Living and working in Singapore has many perks and benefits. Thus, the Singapore Permanent Residency (PR) is highly coveted by foreigners who want to set roots in the country. Yet, only 30% of total applicants are approved annually. This makes obtaining PR extremely competitive.
There are 2 ways to apply for Singapore PR; self apply or via immigration agencies. Regardless of how one submits the application, all PR approvals are at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) discretion. At a 70% failure rate, many are left wondering what went wrong and what the reasons are for rejection.
Those who have tried applying on their own may seek help from immigration agencies for their next application. Those who have used the services of an immigration agent in the past may try to warn others from doing the same and instead to apply on their own.
Below are 5 common misconceptions that people say about immigration agencies that are often not true.
Misconception #1: They are scammers
While there are some bad apples in the industry, not all immigration agencies are scammers. By definition, scammers are those who take money from others with no intention to deliver any product and/or service that was promised.
People who have engaged with an immigration agency may accuse the latter as scammers because their PR application was rejected and they have paid a few thousand dollars for it. This is not a scam. While they may be upset and feel that they have “paid for nothing”, the fact that their PR application was rejected shows that service was rendered and their application was submitted.
The price was agreed upon by both parties before the start of the PR application process. While it is more expensive compared to doing the application on your own, the price accounts for the team of two to three people advising and preparing the documents package for submission, the expertise involved in putting together information and supporting documents that would elevate the application, as well as the hassle of ensuring the application compiles to ICA’s standards. Also, the price is a one-time payment for a service that lasts for at least 6 months. As there are many types of agencies out there, it is highly advisable that applicants conduct their own due diligence prior to engagement.
Misconception #2: They make false claims
“We have a 98% PR approval rate!”
“We have an insider working at the ICA!”
“We guarantee your Singapore PR approval!”
These are some of the wild claims that some immigration agencies make to entice clients. However, these claims don’t hold water and many are smart enough to recognise it nowadays so they don’t happen much anymore.
While these claims are easy to spot, there are others that are not so straightforward. The immigration industry in Singapore is unregulated, therefore, anyone can set up a company and sell immigration services. To create a brand, they may furnish their experience and expertise.
Legit immigration agencies such as Immigration@SG (IASG) do not resort to false claims of any kind. They are one of the pioneers in the industry and have a combined experience of more than 50 years. The team at IASG are trained by its founder Masood Mustafa, who has experience working at the Ministry of Home Affairs spearheading immigration projects.
The processes and approach in place at IASG is reflective of Masood’s experience spent as a public servant. Staff at IASG undergo the necessary training to be competent at dispensing accurate advisory and providing the right guidance befitting the decorum of the Management’s values.
Misconception #3: Singapore government rejects applications done via immigration agencies
Some people believe that if one were to engage an immigration agent for their Singapore PR application, the government thinks he/she is stupid enough to not know how to apply on their own and therefore, rejects the application. This is a wild allegation.
The government, or specifically, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) does not know if the PR application is done by the applicant themselves or via an immigration agency. This is because all applications go through the same process via the ICA website through the applicant’s Singpass.
However, most reliable agencies like Immigration@SG will prepare strong submission packages that includes additional, useful information and material about the applicants for ICA’s consideration. While it is not mandatory, it goes a long way at the decision making table in comparison with an applicant that have merely submitted the bare minimum.
Misconception #4: Self-apply is straightforward and has better success rate
It is true that submitting a PR application is straightforward and instructions are given on the ICA website that anybody can follow. However, the checklist given on the ICA website is basic and there is no guarantee that self-application ensures a better success rate.
In fact, most of our clients are individuals who have attempted to self-apply, but engaged the handbrake because instructions are not entirely clear, the requirements seems tedious, and they ultimately got intimidated by the process and fear of committing errors.
Due to the high volume of applications, it is important to submit an application that stands out. This is where immigration agents come in and help their clients. Immigration agents help assess and identify areas for improvement in a PR application. Instead of just submitting the basic documents, immigration agents will send their clients a comprehensive checklist of supporting documents that can help increase their chances of PR approval.
Misconception #5: Agencies are middlemen that don’t add value to the PR application
Due to their experience, knowledge, and expertise, immigration agencies have insights on what works and what doesn’t. After many years handling immigration cases, they understand how the ICA works, what are the common pitfalls to avoid, and how to make an applicant’s profile better. They prepare a strong, error-free documents package that provides for a good fighting chance at the decision making table instead of getting a swift rejection.
At the end of the day, clients get more knowledge of the whole Singapore PR application process and how their previous PR applications were insufficiently submitted.
Misconceptions of Immigration Agencies
With a 70% failure rate, Singapore PR applications get rejected whether an applicant does the submission on their own or gets the help of an immigration agent.
An individual’s PR application has to show the ICA how an applicant can contribute to Singapore, integrate into the society, and commit to sinking roots in the country. An immigration agency understands these factors and based on their expertise, may advise on how to achieve these.