Permanent Residence GIP scheme

This article is a guide to the Global Investor Programme, an immigration scheme that grants Permanent Resident status to eligible global investors who intend to manage their businesses and investments from Singapore. What criteria qualify you for the Global Investor Programme? How can you apply? Are family members eligible for PR status under the programme? Read on for answers to these and other questions about the Permanent Residence GIP scheme.

Introduction

Singapore is widely acknowledged as a global business hub due to its business-friendly legislation, attractive tax regime, and political stability. Another advantage Singapore offers is favourable immigration policies that attract foreign professionals from around the globe. In addition to various programmes providing Permanent Residence status to foreign talent and their families, Singapore offers an immigration path specifically for global investors — the Global Investor Programme.

This article will cover the following topics:

What is the Global Investor Program?

The Global Investor Program (GIP) — also sometimes referred to as the Singapore Investment Visa) — is a Permanent Residence scheme applicable only to investors and entrepreneurs who meet the minimum qualifying criteria.

The GIP, introduced in 2004, is administered by Contact Singapore, a division of the Singapore Economic Development Board — a government agency whose function is to attract and advise international investors to invest, work, and live in Singapore.

GIP qualifying criteria

GIP applicants must qualify for one of four investment groups described below. Each group has its own qualifying criteria that are described below.

Established Business Owners must:

  • Have at least a 3-year track record in entrepreneurial and business activities;
  • Be currently running a company with an annual turnover of at least S$200 million in the year immediately preceding the application, and averaging at least S$200 million per annum over the three years preceding the application;
  • Have at least 30% shareholding if the company is privately held; and
  • Be engaged in one or more of the qualifying industries.
  • Applicants may choose between A, B or C investment options described below.

    Next-Generation Business Owners must:

    • Have immediate family members holding at least 30% in the company they use to qualify; and
    • This company’s annual turnover must be at least S$500 million in the year immediately preceding the application, and have averaged at least S$500 million per annum for the three preceding years;
    • Be part of the management team of the company (e.g. C-suite or Board of Directors); and
    • Be engaged in one or more of the qualifying industries.
    • Applicants may choose between A, B or C investment options.

    Founders of Fast Growth Companies must:

    • Be a founder and one of the largest individual shareholders of a company with a valuation of at least S$500 million; and
    • This company must be invested into by reputable venture capital or private equity firms; and
    • The company must be engaged in one or more of the qualifying industries.
    • Applicants may choose between A, B or C investment options.

    Family Office Principals must:

    • Have at least 5 years of entrepreneurial, investment, or management experience; and
    • Have net investable assets of at least S$200 million. These include all financial assets, such as bank deposits, capital market products, collective investment schemes, premiums paid in respect of life insurance policies and other investment products, excluding real estate.
    • Applicants may undertake only the C investment option.

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    Investment options and assessment criteria

    Applicants who meet the criteria of one of the four categories described above, can choose from three investment options in Singapore to qualify.

    Option A

    • Applicants who apply for this option are required to invest S$2.5 million in a new business entity or in the expansion of an existing business operation.
    • You must submit a detailed 5-year business or investment plan with projected employment, expenditure, and financial projections. The business plan will be assessed based on its feasibility, your role in growing the Option A company, the business activities, and creation of local jobs.
    • You should have at least 30% shareholding in the Option A company and must be part of the management team (e.g. C-suite or Board of Directors).

    Option B

    • To qualify for this option, you are required to invest S$2.5 million in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
    • Your application will be assessed based on the future business or investment plans in Singapore. This may include specific details on proposed business activities, amount of investment, creation of local jobs, etc.

    Option C

    • Under this option you should invest S$2.5 million in a new or existing Singapore-based single family office having assets under management of at least S$200 million.
    • You will be required to submit a detailed 5-year business plan with employment and annual financial projections. The business plan will be assessed based on your role in the single family office, the functions of your family office, your proposed investment sectors, asset types, and geographical focus.

