I am a foreign professional who has worked here for more than five years and have had my application for Singapore permanent residency rejected three times.
So the recent discussion in the Forum page is on a topic that is close to my heart (Take individual circumstances into account in PR applications, by Mr Woon Wee Min; April 22, PR, citizenship should not be defined by fees and papers alone, by Mr Francis Cheng; April 18, and Charge higher fees to reflect value of PR, citizenship, by Mr Ernest Chen Zhengkai; April 13).
While the tighter scrutiny of applications for PR is warranted in view of the current economic and social situation, I have some suggestions for the authorities to consider.
First, publish broad guidelines on the selection, or at least, the rejection, criteria (such as the minimum length of stay in Singapore and nature of employment).
This will not just cut down on the number of unnecessary applications, but also temper the expectations of those who did so and encourage them to relook their career plans.
I agree with the proposal by Mr Chen to increase the PR application fees substantially to dissuade those who are not looking at Singapore as a long-term option.
The current low-fee structure is surely one of the factors that results in the long waiting time of four months to six months for a PR appointment date.
Lastly, in line with the Government's focus on cohesiveness in society, a minimum number of hours as a volunteer to contribute to the community could be stipulated to evaluate the applicants' readiness for integration.