Your Citizenship is Worth $4,511 More Than a PR Per Year


According to our calculations, your citizenship is worth $4,511 more than permanent residents per year. For that, you have to serve NS if you are male, and watch some of your PR friends sell their HDBs for a good profit and then return to their (sometimes) cheaper home countries to enjoy retirement.

As a Singapore citizen, here’s what you enjoy (reference: ST, 24 Oct 2009 online link):

  • Child birth. If you stay in a Class B2+ ward, you pay $475. For PR, it’s $506, which is $31 more. The average Singapore woman has about 1 child and will thus get the $10,000 baby bonus (we ignore the fact that she will have to split the bonus with her husband). Spread over 20 years of providing for the child, the baby bonus amounts to $500 per year. Total child birth benefit: $31 + $500 = $531/yr.
  • Childcare subsidy. Singaporean working mum gets a $300/mth subsidy while PRs get nothing. Total childcare benefit: $3,600/yr.
  • School fees. PRs pay $2,884 more than Singaporeans per child for the 16 years of education all the way to university. This is $180/yr.
  • Marriage fees. Insignificant.
  • Housing. Though PRs are not eligible to buy new flats, many Singaporeans also do not buy new flats. Since both citizens and PRs are eligible to buy resale flats, for ease of comparison, we will treat housing benefit as insignificant. [Added 1 Nov: Married citizens enjoy a $30k-$40k grant, while singles can get $11k-$20k.  Spread over the long term of owning a home, say over 30 years, this is about $666/yr per person in addition to the $4,511 calculated previously, making a total of $5,177/yr. Thanks to the reader who highlighted this.]
  • Health subsidies. Citizens get about 10% more subsidy than PRs. Assuming that an average citizen spends $20k over 10 years, this 10% difference amounts to $200/yr.

Grand total: $4,511 per year. Note that if you’re single, it would be just $200 per year.

No wonder the ST reporter Zakir Hussain said “the distinctions between citizens and PRs could not have been clearer.”

Do you think your citizenship should be worth a lot more?


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  1. Why “S pass holders” which are supposed to be only semi-skilled workers earning $1800 per month allowed to apply for Singapore Permanent Residence status? These semi-skilled workers are direct competitors to our local ITE, poly, fresh uni grads and many of them are employed in positions such as clerks, administrative officer, marketing assistant, civil engineer/consultants, quantity surveyers… These jobs can easily be taken by singaporean or existing PRs but are going to S pass holders because the fact is that companies pay these S pass only 1000-1200 but declare that they are paying 1800 to 2400 to these foreigners. The foreigners are willing to repay the extra salary by hyped “house rental fee”, “food expense”… just to officially clear the book. This phenomenon should be avoid because by taking the unqualified foreigners at lower cost, Singapore will lose its reputation as a centre of quality. Productivity and quality of employee has been on the red recently and we cannot just trying to deflate the salary by employing foreigners at cheap price. The same problems goes to the Q1 pass holders which only requires a $2500 salary. Are these S pass and Q1 pass holders considered talents? These people if they want to sink root here, must demonstrate a track record of high quality work experience in Singapore, this can only be demonstrated through at least 3 years of employment in Singapore. No where in the world that a foreign workers can apply for PR after just 6 months of stay like in Singapore. It’s time to relook at the entire PR application process and approval criteria.

  2. singapore pr is just valid for 5 years and provides a little flexibility to foreigners. these S and Q pass people do not go and buy flats or in any way cause trouble. without a PR, they will be stuck at a low-paying exploiting dead-end jobs for years. with a PR, they get a little extra money n safety. such people never qualify for citizenship. if u have issues, think about these PRs. they have bigger problems in life. low pay and exploitative conditions and locals who dont want them. simply, an undignified life. but then i guess a lazy slob of a singaporean deserves better than an untalented S-pass holder. ur govt knows better, hence the policy.

