Singapore Global Investor Program Review
Can you see yourself living and working in the Southeast Asian economic powerhouse that is Singapore? Do you think you have what it takes to cut it in a country whose pace of life puts even Hong Kong to shame? Could you run a business in a country geared up for just that? If you think you could, Singapore’s Global Investor Program might just be for you. Passport Reviewer checked it out.
Singapore In Nutshell
The Republic of Singapore is an independent sovereign city-state situated in Southeast Asia. Singapore is an island nation – both a city and a country – and is located just off the southern tip of Malaysia, and is globally unique in being the world’s only island city-state. Due to extensive land reclamation in recent decades, Singapore has increased its total size by around 23% to its current 719.1 km2, which is the surface area of the main diamond-shaped island plus 62 tiny islets, many of which are uninhabited. More than 5.5 million people live on Singapore’s main island, making it the third most densely populated location on the planet.
Singapore and Malaysia were granted independence from Great Britain in 1959, although both chose to remain part of the British Commonwealth. In 1963 Singapore and Malaysia attempted to join together as one nation for cultural and economic purposes, but the venture would prove to be short-lived, and in 1965 Singapore chose to become completely independent.
At this time, having in the space of four years left the security of Britain and then Malaysia, many Singaporeans feared for their future, after all they were a tiny country in a highly competitive area of the world, surrounded by much larger economies like India, China, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia as well as Malaysia.
However such fears proved ungrounded; the country became a vital and vibrant trading hub for all of those nations, and Singapore soon enjoyed a level of rapid economic growth like few countries have experienced. By the 1990s, Singapore had become an NIC (Newly Industrialized Country) and its citizens were enjoying one of the highest standards of living, education and healthcare in the Far East, which they continue to experience to this day.
Singapore has a highly developed free-trade market economy based around it being one of the four major trading posts of Southeast Asia, along with Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. These four nations are historically known as the “Four Asian Tigers” of trade, although in terms of GDP per capita, Singapore now outstrips the other three by some distance.
Tourism is also a major contributor to the economy in Singapore. The country attracts more than 15 million international tourists each year – almost three times its population – making it per-capita one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Among the reasons visitors come to Singapore for include high-end shopping, holidaying on the various island resorts, to visit the cultural and historical landmarks as well as the zoo and nature parks, and also experience the luxurious yet relatively economical hotels and restaurants on the island.
- Official Languages: English, Malay, Standard Mandarin, Tamil
- Capital City: Singapore (City-State)
- Surface Area: 719.1 km2
- Religion: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam
- Population: 5.61 million
- Government: Unitary dominant-party parliamentary republic
- Legal system: Based on English common law
- Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD)
- GDP per capita: $82,762
- Climate: Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature (ranging from from 22 to 35 °C (72 to 95 °F), high humidity, and abundant rainfall
Singapore Global Investor Program
Foreign business people interested in investing in Singapore or starting a business there can apply for permanent residence via the Singapore Global Investor Program (GIP).
These are the two available investment options:
- An investor must place at least SGD $2.5 million (US$ 1.75 million) in a new business or to take over and improve an existing business, (or)
- An investor must place at least SGD $2.5 million (US$ 1.75 million) into an approved government fund, which is set aside to invest in Singapore’s business infrastructure
Aside from the required capital, to be eligible for the Singapore GIP, investors must also provide the following:
- Authorized proof of a proven and successful track record as a business entrepreneur
- Authorized documentation of their previous three years in business
- Produce a detailed business plan for their first five years in Singapore
Benefits Of the Singapore Global Investor Program
The benefits of residency in Singapore are multiple, here are just a handful:
- Wealth – Singapore is an economic powerhouse, holding residency and running a business there is a virtual guarantee of increased prosperity
- Family – Investors can include their spouse and their children (aged under-21) on their GIP application
- Living Standard – Singapore tops the HDI (Human Development Index) rankings for Asia and comes a respectable 11th globally, ahead of Sweden, France, Japan and the UK
- Renewable Residency – Once acquired, Singapore residency is easily renewable every five years
- Healthcare – Singapore ranks 6th globally on the World Health Organization rankings, behind only France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra and Malta
- Education – Singapore is fourth on the World Education Rankings, behind only South Korea, Finland and Hong Kong
- Freedom of Movement – The Singapore residency permit allows its owner open travel in and out of Singapore
- Singapore Citizenship – After two years of residency, an investor can apply for full Singapore citizenship and its passport
- Singapore Passport Power – the Singapore passport ranks fifth in the world and has visa-free access to 173 countries. Global areas a Singapore passport holder can access without the need of a visa include all of Western Europe, North and South America, Central America and the Caribbean, large areas of Asia including China and much of Africa
Pros and Cons of Living in Singapore
Despite its relatively small size, accommodation is plentiful in Singapore, and complexes normally come complete with pools, gymnasiums and children’s playgrounds. The traffic on the island is dense and owning a car can be a negative thing, but luckily public transport in Singapore is fantastic.
Thanks to the harsh penalties for crime, there is very little crime on the island and Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. Because the vast majority of people are successful and making money, there is a tremendous positive vibe, and both native Singaporeans and foreigners tend to be happy and friendly.
Healthcare, education and the general standard of living in Singapore is extremely high.
The pace of life in Singapore is frenetic, and it is a very capitalistic, materialistic society which is not for everybody. While it might be a dream come true for you, your spouse or family members may soon grow weary of it. The weather is very hot and humid, 24 hours a day, 12 months of the year.
You will need to behave yourself when you are in Singapore because the punishment for even petty crimes are extremely harsh compared to Western standards!
Passport Reviewer ranking: A
It stands to reason that one of the most incredibly economically successful nations in the world would only want business investors capable of adding to that success for their Global Investor Program. Indeed, unlike many EU and Caribbean CBI programs that have no formal interview and do not ask for an applicant’s business history or entrepreneurial skills, the Singapore Global Investor Program wants proof of exactly that, and then some.
You may have the necessary capital to be able to open a business there or even take over an existing company, but the Singapore government wants to know that you will make it a great success. However, if you can prove that you have been a success in business in the past, you impress them with your new business plan and you have the necessary capital, not only can you become a resident of one of the most intense, exciting and prosperous places on earth, within a couple of years you can claim their citizenship as well, all the while increasing your personal wealth and fortune!