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Singapore Parliament

On Wednesday (Oct 8), ministers gave replies to MPs' questions on HDB's upgrading programmes & reverse mortgages, transport concessionary fares, Early Turnover Scheme, and technology use at bus stops. The House also debated and passed several Bills, including the Companies (Amendment) Bill.

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More than 20,000 Singapore Citizenship applications approved in 2012

20,693 Singapore Citizenship applications were approved last year. Of them, 81 per cent of the applicants granted with citizenship had stayed in Singapore for more than five years.

SINGAPORE: 20,693 Singapore Citizenship applications were approved last year.

Of them, 81 per cent of the applicants granted with citizenship had stayed in Singapore for more than five years.

Fifty-two per cent of successful applicants had stayed in Singapore for more than 10 years.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Grace Fu, provided these numbers in Parliament on Monday.

Ms Fu also revealed that between 2008 and 2012, an average of 4,100 new Permanent Residents and a similar number of new Singapore Citizens each year were foreign spouses sponsored by Singaporeans.

Of these, 82 per cent of Permanent Residents and 92 per cent of new Singapore Citizens were females.

Members of Parliament questioned whether the government has a discerning criteria in citizenship approval.

To which Ms Fu replied criteria is not based on a single but a whole set of criteria used to evaluate citizenship applications.

She said this set of criteria is reviewed from time to time, in ensuring the set meets the country's immigration needs.

Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, Baey Yam Keng, pointed out that slightly more than half of applicants were not successful in applying for permanent residency or citizenship for their foreign spouses. Mr Baey asked what does the government has in plan for these Singaporeans and their spouses.

Ms Fu replied: "If they show that actually the Singaporean citizen's spouse has the ability to support the family, marriage is stable, family is intact, over time, their chances of getting a PR, and thereafter an Singapore Citizenship, is better than those without family and without children.

"In the interim, we have the Long Term Social Visit Pass, Long Term Visit Pass Plus, which allows them to seek employment, and also be entitled to some of the medical expenses just as a PR would so it is a good way to tie over the period, work on their income, work on their marriage, keep the family intact, and then they would be in a very good position.

"This is really to satisfy the issue raised by member Lily Neo, that they are not a strain on society, and that they come in settling down, spending some time understanding our local culture, understanding our language as well."

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