    GIP investment industries

    Three of the four groups of investors, namely established business owners, next-generation business owners, and founders of fast-growth companies, are required to have a business in one of the following industries to qualify for the GIP:

    • Aerospace engineering
    • Alternative energy or clean technology
    • Automotive
    • Chemicals
    • Consumer business (e.g. flavors and fragrances, food ingredients, nutrition, home and personal care)
    • Electronics
    • Energy
    • Engineering services
    • Healthcare
    • Infocom products and services
    • Logistics and supply chain management
    • Marine and offshore engineering
    • Media and entertainment
    • Medical technology
    • Nanotechnology
    • Natural resources (e.g. metals, mining, agri-commodities)
    • Safety and security
    • Space
    • Shipping
    • Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
    • Precision engineering
    • Professional services e.g. consulting, design
    • Arts businesses (visual arts businesses, e.g. auction houses, art logistics or storage, and performing arts businesses)
    • Sports businesses
    • Family office and financial services

    Applying for the Global Investor Programme

    Once you have determined that you fall under one of the four groups of investors and meet all the relevant criteria, you may apply. To gain GIP approval and acquire PR status, foreign investors must take the following steps:

    Step 1. Submitting an application

    A non-refundable fee of S$10,000 must be paid before submitting application forms. Any transaction fees are the applicant’s responsibility, so take this into account when issuing instructions to your financial institution.

    Step 2. Interview

    Following the application, you will be invited for an interview with EDB.

    Step 3. Approval-in-Principle

    If you successfully pass the interview and meet the assessment criteria, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will issue an Approval-in-Principle (AIP) status, which is valid for 6 months.

    Step 4. Investment

    You will be required to make the necessary investment under the selected investment option within 6 months from the date of the AIP letter. The investment must be made from your personal bank account in your sole name, opened in a Singapore-registered bank.

    Step 5. Evidence

    Upon making the investment, you should provide evidence of the investments made (e.g. a certified true copy of share certificates, bank statements, and other relevant documents) to the EDB as proof the investment has been realized.

    Step 6. Final approval

    Once investment documents are verified by EDB, ICA will issue a letter of final approval of PR status. You should formalise your Permanent Residence status within 12 months from the date of the final approval letter.

    The application process usually takes 6-8 months. After making investments, completing all the formalities, and receiving the PR identity card, you can start enjoying most of the benefits available to citizens of Singapore, such as visa-free residence in the country, tax relief, lower stamp duty on real estate purchases, lower medical expenses, priority of access to Government-supported infant care facilities and government-run primary and secondary schools for your children, as well as many other privileges.

    Re-Entry Permit and PR renewals

    After the formalisation of your PR, you will be issued a Re-Entry Permit (REP) valid for 5 years. The REP allows you to maintain PR status even when you are out of Singapore. This REP and PR status accordingly will be renewed if you meet the Re-Entry Permit Renewal Conditions by the 5th year of your PR status.

    PR for the family

    A successful application under any of the above options will entitle the applicant and his or her family members to Permanent Residency in Singapore.

    Thus, your spouse and unmarried children aged younger than 21 years old can apply for PR under your GIP application. Note that male children who obtain PR by virtue of being your dependant will be liable for national service. Please visit Central Manpower Base website for more information on national service in Singapore.

    However, your parents and unmarried children 21 or older are not permitted to apply for PR under your GIP application. Instead, they can apply for a 5-year Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), which is tied to the validity of your REP. Please refer to Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website for more details on LTVP.

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    Summary

    If you are a high net-worth investor interested in starting or relocating your business to Singapore, and seek to move to this country, you may consider the Global Investor Programme. The GIP offers Permanent Resident status to select groups of high net-worth individuals and business owners who meet certain criteria. You should be able to demonstrate a plan to infuse capital into the Singapore economy and create employment opportunities for Singaporeans whilst driving your business growth from the country.

    The application procedure usually takes 6-8 months and is easy, transparent, and hassle-free. The obtained PR status will give you numerous advantages, such as visa-free residence in the country, tax benefits, lower medical expenses, more favourable educational options for your children, and other advantages available to Singapore citizens.

    Please contact us if you wish to apply for the Permanent Residence GIP scheme, or have any other questions related to immigration or running a business in Singapore.

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