  3. why be antagonistic?

    u made good points, but r u sure locals “dont want them”? these PRs are still cheap even after getting PR, and lots of companies still hire them over locals. haven’t you seen the jobs of uncle auntie cleaners being taken over by these low-skilled people?

    for every pitiful non-lazyslob pr, there are many more needy locals who are at the mercy of the elite policymakers’ policies.

    don’t forget PRs still have their home countries to go back to. the poor locals can’t just quit singapore unlike the elites.

    the fact is the FT policy is a boo boo. implementation was terrible. no amount “cooperation” from the media, such as writing about “several hundreds” of foreign-born ns boys, will help undo the problems created.

    i hope singaporeans will vote wisely to give the ruling party and policymakers a signal that there’s A LOT of room for improvement and we demand top quality policies and implementation given that these elite policymakers are making the TOP SALARIES IN THE WORLD. and we want accountability.

  4. the ft policy has only been good at further widening the income gap, exacerbating the woes of this island nation whose Gini coefficient is among the worst in the world.

    the true ft have come to genuinely add value, create jobs and further push up the salaries of locals, but these locals are already at the upper echelons. the high income earners make higher income.

    on the other hand, the low-skilled ft have instead push down the salaries of those at the bottom rung. as mentioned above by why2, one observable example is that our local cleaners have been displaced by cheaper foreigners. if you listen to radio talk shows on 938 and 958, you would have heard the local bosses lamenting about the recent tightening of ft inflows. they prefer to hire the cheap foreign labour.

  5. singaporeans, dont hire cheap foreigners for the sake of singapore. pay a little extra for your citizens.

    i wonder why local bosses dont hire singaporeans when this problem is so severe. dont they care about fellow citizens. often i see elderly people selling tissue paper in food courts and 90% of locals cant spare 2$ for such elderly. same goes
    for cheaper maids instead of singaporean maids. instead of paying a little more to their own citizens, people either want to reduce the inflow of foreigners. or bring them in and let them live in poor conditions, i.e., conditions in which they cant imagine themselves to live but are okay with these cheap fts to live. and when their job is done, kick them out with whatever they have saved. either way, the govt has to take care of this problem since everyone has to optimize their own costs.

  6. the current poll at says “Relentess influx of foreigners into Singapore” is the “single most important issue on the minds of voters in the next general election”.

    this time i think it’s quite hard for the PAP to quickly resolve all the issues created by their controversial ft policy and its bad implementation.

    maybe they’ll give us money again, like those NSS, ERS and GST rebates. they’ll probably do it just before the election, timing it to get the biggest effect.

    they can call it “FTPHA” or Foreign Talent Policy Hardship Allowance. ha!.

  7. They are already addressing the unhappiness. All of a sudden, PRs find themselves paying 3 times more for their children’s school fees. But my question is: Are they admitting they have shortchanged the citizens?

  8. the smart PRs will leave singapore for better places. its the helpless PR who will be stuck in singapore due to a lack of choice. not all such PRs can get citizenship. why should a PR suffer for an inferior citizen who had the opportunity but could do nothing but beg from the government. singapore already is not the most preferred choice for expats, with this hatred, it will become worse.

  9. Disagree.

    PRs, smart or helpless, love Singapore. We have seen countless surveys, polls, reviews and Singapore has always been one of the top city welcomed by expats. It may not be the most preferred but it will continue to be the top few cities.

    Question back to you, why should a hardworking, smart citizen suffers over an inferior, lazy PR due to FT policies.

  10. a smart citizen will never suffer due to a lazy PR.
    he will earn better, have subsidies and can build up on top faster than a PR with similar capability. the truth is in all this discussion, citizens never realize that they may not be good enough sometimes.

    and u r rite. PRs love singapore, its the singaporeans they dont love 🙂 anyways, am glad they are increasing the fees for PRs. now, the long overdue Nobel Prize will finally come.

