Why is the Singapore Citizenship so Easy for Foreigners to Buy?

Dear Editor,

Sentiments against foreign talents in Singapore have been on the rise. Especially with the recent COVID19-induced job losses, Singaporeans have been questioning why some companies choose to hire foreigners instead of locals. Also, a recent breach of COVID19 rules by foreigners have also further driven this nationalistic sentiment amongst Singaporeans – remember the illegal gathering at Robertson Quay during circuit breaker?

I decided to take a look at how much it costs to buy citizenship in the English-speaking countries. What I found is that the Singapore Citizenship is one of the cheapest and you will be able to get it the quickest (for those with money to “invest”). See the table below.

CountryProgram NameMinimum InvestmentResidency Requirements*Citizenship Qualifying Period**
AustraliaBusiness Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa – Investor Stream (subclass 188)AUD1.5 million40 days/year in Australia5 years (4y living in Aus + 1y PR)
CanadaQuebec Immigrant Investor Program (Quebec only)***CAD1.2 million730 days (2 years) in every 5-year period in Canada3 years of PR
New ZealandInvestor Visa – Investor 2 categoryNZ$3 million438 days over 4 years in NZ5 years of PR
SingaporeGlobal Investor ProgramS$2.5 millionNo requirements2 years of PR
UKTier 1 (Investor) Visa£2 million180 days/year in UK6 years (5y living in UK, + 1y of PR)
USEB-5 Immigrant Investor ProgramUS$1.8 million (or US$900k for TEA)185 days/year in US7 years (2y before Green Card + 5y of being PR)

Details acquired from immigration websites belonging to the governments of the various countries, retrieved in March 2021.
* Conditions for the investor programs, conditions for citizenship may be different
**For minimum investment, shorter qualifying periods apply for some countries with higher value investments.
***Program temporarily suspended as of 2019, Canada-wide Immigrant Investment Program suspended as of 2014

Maybe it is time for Singapore to review our citizenship criteria. Why is it such that it only takes 2 years of being a SPR before they can apply for citizenship? Also, why is there no residency requirements? For a first-world country, is our citizenship too cheap?


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