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The Open “Quota System” Secret that Affects PR Application Success Rates

One of the biggest questions that have plagued applicants in their quest for a Singapore PR is the reason behind ICA’s rejection of their application.

At the onset, their application is the “model answer” of applications yet months after submitting, there was no response or reply from ICA.

Was ICA waiting for additional information from the applicant?

Should the applicant show “eagerness” by calling or emailing in to check on the progress?

Before we review this type of case, there are a couple of things to consider as while every application is different, the core objective always remains the same – Singapore’s Growth & Continuity!

First, Understand the Basic Immigration Policy Parameters

Let’s start by looking at the basic parameters any interested applicant applying for PR must fulfil.


The official retirement age in Singapore is 65 years old. This means that if an applicant is close to this age, the length of time the applicant can effectively contribute to the nations’ economy or society becomes significantly shorter. Applicants would therefore need to show how their years of knowledge and experience can benefit the country.

Number of Years in Singapore

How long does it take an applicant to become familiar with the country’s culture and community? Ideally, an applicant should have worked and stayed in the country for at least two years or more as it shows that they have started to integrate with the local community.


With manpower as the only resource the nation has, the education level of the candidate becomes important. While there are debates about academic qualification, the fact remains that it is still the most viable way to determine a person’s knowledge and skill set.

Occupation & Pass Type

There are several key industries that drive Singapore’s economy. As such, the nature of a candidate’s occupation and pass type may be a factor that influences the nation’s approval decision.

Economic Contribution

While a higher salary or income level seems like a logical factor for any approval, there are other factors at play when it comes to economic contribution. The future potential earning serves as one and the spending power within Singapore is another area of consideration.

Familial Ties

Keeping a family close and expanding a multiracial society is one of the goals of the Singapore government. Hence, a candidate with existing Singapore citizens or PR family members and relatives stand a better chance of getting approved.

Social Integration

As mentioned previously, the continuity of Singapore is important. That means any successful applicant should be a person that integrates well with society and further contributes to its growth.


Given their rarity, awards, commendations and recognition are accolades that will almost always help improve an applicant’s approval chances.

Unique Skills or Talents

Finally, an applicant’s unique skills and talent, whether personal or professional, might give an edge, particularly, if it helps build the local community or bring international recognition to Singapore.

The Ethnic Integration Policy & SPR Quota

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a Singapore PR, on top of having the chance to become a citizen, is the eligibility to buy an HDB. Granted, there are certain criteria in place but it is a step closer to receiving the same rights as a natural-born citizen.

These rights and quotas do provide an “insight” into the PR approval policies which are hardly discussed openly.

The SPE quota was designed to help SPR families better integrate with the local community. However, there is a cap of 5% quota within a neighbourhood and an 8% cap within each block. Do note that this quota is only for non-Malaysian PRs.

At the same time, the Ethnic Integration Policy has shaped many of the country’s national policies. The goal is to encourage racial and social harmony.

However, as a PR applicant, this also means that there is a racial quota that has a high possibility of affecting approvals.

The country’s demographic makes up 76.2% ethnic Chinese, 15.0% Malays, 7.4% ethnic Indians and the remaining are categorised as Others.

This means new PRs to the country should not influence a major change to the racial diversity as such, having a strong profile but not exceeding the racial quota could lead to a delay in approval. In such situations, it is best to wait patiently than to constantly flood ICA’s approval department with follow-ups.

To find out whether you have a strong profile, do arrange to speak with our team of consultants who will be happy to advise and assist you.

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