3 kids, then the system is more perfect for all Singaporeans