Monday, July 9, 2012

Good conduct condition to be set for PRs

A good conduct condition will be introduced for Singapore permanent residents if the proposed amendments to the Immigration Act (IA) are approved.

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill was introduced for First Reading at the Parliamentary Sitting today.

Four key amendments to the IA were proposed to help strengthen Singapore's border security as well as facilitate the legal entry of bona fide foreigners into Singapore while keeping out undesirable persons, goods and conveyances.

The first amendment proposes to criminalise marriages of convenience by any person in order to obtain an immigration facility (e.g. entry visa, permanent residency, long-term pass, etc). The amended provision will also include criminal syndicates and middlemen who facilitate or stand to gain from such illicit practices. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.

The manufacture, trafficking, and possession of paraphernalia for immigration forgeries will also be criminalised. The proposed amendment will come with a presumption clause that would assume that any person found in possession of the forgery paraphernalia has the intent to commit forgery, unless proven otherwise. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding $8,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.

The third proposed amendment will allow immigration authorities to receive advance information about passengers or crew arriving in Singapore. This proposed amendment will tighten the Immigrations & Checkpoint Authority's (ICA) checkpoint security measures by empowering ICA to collect passenger/crew information on inbound persons prior to arrival. Many other countries have already implemented a system of advance passenger information for security risk management purposes.

Meanwhile the last amendment allows ICA to cancel the Re-entry Permit (REP) issued to a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) if he contravenes any law or is involved in any activity which threatens a breach of peace or is prejudicial to public order. He will lose his PR status if he travels out of Singapore or remains outside Singapore without a valid REP.

This proposed amendment will also enable ICA to impose, vary, or set additional conditions for the validity of the REP.

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