Challenges of Applying for Permanent Residency in Singapore

Challenges of Applying for Permanent Residency in Singapore

man wondering how to apply for singapore pr

Being a permanent resident in Singapore is a privilege that 10s of thousands of foreigners attempt to attain each year. Yet despite the high hopes held by applicants, only 1 in 10 applications on average are passed. If you are adamant on getting PR status in Singapore, then you certainly should be aware of the challenges surrounding the application process as well as how you can overcome them.

In this article, we have compiled the background behind the low approval rate as well as the challenges that you will face when applying for Singapore PR.

Low Approval Rate

Truth be told, approval rates for Singapore PR was much higher in the past. However, ever since the 2011 General Election, the approval rates have taken a sharp decline. The reasons for this stem for a general level of concern amongst Singaporeans over the influx of foreign talent into the country. Back then, the voting population was anxious over 4 points:

  • A perceived overly large influx of immigrants
  • Erosion on local culture and social tension due to clashes in culture
  • Increase in market prices for necessities
  • Loss of jobs to foreigners

In response to this, the authorities tightened the requirements for approval.

Why is PR Still Coveted Despite High Rejection Rates?

man success applying for singapore pr

This brings us to another question, should you still devote time and resources to applying for Singapore PR given the high rejection rates? The answer of course depends on what you hope to get out of this venture. Nonetheless, the benefits offered to Singapore PRs are important enough for most to make the application multiple times. Here are the most important advantages of being a PR in Singapore as opposed to being a non-resident.

  • No visa issues when entering or leaving the country
  • You won’t need to worry about your work permit when changing jobs
  • More job opportunities as you will no longer count towards your employer’s foreign worker quota
  • Possibility of purchasing resale HDB flats
  • Your children enjoy more priority for slots in public schools

Step 1: Choosing from the Available Schemes

The first hurdle that you would face would be selecting the right scheme to apply for PR under. This would include the PTS and sponsorship schemes.

Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) Scheme

professionals eligible to apply singapore pr

If you are an expat working in Singapore who is applying for PR, then the PTS scheme is for you. For a fact, more than 95% of all professionals who get approved for PR each year do so through the PTS scheme. To qualify under the PTS scheme, you would need to be holding onto an existing valid work permit as well as 6 months of payslips. You would also have needed to have earned these payslips while working in Singapore.

Sponsorship Scheme

The Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) accepts applications for spouses and unmarried children. If you fall under one of these categories and are a spouse, child or parent of a Singaporean PR, then he or she could sponsor your PR application. Specifically, you would need to be either the spouse or an unmarried child aged below 21 of the PR holder.

Step 2: Assessment Criteria

There are 5 main criteria by which you will be assessed under. These include your education, employment, duration of stay, social contributions as well as family ties.


university graduates can apply singapore pr

Both your past formal and informal education plays an important role in the potential success of your PR application. Just like when applying for your first job, your education is indicative of your potential and capability. As such, it is used as a proxy for your competency as well as attitude towards personal growth.

While it is true that if you do have an advantage if you graduated from a prestigious education, do not be disheartened if you did not. Vocational certifications that you have taken post-graduation also signal a desire to keep up to date with the market. Therefore, it is possible for you to close the gap between yourself and those who have more reputable formal education certifications.


The status of your employer as well as your standing within the company is viewed as a strong indicator your capability to contribute to the local economy. Naturally, the last thing that the government wants would be to offer you the PR status when your company might go bust or release you in the short term.

Other than your current employment, the progression that you have displayed in your past employment positions also plays a part. Ideally, you would be able to demonstrate consistent career progress as well as a willingness to go above and beyond your duties.

Duration of Stay

The longer that you have stayed in Singapore, the better your chances of attaining PR. After all, nothing says it better of your readiness to be a resident in Singapore than the time you have spent here. We recommend that you document events and milestones in Singapore. Doing so will help you to bring your time in Singapore to life when speaking to the assessors.

Social Contributions

Other than being a potential contributor to the economy, you will also be measured by the potential social good that you can bring about. Consider volunteering your time at various local causes as this demonstrates a willingness to contribute back to the local community. Furthermore, it helps your case as you would be assimilated and localised in the process.

Family Ties

mother daughter apply pr

Lastly, if you have ties to family members who are PRs or citizens in Singapore, you stand a better chance. The idea behind this is that you would more likely view yourself as a local Singaporean already and are more likely to actually live & work in Singapore.

Step 3: Avoid Common Application Mistakes

Even the most qualified of applicants can be rejected during the application due to mistakes in the paperwork. It is thus critical that you be aware of the potential errors that could be made and ensure that you avoid them. Here are the 7 most common mistakes in PR applications:

  • Spelling errors and misunderstood questions
  • Differences in details that you have filled in your application form compared to the requested documents
  • Failing to submit the requested documents in accordance with the guidelines. For example, not submitting both the original and translated copies of your birth certificate.
  • Choosing the wrong options when you do not fully understand them
  • Online sessions timing out when you take too much time to decipher the questions

In addition to these common mistakes, it is also worth noting that the demand for online appointments far exceeds the supply. This makes securing an appointment a time consuming and frustrating process.

Engaging a Qualified & Trustworthy PR Professional to Help

singapore pr consultant help

Still unsure how to apply for Singapore PR? If so, then why not engage a professional PR application consultant? PR application consultants save you hours, by securing your appointment, ensuring that you have all the right documents and application forms, and advising you polishing up your case.

Engaging First Immigrations as your PR Application Agency

First Immigrations is the leading PR application consultant in Singapore. Having been in the industry for many years, we truly understand the frustration of foreigners applying for PR status. From past cases, we have found that 90% of all applicants who were rejected had errors in their application.

When you apply for Singapore PR with us, we give you a realistic evaluation of your current chance of success before telling you the required steps needed to improve your odds. We take special care to ensure that your application is not only error free, but also correctly angled to demonstrate the desired traits under the PR application program.

Enquire Now
close slider

    Full Name*



    Work Pass in Singapore :

    Work PermitLTVP/Dependent PassS PassEmployment PassPersonalised Employment PassDependent Pass