Once you become a Singaporean PR, the next thing you would usually aim for is acquiring Singapore citizenship. Though being a Singapore PR offers many benefits, there are many additional benefits when it comes to getting citizenship in Singapore. First, it is one of the safest countries in Asia, and you’ll be happy living in an environmentally-friendly country. But that’s not all; its local culture is the cherry on the cake.
As per reputable world rankings, Singapore is considered one of the best countries in the world, with high living standards. This is among the reasons people fall in love with becoming Singapore citizens. In terms of pros, there are so many long-term benefits. But you might still have doubts about whether to apply for Singapore citizenship or not. This guide might help you draw the line if you are on the fence. Jotting down pros and cons always enables you to find your answers, so give it a try.
Benefits of Singapore Citizenship
Once you get Singapore citizenship, you will be able to secure healthcare benefits, housing, parents and children incentives, educational incentives, and many more. Let’s discuss them below:
When a person selects a country to live in, one of the prominent factors they look into is healthcare services. They want to ensure that their parents and children have access to healthcare to lead a comfortable life. Singapore takes up less than 10% of public sector medical service fees. You’ll also benefit from many health schemes and grants as a Singaporean citizen.
- Medifund — An endowment fund to support citizens who cannot afford medical expenses. Foreigners and SPRs are not eligible to receive this fund.
- Medical Fees — Citizens are entitled to subsidized fees at government hospitals and SingHealth Polyclinics.
- Medisave — These accounts form a percentage of CPF contributions. Money from this account can be used to pay the account holder’s hospital bills. But that’s not all. The immediate family members also can benefit from this. Some of the expenses that Medisave can cover include day surgery, outpatient expenses, and hospitalization.
- Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) — This aims to support Singapore citizens through cost-effective primary care services. Apart from that, it also includes acute conditions, specific dental treatments, and 10 chronic diseases. Plus, those who are eligible for the CHAS scheme will also get subsidies when getting treated at clinics that are CHAS-accredited.
- Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) — This is for Singapore citizens who are at home and should be 60 or above to receive the benefits. This offers subsidies to cover the costs of healthcare items (home) and assistive devices.
- Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS) — The PCPS is established to make healthcare affordable and accessible to those who can’t access polyclinics easily. Dentists and other general practitioners offer dental treatment and outpatient medical services at the same rate as polyclinics. Singapore citizens who also have to meet additional requirements are eligible for this scheme.
If you’re a Permanent Resident, you can only buy certain properties and resale houses, but you will face several limitations. In contrast, you can purchase and rent any house if you’re a Singapore citizen, including those offered by the Housing & Development Board (HDB).
There are many studio apartments and executive condominiums that citizens can purchase. And there are many grants and housing schemes available for Singapore citizens if they want to buy government flats.
Apart from this, a citizen doesn’t have to go through the approval process or be limited by the quotas that are only for PRs. Moreover, Singapore citizens can also enjoy other subsidies when their neighbourhood goes through redevelopment programs.
When essential development work is carried out under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), it would be paid for by the government instead of the citizens. The optional improvements are covered by 95% by the government. But if you’re a PR, you must bear the total cost of any upgrading.
Citizens are also eligible to get loans from the HDB at a concessionary interest rate to fund upgrading works. If you want to know the eligibility for certain properties and other details, you can visit the Housing & Development Board InfoWEB.
Parenting and Children Incentives
As the birth rate in Singapore is decreasing, the government is offering many benefits for citizens who become parents.
- Baby Bonus Cash Gifts — Parents who have given birth to newborns will get $6,000 for each child in their first two births. They will also receive $8,000 for each child in their 3rd, 4th or more births.
- MediSave — A CPF Medisave account will be created for each newborn of a citizen. This is to support partners in managing their child’s healthcare requirements.
- Child Development Account (CDA) — This is a savings account for Singapore citizens’ children who are less than 12 years.
- Parenthood Tax Rebate – This is offered to married citizens of Singapore to motivate them to have more kids. The PRT for the 1st child is $5,000, 2nd is $10,000, and for the 3rd child and above, it is $20,000. This applies only to children who qualify.
- Working mother’s child relief – This is for married mothers and those who are widowed or divorced and have children who are Singapore citizens. The tax relief for the 1st child is 15% of the income earned by the mother. Similarly, it goes on to be 20% for the second, and the third and beyond get 25%. This applies to kids who qualify for the relief.
- Centre-based child care and infant care — This is a government initiative to offer affordable child and infant care for its citizens. Infant care subsidy goes up to $600 monthly for infants between 2-18 months. Childcare subsidies go up to $300 for children under 8 years old. But both categories of children must be enrolled in licensed childcare and infant care centres.
- Qualifying/Handicapped Child Relief (QCR/HCR) — The government offers this relief to support families in appreciation of their care and support for handicapped children.
- Grandparent Caregiver Relief (GCR) — The government offers this relief to support grandparents in appreciation of their support and care for working mothers by taking care of their kids. It’s a must for the children to be citizens of Singapore. The grandparents must also be living in Singapore.
You get the right to vote in parliamentary elections and can even contest to become a Member of Parliament.
- Tuition fees — Compared to foreigners and SPRs, Singapore’s citizens benefit from lower tuition fees. They receive this regardless of the type of institution they go to.
- EduSave Scheme — The government offers this to increase the opportunities for the children of all citizens. The scheme includes the Edusave Pupils Fund, Edusave Scholarships, and Tertiary Education.
Once you get citizenship, you don’t have to worry about getting an Employment Pass (EP) or S pass because you’ll be given priority over foreigners and PRs.
You get to enjoy visa-free access if you’re a Singapore citizen, giving you complete freedom to travel the world.
- Maternity Leave — 16 weeks of leave is granted for the mother who has given birth to a child citizen.
- Paternity Leave — 1 week of leave is granted for the father of a child citizen. In addition, fathers are allowed to share the Shared Parental Leave.
- Childcare Leave — Parents with a child citizen under 7 years old are given 6 days of leave per year, but there are certain criteria that they must meet.
- Extended Childcare Leave — Parents with a child citizen from 7-12 years old are given 2 days of leave per year (extended leave), but there are certain criteria that they must meet.
- Infant Care Leave — Parents with a child citizen are given 6 days of infant care leave per year, but these will be unpaid and certain criteria must be met.
Disadvantages of Singapore Citizenship
Although there are many benefits to becoming a Singapore citizen, one single reason is enough to complicate your decision. But if you know about the disadvantages of Singapore citizenship, you’ll be able to make a clear decision.
No Dual Citizenship
You’re not allowed to have dual citizenship, so if you want to become a citizen, you must renounce your home country’s citizenship.
Withdrawal Limitation on CPF
You must renounce your citizenship if you want to withdraw your CPF completely. This is the same for PRs.
National Service (NS)
It’s a must for male citizens to register for National Service when they reach the age of 16.5. And they are enlisted for full-time service for 2 years once they reach the age of 18. After that, they must serve as Operationally Ready National Servicemen for 40 days every year until they turn 50 years old.
This is the time frame for officers, while it’s up to 40 years old for those who aren’t. So if you become a citizen and have a male child, he has to serve National Service for 2 years. The same goes for PRs of the second generation.
While it might not be an outright disadvantage as there is nothing to be more proud of than serving your country. But for a few, it can be regarded as a downside since it is mandatory, and you must complete it within a stipulated time.
Once you have put up the pros and cons list, you can make the right decision. But it’s always better to get in touch with a professional agency to help you through the process and understand your rights and duties.