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What Are the Benefits of Singapore Citizenship?

What Are the Benefits of Singapore Citizenship?

Singapore has always been a prime spot for top-tier talent, not just to work but to put down roots for individuals and expat families alike. In fact, according to a Seek survey of 150,000 workers from 188 countries, Singapore ranks 8th globally for preferred work destinations.

This attractiveness did not happen in a vacuum, of course, as Singapore offers a unique blend of economic opportunities, high-quality living, and a stable, secure environment.

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The city-state’s strategic location, business-friendly policies, and multicultural society make it a beacon for professionals and entrepreneurs. As such, many people consider securing Singapore citizenship to fully embrace and benefit from all that the country has to offer.

In 2023 alone, Singapore’s citizen population increased by 1.6% (3.55 million to 3.61 million), indicating that the country continues to attract people worlwide due to its strong economy and high quality of life.

This article explores the numerous benefits of becoming a Singapore citizen, while also touching upon some of the challenges and trade-offs involved. From travel freedom and employment advantages to housing, education, and healthcare benefits, we will provide a comprehensive overview to help you make an informed decision about pursuing Singapore citizenship.

International Trademark Registration Service

Source: National Population and Talent Divison of The Singapore Government

Travel Freedom With a Singapore Passport

One of the most significant benefits of Singapore citizenship is the travel freedom it offers. Singapore’s passport is highly regarded worldwide, providing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 189 countries and territories.

This high degree of travel freedom facilitates international business, tourism, and personal travel without the hassle of visa applications. According to the Henley Passport Index, Singapore ranks the best in the world for travel freedom, reflecting the passport’s extensive reach to all corners of the globe​​.

However, Singapore’s requirement to renounce other citizenships can be a significant drawback. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, which means you must give up your original nationality to become a Singaporean.

This can be a difficult decision for many, as it involves severing formal ties with their home country. Despite this, many find the benefits of travel freedom and the strong global standing of a Singapore passport to be well worth the sacrifice.

Employment Opportunities With Singapore Citizenship

Singapore’s thriving economy and strategic location make it a prime destination for global businesses. As a Singapore citizen, you have a competitive edge in the job market. Anecdotally, at least, many employers prefer hiring citizens due to fewer regulatory hurdles and lower costs associated with employment passes.

Additionally, citizens generally have access to more government jobs and roles reserved for nationals, providing greater job security and career advancement opportunities. However, the job market in Singapore is highly competitive

The country’s small size and high population density mean that job seekers often face intense competition for desirable positions. Despite these challenges, the benefits of citizenship, coupled with government initiatives like SkillsFuture for continuous learning and development, make it an attractive proposition for many.

Housing Benefits With Singapore Citizenship

While Singapore real estate is at a premium, Singapore citizens enjoy significant advantages in housing. Only citizens can purchase and rent apartments from the Housing & Development Board (HDB), which offers a range of subsidised flats, including 2-room to 5-room flats, executive condominiums, and studio apartments.

Citizens also benefit from various housing grants and concessional loans from the HDB, making homeownership more affordable.

Housing Eligibility

Housing Type Citizens Permanent Residents Foreigners
Purchase of resale HDB flats Eligible Eligible (Subject to HDB’s Eligibility schemes) Not Eligible
Purchase of subsidised HDB flats Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Rental of a room/flat from homeowners Eligible Eligible Eligible
Rental of subsidised HDB flats Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Purchase of landed property Eligible Eligible (Subject to approval) Not Eligible
Purchase of non-landed private property Eligible Eligible Eligible
Rental of landed and non-landed property Eligible Eligible Eligible
CPF Housing Grant Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Upgrading Subsidy and concessionary loan rate Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Mortgage loans from HDB Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Mortgage loans from banks Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible

Note: Eligibility is subject to fulfilling certain conditions. For more information, visit the Housing & Development Board (HDB) website.

