SINGAPORE: The government has said it is prepared to consider the suggestion by several MPs of giving Singaporeans a role in evaluating applications for Permanent Residency and Citizenship.
Several Members of Parliament had floated the idea during the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister's Office.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also addressed suggestions of having Singaporeans vouch for or support a person's application or consider factors such as being able to speak English or being involved in the community.
He said the government will study them and is open to other ideas, to fine-tune its framework.
Parliament has passed the Budget for the Prime Minister's Office
New citizens, Permanent Residents and integration were some of the issues raised during the debate on the budget allocations for the Prime Minister's Office.
Some MPs said there could be some meaningful roles for the community in the naturalisation of citizens.
MP for Jurong GRC Ang Wei Neng suggested that PRs be required to obtain some form of community endorsement, before clinching the Singapore Citizenship that they want.
Mr Ang said: "We could consider requiring applicants for Singapore Citizenship, after satisfying the current eligibility criteria, to further obtain endorsements from the community. This could be in the form of obtaining endorsements from 10 Singaporean "community assentors" who are the applicant's acquaintances in the workplace and in the neighbourhood.
"For the "assentors" scheme to work, we need some rules, guidelines and safeguards to ensure impartiality, fairness and to preempt undesirable implications such as bribery, malpractices."
Describing the proposal as an interesting one, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu said the government will consider it.
Ms Fu said: "Ultimately, effective and sustainable integration can only be achieved when sincere relationships are forged between new immigrants and Singaporeans. The numerous opportunities in our daily lives to cultivate and nurture these relationships are therefore the most crucial element in the integration process.
"We therefore seek the support and participation of everyone, both Singaporeans and new immigrants, so that we can maintain the cohesion in our diverse society and safeguard our values and norms."
Singaporeans were also assured that the Long Term Visit Pass Plus in no way disadvantages a foreign spouse's application for Permanent Residence or Singapore citizenship.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "A foreign spouse will be eligible to be considered for LTVP+ if the married couple has at least one Singaporean child from their marriage. For those without a Singaporean child, we will look at other factors such as the duration of marriage. A marriage of at least three years will be considered more favourably. Each application will be considered on its own merits."
But Singapore's not prepared to allow dual citizenships as the government explained that it's important for Singaporeans to have a long-term commitment to building a future together here and having a second citizenship is unlikely to enhance that commitment but could dilute it.