  11. Right, similiarly, a PR will never suffer due to an “inferior” citizen because our policies ensure almost equal opportunity between the two. Which is a main frustration for citizens because no other country is as expat-friendly. PR should be a happy lot.

    Yeah, sometimes, citizens may not be good enough…. Other times, they just lack the opportunities or see their career taken away by interior PRs, in their own country. I wonder how the PRs will feel if the same happens in their native country.

    Well, citizens are indifferent whether PRs love or hate singaporeans. But PRs should be thankful to the policies…..perhaps PRs ought to pay more significant taxes to show their gratitude to the SG govt.

  12. why should two people pay different taxes for the same job. this is exactly the attitude which will drive the good PRs away, which is true in the case of Singapore.

    if differences need to exist, then laws to protect PRs must be there. like laws to regulate apartment rentals so that they dont fall victims to greed.

    as long as one does the job properly, pays taxes and obeys the laws, no gratitude to SG in needed.

    singaporeans have a head start with good education. in spite of this, if they can be replaced by foreigners, something is wrong with them. they are a liability. in a capitalist society, their lives can not be subsidized. if u think its cheap labor, then realize, that singaporeans or anyone deserves that pay. take it or leave it. its a global economy and u have to take the negatives with the positives.

    often i hear make PRs do NS. i say, make a policy. whoever does NS , can become SG citizen.

  13. I’m not sure why you are questioning the premium when this is the benchmark across other countries. Perhaps you can share your native country’s or other countries policies to attract talent. Undoubtably, there are good PRs that Singapore wants to retain, but flood gates have opened and we see all kinds of PRs.

    Regulate rentals???? I can’t believe this. Can you put up a stronger argument? Both public and private apartments are already out of local’s reach and it’s partly due to the influx of PRs.

    If PRs are complaining about the affordability of rentals, I question their contribution to Singapore as they are probably cheap labour anyway. Like you said, take it or leave it.

    If you have gone through Singapore’s education from start, you would probably understand there are many areas for improvment. Let me position in another way. If the SG education system really meet your expectations, PRs will not have good jobs. Sometimes, the system is the barrier for citizens to get the job opportunities they desire.

    PRs give too much credit to the policies and undermine the citizens. No surprises as system are indeed pro-non-citizens. Locals will know better.

  14. low cost-low tech on

    wow, didnt know singaporeans are liabilities & being subsidized by PRs ???

    with the wayang education fee increases, we better thank PRs for also subsidizing our education, medical, defence, civil order, & many others.

  15. It’s a case of too little too late. Most believe that younger Singaporeans are politically apathetic and the older generations have given up. I don’t know. When you are pushed into a corner and against the wall there’s no other way out but to fight back. I’m eagerly waiting for the next GE to see what happens.

  16. as i said, vote wisely.

    now a minister has come out to apologise for lapses in healthcare planning. i wonder if this means he will take full responsibility, in a step towards more accountability. but this could be an election ploy, a tactic to test the waters to see what tactic works best.

    as one can easily tell, they and the media are together fervently preparing for the next election. yesterday it’s triple the school fees for PR kids, today it’s an apology, tomorrow it will be more goodies.

    don’t be tricked! if they win another easy majority, it gives them a signal that we are ok with what they have delivered. then it will be more foreigners, more upward “adjustment” of ministerial salaries, more GST, more investment losses, more once-in-50-years excuses and perhaps another mas selamat affair with no accountability and a simple too-bad-it-happened-what-to-do explanation.

  17. they raised GST to “help the poor”. don’t spout half truths. 🙂

    “the Government will be able to harness the additional revenue to help the lower-income to the extent that they will be better off than without the GST increase.”

    according to the above theory, the poor must have been better off with the GST increase. so i expect GST will be further raised to further help the poor to be much much better off than they are now.

    maybe GST at 20%?