While these benefits significantly reduce housing costs for citizens, the overall high cost of living in Singapore can still be a challenge. Property prices remain high, and the cost of living can somewhat offset some of the advantages provided by government subsidies and grants.

Nevertheless, the stability, quality of life, and financial security provided by the housing benefits make Singapore citizenship a highly attractive option for many.

Central Provident Fund (CPF) With Singapore Citizenship

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a compulsory social security savings plan for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Both employers and employees contribute to the CPF, which is divided into three accounts:

  • The Ordinary Account: Can be used for housing, insurance, investment, and education.
  • The Special Account: Reserved for old age and investment in retirement-related financial products.
  • The Medisave Account: Used for hospitalisation and approved medical insurance.

One of the key benefits of the CPF is the security it provides throughout different stages of life. Employer contributions are non-taxable, and employees’ contributions can be used for tax relief purposes. This system not only encourages saving but also ensures that individuals have financial support for housing, healthcare, and retirement.

However, a potential drawback is the CPF’s mandatory nature, which may limit immediate disposable income. Additionally, if you wish to withdraw all your CPF savings as a lump sum, you must renounce your citizenship status. Despite these limitations, the CPF is a robust system that offers significant financial benefits and security to Singapore citizens.

Educational Advantages for Singapore Citizens

Singapore citizens enjoy several significant benefits in the education system. One of the most notable is the Edusave Scheme, a government initiative designed to optimise educational opportunities for all Singaporean children.

This scheme provides financial awards to students who excel in academic and non-academic activities, supporting their development and encouraging the high performance typical of Singapore’s culture. The scheme covers students studying full-time in government or government-aided schools, junior colleges, centralised institutes, and special education schools.

In addition to the Edusave Scheme, Singapore citizens benefit from lower school fees compared to permanent residents (PRs) and foreign students. This difference in fees makes education more accessible and affordable for Singaporean families.

School Fees Comparison (2024)

Education Level Citizens PRs Foreign Students
Primary School (Monthly) S$6.50 – S$13 S$230 – S$268 S$490 – 888
Secondary School (Monthly) S$5 – S$25 S$440 – S$520 S$840 – S$1,770
Pre-University (Monthly) S$6 – S$33 S$520 – S$607 S$1,070 – S$2,127
Institute of Technical Education S$430 – S$590 S$6,150 – S$7,760 S$17,400 – S$20,550
Polytechnics (Annual) S$3,000 S$6,200 S$11,900
Universities (NUS, NTU, SMU) Varies Varies Varies

Expats from countries with more relaxed educational standards should note that the high standards and competitive nature of the education system can be stressful for students and parents alike. Nonetheless, the advantages provided by the educational system, including financial support and access to high-quality education, make Singapore citizenship a valuable asset for families.

Healthcare Benefits for Singapore Citizens

Healthcare is another area where Singapore citizens reap significant advantages. Citizens benefit from comprehensive healthcare schemes designed to ensure access to affordable and high-quality medical services.

One of the key programs is Medifund, an endowment fund set up by the government to help finance medical expenses for lower-income Singaporeans. This program ensures that no citizen is denied basic medical care due to financial constraints.

Another important scheme is the Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS), which aims to provide affordable primary healthcare. Under this scheme, participating private general practitioners and dentists offer medical and dental treatments at polyclinic-level charges. This makes healthcare more accessible to citizens who may not be able to visit public polyclinics due to location or other constraints.

Healthcare Subsidies

Healthcare Service Citizens Permanent Residents Foreigners
Public Healthcare Subsidies Yes Partial No
Medifund Eligible Not Eligible Not Eligible
Polyclinic Consultation (Adult) S$8-9 S$12-14 Not Eligible
Polyclinic Consultation (Child/Elderly) S$4-5 S$ 12-14 Not Eligible

Note: Eligibility for various healthcare subsidies is subject to certain conditions. For more information, visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website.

