A Singaporean, Ernest Chen Zhengkai, wrote in to the Straits Times forum today to suggest increasing the immigration fees for foreigners to obtain a permanent residence or citizenship in Singapore.

Little did he realize that he would cause a stir among netizens by exposing just how little immigrants to Singapore pay to get a Singapore PR or citizenship.

Chen had originally written to ask for the government to increase the costs borne by the foreign applicant for his or her application for PR/citizenship. According to Chen, the current cost of a PR application in $100, excluding other processing costs borne by the applicant as his application moves through the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). In contrast, the same application in the UK would cost £2,297 (S$4,014) for an Indefinite Leave To Remain.

Netizens who read this letter were surprised at the low amount that Singapore charges for its citizenship, with one reader writing in to express his disgust at the “cheapness” of Singapore citizenship.

Chen added that as most of the processes for PR and citizenship applications are handled by the ICA, increasing the costs borne by foreign applicants would reduce costs and workload for the ICA. This implies that current costs for PR and citizenship applications are being paid for with Singapore tax payers money.

Arguing that increasing the costs of PRs and citizenship would not drive away foreigners, but would instead eliminate only those who are just “trying their luck”, Mr Chen pointed out that the extra revenue obtained from these applicatons would in turn help boost government resources and reduce other costs and fees for citizens.

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