  18. “the true ft have come to genuinely add value, create jobs and further push up the salaries of locals, but these locals are already at the upper echelons. the high income earners make higher income.”

    this will also push up the ministerial salary benchmark. haha 🙂

    now i understand the ft strategy: get good ft to push up salaries at the top, but also get cheap ft to push down salaries at the bottom so singaporeans will be kept busy and have no time to complain! 🙂

  19. Ok, i agree somewhat with what you say. Actually, there is some merit. Singaporeans should be given priority in certain things like medical, education, etc. But, Singaporeans should treat foreigners with respect and not exploit the poor ones. That will be good.

    I am actually quite privileged and well educated. My wife and I earn well. We have been foreigners as students, workers as PR, and are eligible for citizenship too. I never
    looked at Singapore from money point of view. I simply like the place. Only recently, I started to read Straits Times to learn more about Singapore and I noticed this divide.
    I am glad I did not know about this when I was studying here.

    I hope the govt can do something to make all groups happy. I hope Singapore turns into the utopia I was thinking it was in the last few years.

    Good luck then to all

  20. Likewise, PRs and foreigners should treat Singaporeans with more respect and not just take things for granted because the policy supports this. No matter how privileged or well-educated PRs are, calling Singaporeans “liability” and undermining citizens in SG forums go to show how ignorant and disrespectful some PRs are. Imagine how you will feel in your own native country if your expats express the same attitude towards you.

    Citizens will welcome you and integrate you as part of their lives if you display the right attitude. Things were better in the past when the optimal amount of foriegn talents are here. Everyone was indeed happier. The issue is when we have too many PRs and foreigners in such a short period, the quality declines and things are not in control…

  21. cynic2 and middleclass,

    I considered one of the younger singaporeans, <30. I wished I could vote but it seems it may not happen in my lifetime.

    But at least I can express my views in forums like these. Given the current changes in policies, I'm positive that my views (together with many thousands Singaporeans) are heard by the ministries. We'll see how things change for the better.

  22. isit: i would like to believe that Singaporeans are among the most open and inclusive society as we believe in meritocracy. Personally I have nothing against foreign talents who come to Singapore and contribute. However I have everything against the carelessly open import of cheap labours that is just another excuse of getting slave labors or as you put it yourself – exploiting the poor ones. Actually you should care just as much if you take the long term view and genuinely wants to take up Singaporean citizenship. How would your children end up if the tables are turn? Maybe then you would understand?

  23. isit2: Status quo usually don’t change unless there’s a push factor or until enough people stand up and say enough is enough. Nobody is going to rock the boat other than the people overboard.
    What we have learnt from the past is that there will be cosmetic work to touch up the pig when an election is near after which things just gets continue to stink as badly.
    I’m already planning for my kids’ future. Send them overseas to study and get citizenships. Then maybe they can come back to Singapore and work as FTs. Singapore as it is now is really just a transit hotel and a big business park. Somewhere along the line we have ceased to be a nation when GDP and ruthless efficiency became more important than it’s people.

  24. Over time, the MM says, Singaporeans have become “less hard-driving and hard-striving.” This is why it is a good thing, the MM says, that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants (25 percent of the population is now foreign-born). He is aware that many Singaporeans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants, especially those educated newcomers prepared to fight for higher paying jobs. But taking a typically Darwinian stance, the MM describes the country’s new subjects as “hungry,” with parents who “pushed the children very hard.” If native Singaporeans are falling behind because “the spurs are not stuck into the hide,” that is their problem.


  25. wrong. it’s not 25 percent. it’s actually 36 PERCENT.

    in other words, more than one-third of the people here are foreigners and PRs (both groups are foreign born).

    that means less than two-thirds are true blue singapore citizens.

    facts: 4.99 million population, comprising of 3.20 million citizens, 0.53 million PRs, and 1.25 million non-residents. reference:
    channelnewsasia link

    i hope i don’t see the day when citizens form the minority here.