While these benefits significantly reduce healthcare costs for citizens, it is important to note that healthcare in Singapore can still be expensive, especially for specialised treatments. Despite these challenges, the robust healthcare system and comprehensive subsidies available to Singapore citizens provide significant peace of mind and contribute to the overall high quality of life in the country.

Other Benefits for Singapore Citizens

Electoral Rights

As a Singapore citizen, you have the right to vote in parliamentary elections and stand for election. This civic privilege allows citizens to participate actively in the democratic process and have a say in the country’s governance.

Tax Reliefs

Singapore offers several tax reliefs specifically for citizens, particularly aimed at supporting families. One notable example is the Parenthood Tax Rebate (PTR), which provides a lump sum rebate to married Singapore tax residents to encourage them to have more children. The rebate can be used to offset income tax payable and is significant, with amounts up to S$20,000 for the third and subsequent children.

Parenthood Incentives

The government provides various incentives to support parenthood, including the Baby Bonus Scheme, which offers a cash gift and a dollar-to-dollar matching contribution to the Child Development Account (CDA). The scheme is designed to ease the financial burden of raising children and encourage higher birth rates.

Mothers of children who are Singapore citizens can also benefit from Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR) and various childcare subsidies, such as the infant care subsidy.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Singapore Citizenship?

While there are numerous and enticing benefits to becoming Singaporean citizens, in the interests of objectivity, potential citizens should also consider several disadvantages.

National Service (NS)

Male Singapore citizens are required to serve in National Service. Upon reaching 16.5 years of age, they must register for NS and will be enlisted for two years of full-time service immediately upon turning 18, unless deferment is granted.

Additionally, they are required to serve 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service each year until the age of 50 for officers and 40 for non-officers. This mandatory service is also applicable to second-generation male permanent residents.

No Dual Citizenship

As previously mentioned, Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. This means that individuals who decide to become Singapore citizens must renounce their citizenship in their home country, giving up their original passport.

This requirement can be a significant emotional and practical hurdle for many people; however, the benefits of citizenship have outweighed this disadvantage for thousands of people who become Singapore citizens every year.

CPF Withdrawal Limitation

Another point to consider is the limitation on CPF withdrawal. As discussed earlier, if you wish to withdraw all your CPF savings as a lump sum, the only option is to renounce your citizenship status. This rule applies to permanent residents as well, restricting access to retirement funds unless citizenship is renounced.

Despite these drawbacks, the comprehensive benefits provided by Singapore citizenship, including the high quality of life, financial security, and access to excellent public services, often outweigh these disadvantages for many individuals.

Where to Next With InCorp

Singapore citizenship offers numerous benefits, including extensive travel freedom, competitive employment opportunities, significant housing advantages, comprehensive healthcare benefits, and additional perks such as electoral rights and tax reliefs. These benefits contribute to a famously high quality of life and financial security for Singapore citizens.

However, it is also important to consider the drawbacks, including the requirement to renounce other citizenships, and limitations on CPF withdrawals. Despite these challenges, every year, thousands of people find the overall benefits of becoming a Singapore citizen to be compelling, making Singapore an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

If you are considering Singapore citizenship application and want to explore these benefits further by becoming a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) first, contact InCorp today for expert guidance and insights. Our team of professionals is ready to assist you in making an informed decision and starting your Singapore citizenship journey with ease.

FAQs about the Benefits of Singapore Citizenship

  • Singapore citizenship offers extensive travel freedom, competitive employment opportunities, significant housing benefits, comprehensive healthcare, and additional perks such as tax reliefs and electoral rights.
  • No, Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. Individuals must renounce their previous citizenship to become a Singapore citizen.
  • Singapore citizens benefit from the Edusave Scheme, lower school fees, and various educational grants and scholarships that make education more affordable.

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About the Author

Mel Bakar

Mel specializes in Employment Pass and Work Pass applications through the Ministry of Manpower. She also handles Long-Term Visit Pass applications through the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

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