SINGAPORE - The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) currently requires an applicant seeking permanent residency to be either a spouse or a child of a Singapore citizen or permanent resident; a P, Q or S work-pass holder; or an investor or entrepreneur.
However, there are a number of foreign students who have studied in local government schools for years but are not eligible for permanent residency based on current application criteria.
They have undergone many years of Character and Citizenship Education as well as National Education, assimilated into the local culture, developed friendships with Singaporean students, and see themselves as "locals". Some male foreign students are even inspired to do national service as they have developed a deep sense of belonging here. But they are ineligible because they are foreigners.
Our ministers and MPs have recently urged new citizens and PRs to better integrate with Singaporeans.
There have been cases of PRs who were not sufficiently integrated into the community and later renounced their PR status and returned to their home countries.
Should the ICA not consider making "integration" a key criterion for PR and citizenship application?
Foreign students who have been adequately integrated via Singapore's national education system should be considered for permanent residency.
In turn, these male foreign students would also be obliged to join their local peers and undergo national service, thereby contributing to Singapore's defence.
Olivia Wang Mei (Ms)
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