  26. i remember they were using 6.5M as a “planning parameter”. if citizens remain at 3.2M, it will be just about right to squeeze citizens into the minority! 3.3M foreign-born vs 3.2M citizens. nice!

  27. certainty hope so on

    well, if the immigrants are “hungry” and up for a fight with the locals, that’s good.

    Somehow, I don’t see as many as described by lky. A significant lot are lazy, are here to get as much benefit and then retire in their native land. Lack of quality control, so many sub-par immigrants are crowding here.

  28. having lazy FTs in our midst is not necessary a bad thing. This will make the locals relatively more productive & in demand.

    Can you imagine what will happen if just 1million of the top Chinese or Indians are to arrive in SG to compete for our jobs?

  29. 11 year old GEP student on

    I am a GEP student.
    I am 11 years old.
    I believe that some Singaporeans are naturally more intelligent that some PRs that are in Singapore. As ZYY has said up there, the Government only took about 2-3 months to respond to her request to be a PR.
    If you compare the average Singaporean pay to the average PR pay, the PR pay will be higher.
    A simple reason – Singapore only accepts the more “intelligent” and the more likely to contribute to Singapore’s economy (etc.).
    But if you compare the “lower” half of the PR’s mother country and Singapore’s “lower” half, Singapore will be the one that is more “intelligent”.
    This is just me expressing my opinion.

  30. dear 11 year old GEP student on

    school (gep / not) is really nothing & useless. see pap. how do u know Singapore only accepts the more “intelligent” ? you already say the Government only took about 2-3 months to respond to her request to be a PR. Is Singapore Government intelligent or stupid ? think again.

  31. The government is not stupid. It’s the citizens who are stupid to give them a blank cheque “mandate”. The government merely deliver on the mandate given.

  32. I half suspected it refers to the Gifted Elective Programme. My question is, why identify onself as a GEP student? Does it have a bearing on the post? That said, I must commend the writer for being so well-read and familiar with current issues at such a young age.

  33. Highly doubt GEP = gifted elective programme.
    If he can get into GEP with that level of grammar, the government is truly stupid.

  34. target is 6.5million. always remember. our excellent leaders aren’t afraid of pushing ahead with tough policies that are beneficial in the long run.

  35. 6.5 million is good for the country. btw, UK recently said their 2 million increase in population over a decade is too much and has created problems in their society. goodness, I think it’s because they have incompetent government who are paid too little. they should learn from us. I’m sure our manpower and home affairs (in charge of immigration) ministers can help them better plan their immigration policies. UK is such a big country with 60 million people and they can’t even attract the right talent to run their country. what a letdown, considering they were once our colonial masters.

  36. To def

    you truly speak like colonial minions that so richly deserve to be despised & trampled on.

    yes, let’s see how our most competent & highly paid Singapore Government has sort out all the problems created with the 2 million increase in the last few years & Singapore can go on to have the 6.5 million population.

  37. UK has 60 million people and they can’t cope with a 2 million increase (a mere 3% increase). What makes you think SG can cope with a 50-60% increase? You mean being highest paid in the world guarantees the impossible can be done? Look the track record of how many miracles they have performed after being paid so much. You pay peanuts you get monkeys, you pay millions what do you get?

  38. “You pay peanuts you get monkeys, you pay millions what do you get?”

    Hmmm, millions of monkeys? LOL

    Since peanuts = very few S$, and monkeys = very/relatively few monkeys; so, millions of peanuts should get us millions of monkeys, I think! LOL

    But in Singapore’s case, those millions of “monkeys” are the millions (or at least 2 or 3 million) of Singapore citizens who gave its government the power to pay its Ministers millions of S$ every year!

    Maybe that was not why the PAP was voted into power, but the PAP was voted into power anyway, and has been voted into power for the past half-century; so since they’re so powerful, obviously there’s nothing that these millions of “monkeys” can do to stop its Ministers from being paid millions of S$ every year!

    This is just simple cause and effect, isn’t it? LOL

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