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S’pore entry lane for boyfriend, girlfriend of citizens, PRs no longer available: ICA

In view of the evolving border control measures and as part of ICA’s regular reviews on the requirements and application processes for travellers seeking entry into Singapore, the category was removed in Mar 2021.

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Singapore – In response to the first Covid-19 case of the KTV cluster, which involved a Vietnamese national entering Singapore through a category under the Familial Ties Lane (FTL), the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) clarified that the option is no longer available.

The woman, sponsored by a Singapore citizen and indicated as her boyfriend in her application, entered Singapore in Feb 2021.

Her application was made through the “Boyfriend or Girlfriend of Singapore Citizen (SC) or Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)” category under the FTL, noted ICA in a media release on Friday (Jul 16).

The category was introduced in Oct 2020 to allow Singaporeans in relationships with foreign partners to be reunited after being separated for long periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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ICA noted that it had received many appeals from Singaporeans in this regard.

In view of the evolving border control measures and as part of ICA’s regular reviews on the requirements and application processes for travellers seeking entry into Singapore, the category was removed in Mar 2021.

The use of Singpass log-in and security screening measures were also put in place on the SafeTravel portal as part of the entry application process.

ICA highlighted that foreigners are also assessed at the point of entry, and dubious travellers will be refused entry even if they have prior entry approvals, much like pre-Covid-19 days.

Amid the pandemic, ICA assesses applications to extend short-term visit passes on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration “extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions and flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore.”

As of Jul 6, Singapore reported 53 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, of which 32 belong to the KTV cluster, reported the Ministry of Health (MOH).

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The KTV cluster currently has 120 cases, making it the largest active cluster in Singapore.

Cases of Covid-19 infection amongst social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs currently operating as F&B outlets, and their close social contacts, are being investigated, said MOH.

To break any potential chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning, these premises will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 16 to Jul 30, 2021, said MOH.

Free Covid-19 testing is being extended to public members who had visited the two KTV lounges mentioned and similar venues between Jun 29 and Jul 15, 2021.

Those who interacted with social hostesses of any nationality in any setting between the same period can also get the free Covid-19 test.

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During a police operation targeting pivoted KTVs from Jul 13 to Jul 15, the police have arrested 20 women aged between 20 and 47 for offences under the Women’s Charter, the Immigration Act and the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

Ten of the women, aged between 21 and 34, have been deemed “undesirable immigrants” by the ICA and will be deported due to their short-term visit passes and work passes being revoked.

The women had worked as social hostesses at three of the KTVs and intermingled with patrons.

“Employers who illegally employ these pass holders, or abet these pass holders in illegal employment will also face enforcement actions, such as a fine of not less than S$5,000 and not more than S$30,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both,” said ICA.

ICA urged the public to submit “truthful and accurate information” as it will not “hesitate to take firm enforcement action against those found to have made false declarations.”/TISG

Read related: MTF considering additional measures after ‘disappointing and frustrating’ KTV Covid-19 cluster: Lawrence Wong

MTF considering additional measures after ‘disappointing and frustrating’ KTV Covid-19 cluster: Lawrence Wong

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