Parliament: More foreign spouses on longer-term visa scheme

SINGAPORE - More foreigners married to Singaporeans are in the country on a longer-term visa scheme that makes it easier for them to live and work here.

This is in keeping with a growing trend of transnational marriages in Singapore.

A total of 7,300 foreign spouses were on the Long-Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) scheme as of end-September, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in a written reply to a question in Parliament yesterday.

This is nearly double the 3,900 spouses with visas under the same scheme as at end-December 2012, the last time these figures were released by the authorities.

The LTVP+ scheme was introduced in April 2012 for foreign spouses who have been married and living here for more than five years, noted Mr Teo.

Such pass holders can remain in Singapore for longer periods than those here under the Long- Term Visit Pass (LTVP) scheme.

They also qualify for health- care and employment benefits.

Between January and September this year, 2,000 foreign spouses were granted the LTVP+, Mr Teo said in reply to Mr Hri Kumar Nair (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who asked for recent figures regarding foreign spouses who are on the scheme.

Mr Nair also asked whether the Government would consider granting as a rule the LTVP+ to foreign spouses who have been married to Singaporeans and who have lived here for more than five years.

Mr Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said that every application for the LTVP+ "is assessed on a range of factors rather than a single factor such as the length of marriage or length of stay in Singapore".

For example, the ability of the Singaporean spouse to support his or her family will be considered.

Mr Teo's reply follows an announcement by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority last month that foreign spouses can speed up their application for an LTVP by applying for a Letter of Eligibility.

Three in 10 marriages here involve transnational couples, compared to two in 10 in 2003.

This article was first published on Nov 5, 2014.
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