I used to be a Singapore permanent resident, but lost my Singapore permanent residency while living in another country. What is the likelihood of getting my permanent residency back if I go back to work in Singapore one day? Will my re-application for permanent residency be treated as a new application?
There are two different cases to consider:
1) If you left Singapore and let your Re-Entry Permit (REP) expire, but did not formally renounce your PR, you can return to Singapore as a tourist and attempt to "reinstate" your PR:
- A SPR will lose his/her PR status if he/she travels out of Singapore or remains outside Singapore without a valid REP. On his/her return to Singapore, he/she may report to the Permanent Resident Services Centre, ICA, to apply for reinstatement of the SPR status. If the reinstatement is approved, an administrative fee of S$50 will be levied.
This is a rather mysterious, little-used process and the criteria for approval are unclear. Anecdotally, it seems to be possible if your PR was expired only for a brief period (under 1 year) or if you had a very strong reason (eg. medical treatment) to be away from Singapore.
2) However, if you have actively renounced your Singapore PR once (for example, to withdraw your CPF or avoid military service), it's back to square one, you need to start with applying for EPs and go from there. Should you get PR someday, you'll also be required to repay any CPF you've taken out, with interest!
In the second case, as for what impact this has on a future PR application, only the ICA knows and they're not telling. However, if you're a second-generation PR and you renounce before completing your national service, it's well-known that you're doomed. Quoting Defense Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen:
Better don’t take up the PR if your children are not going to do NS. It’s as simple as that. In our system if you don’t fulfil your NS liabilities, even if you choose to give up your PR, there are harsh penalties. I have received many letters from families that are separated and they cannot come back to Singapore.
But for first-generation PRs with no NS obligations, I'd presume it's neither a plus nor a minus, you'll just be in line with everybody else. And as you've probably heard, they've seriously ratcheted up the bar recently -- a week or so, a friend of mine who works in IT, has been in Singapore for 4 years on a P1 EP and is Caucasian (yes, this matters) had his PR application rejected, with no explanation.
According to the Immigration authority you need a Re-Entry Permit (REP) to retain your permanent residency status when leaving the country, and this permit needs to be renewed periodically. If you don't do that you lose your permanent residency status and have to apply for a completely new one. The immigration office might consider that you were an SPR before, but you still need to be eligible for the SPR again.
If you have surrendered your PR and witdrew your CPF, then you have to return it full amount plus the interest for the whole period you are away from Singapore. Afterwhich the CPF will give you a white paper to be included in your PR appliccation. However you still need to submit all the document as required for general PR application.