While proof of actions you do like social integration is definitely something that the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority, ICA of Singapore looks at when approving your Singapore PR application process, I also agree that it is not the only factor that ICA looks at. However, it is becoming an increasingly popular factor, so if you are also a fellow expat and looking at applying and becoming a permanent resident in SG, this is something that you need to pay attention to.
First of all, what is social integration? It is basically the process of an immigrant to a country, Singapore in our case, adopting the mannerisms, conventions and rules of interpersonal interactions which is largely native to Singaporeans, and may or may not be largely different form the country you come from. If you came from a South East Asia city or country, then it probably is more similar. However, if you are like me and from another part of the world such as Italy, then you may find the local mannerisms very different initially. Obviously, I like it and all, that is why I decided to stay on here as a permanent resident. However, I agree that it is vastly different from that of Italy.
Second of all, just because you did the above processes and actions, it does not mean that ICA will recognize it – because they rely on proof! After all, it is not like the person in charge of your PR status approval is your best friend or buddy. He’s probably a random person you will never meet in your life. So the key is to demonstrate that you have done this social integration thing to ICA when you are applying. However, it can be difficult to show that you picked up the mannerisms and mindset of a typical Singaporean. You cannot possibly want to type a Singlish letter to the ICA for approval. This brings us to my next point…
Thirdly, if you want to prove that you have integrated into the social fabric, you need to provide hard proof. If you have done one or more of the following, try to show it off to the relevant persons:
- Active participation in Singapore’s community centre events
- Having studied locally in Singapore (obviously this does not apply if you are already an adult)
- Joined local charity events
Unfortunately, one of the biggest factors that can demonstrate this is something that you cannot shortcut on – length of residence in Singapore. The longer you have stayed and worked in Singapore under valid VISAs, the better your chances.