20,000 new citizens per year – are some only gaming our lax immigration policy for personal profit?

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At a citizenship ceremony yesterday (27 May), PM Lee said Singapore manages the immigration inflow carefully.

The people who come must be able to integrate into society, have the abilities and skills to contribute to the economy, he said. He also added that they must have their “hearts in the right place”.

About 20,000 foreigners are given Singaporean citizenship every year by the government

Addressing the new citizens at the ceremony, he said, “When you take up Singapore citizenship, you are not just becoming a resident of this island or a worker. You are committing your loyalty to Singapore, pledging yourself to fulfill the responsibilities of a citizen.”

“You have chosen to take up Singapore citizenship because you believe in Singapore and identify yourself with what Singapore stands for,” he added.

Do some new citizens start planning by making sure their kids don’t serve NS?

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that not all new citizens are as committed to Singapore as what PM Lee would like to believe.

At the Singapore Expats forum where the foreign expats, new citizens and PRs would hang out, questions of how to avoid serving NS or not wanting their kids to become Singaporeans will always turn up.

Take for example, the case of a foreigner who came from a “European country with good food” and was given a Singaporean citizenship. He however, doesn’t want his new born kid to become a Singaporean citizen, but wants him to assume the citizenship of his wife – a non-Singaporean.

The reason he wants to do that is because he wants to bring his whole family back to his home country after a certain period of time. He believes it will be easier for the family to relocate since his wife and kid will still be holding his country of origin’s citizenship.

This other example is even more blatant. The foreigner, from Myanmar, was given a Singaporean citizenship. His wife is a PR also from Myanmar and she went back to Myanmar to give birth to their son.

He doesn’t want his son to hold Singaporean citizenship or PR because in his own words, “My intention for my boy is to get Myanmar citizenship and skip NS.” He wants his son to hold a Myanmar passport and was asking in the forum if he could just apply a Long Term Visit Pass for his son to stay in Singapore.

When asked about his long term plan, he said, “Yes, we’ll settle down in Myanmar.”

It’s not known if this new citizen can succeed in his ploy to enable his son to “skip NS”, because according to Wikipedia, a person born outside of Singapore on or after 15 May 2004, with at least one parent who is a Singaporean citizen, is considered a Singaporean citizen by descent.

In yet another example, parents who have PR ask how their son can avoid being a Singaporean permanent resident, for the sole reason of not being liable for national service. Their kid can choose not to serve NS by giving up his PR, in which case he would have a hard time finding a job or staying in Singapore for the long term thereafter.

Such foreigners “hearts” are in their homeland and they just use Singapore like a hotel to get a leg up in life, or as a stepping stone to gain entry into countries like USA or Australia. They may be more interested in gaming the system than in integrating into society.

While some foreigners are gaming the system, some people born in Singapore and have served NS remain stateless.

A Singaporean, at last: Mr Alexander Franklin Alrivers

A SINGAPOREAN, AT LAST: Most Singaporeans are citizens by birth. Mr Alexander Franklin Alrivers, who was born stateless here, took 50 years to get his pink IC. The story of his long struggles to become a Singaporean: http://bit.ly/2s7QT2U(Video: Nuria Ling/TODAY)

Posted by TODAY on Saturday, 27 May 2017

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