Live / leave Singapore


ERIC worked as a licensed architect in the Philippines. Because his career in the Philippines was not going upwards both in pay and position, Eric chose to try his luck in Singapore five years ago.

Wilma, Eric’s spouse, who followed Eric to the city/nation state – has a Chemical Engineering degree but found a job as Food Scientist or Dietitian. Their first three years went well. Their application for permanent residency remains pending.

As holders of S passes, Eric and Wilma were able to bring in with them their 5-year-old daughter. Then came a second child last year.

In September this year, Singapore changed the rules on how S pass holders may include their dependents.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) set the minimum fixed monthly salary of an S pass holder at S$5,000. For S pass holders who intend to have their parents on Long Term Visit Pass – S$10,000.

The saving grace is if Eric stays with his current employer. Then his salary need not meet the new requirements.

But Eric’s employer is also on dire straits. Construction and projects have slowed down as a result of global recession and financial meltdown of European and Chinese clients. To hedge his bet, Eric could look for a new employer not threatened by the Chinese economy slowdown. But getting a new employer willing and able to pay the minimum S$5,000 monthly salary will be hard to come by.

Since Eric and Wilma are not permanent residents, they are not “free to live, work and buy property in the country and be a part of Singapore society.” Only permanent residents (PRs) are eligible “for a range of perks such as the freedom to travel in and out of the country and priority entry to Singapore’s public education system for their children.”

Another important benefit is that employers of PRs in Singapore are required to make monthly contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a compulsory pension scheme.

Finally, PRs need not apply for and obtain new working visas should they change jobs as a result of the economic developments in Europe, the US and China.

So Eric and Wilma have set their eyes on Canada or Australia as the countries they are considering to be permanent residents of.

Both countries have a selection system in place for qualified and eligible workers. Foreign workers with language proficiency and equivalent academic credentials may apply for permanent residency without setting foot in Canada or Australia.

Canada has the Express Entry and Australia has SkillSelect as the program in place to select permanent residents.

Australia has a list of occupations, while only some provinces in Canada have their own lists. On a federal level, however, an out-of-Canada applicant may still qualify especially if the candidate is married or in a live-in relationship (with an opposite or same-sex partner) and that partner or spouse also is proficient in English or French and has a bachelor’s degree. A spouse or partner with a Masters or PhD would earn higher points towards the minimum score set for each draw.

Should Eric or Wilma’s occupation be on any of Australia’s two lists (Skilled Occupations List for independent applicants and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List “CSOL” for applicants nominated by a State or Territory) then the principal applicant or PA (either Eric or Wilma) must provide evidence of language proficiency (IELTS exam) and a suitable or positive assessment by the authorized assessing organization. For draftsperson, the evaluating organization is VETASSESS.

The PA must have at least 60 points based on his or her age, qualification (education); experience and English proficiency. Having studied or worked in Australia before would earn bonus points as well as a nomination from any of the States or Territories – Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, or Western Australia.

Will Eric or Wilma qualify?
Since both are in the 33 to 39 age range, either of them would get 25 points for age. The principal applicant must get a score of 7.0 in each of the English language component of IELTS to get a score of 10 for language proficiency. A positive assessment from VETASSESS gets 15 points and eight years of experience (both in and out of Singapore) earn 15 points as well. Therefore, the points-potential for either Eric or Wilma would be 65 points, five more than the minimum required.

Nomination by a State or Territory nomination adds five points, pushing the total to 70. In addition, there is a greater chance of employment in a State or Territory. The occupation – Architectural Draftsperson – is on Australia’s CSOL making it more likely for Eric to settle successfully in the specific State or Territory that has this occupation on its list.

For the consolidated links of occupations in Australia’s CSOL, our readers can click here or copy and paste this address on their search engine/browser –

The same basic requirements apply to those intending to apply for permanent residency to Canada through Express Entry: a language proficiency exam results and evaluation of academic credentials. Upon completion of these two requirements, the applicant may complete a candidate profile on Canada’s Express Entry portal available for viewing and selection by the federal and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers for one year.

Should the PA be nominated by any of the Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland-Labrador, Northern Territory, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan or Yukon , then he or she gets 600 points – well above the minimum or threshold score (450 as of the last two draws). A job offer would also give an applicant 600 points. The nomination and job offer will earn the applicant the maximum 1,200 points allowed.

The country’s being worker-directed or family-friendly becomes the deciding factor on whether to live in or leave Singapore.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.

1 Comment