Will my PR son need to serve National Service?

For Permanent Resident (PR) holders with families living in Singapore, you may choose to apply PR for your spouse and children under the age of 21 too. However, if you have a son under 21, you should be informed that he will be required to serve up to two years of national service (NS) as a second-generation PR. This requirement may seem mind-boggling to some, as most countries worldwide with compulsory military service only require male citizens to serve and not Permanent Residences. The main reason behind this requirement is Singapore’s small population size and the need to have sufficient defence in the country. Serving NS in Singapore will also build a much closer relationship with the country and other local Singaporeans.

What is NS?

NS stands for national service which every male citizen and PR in Singapore has to go through, unless exempted. Eligible males will be employed to serve in either Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) or the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Most of the enlistees will join SAF, with the remaining joining the other forces. After completing around 2 years of service as a Full-time National Servicemen (NSF), they will become official national servicemen (NSmen).

Although spending two years in NS may seem like an unproductive two years of time for some, there are many benefits to serving NS. NSFs enjoy a wide range of benefits including; monthly allowances, annual leaves, amazing medical and dental benefits, great insurance coverage and a variety of discounts at recreational facilities across Singapore. Depending on the rank, the NS allowance of one can range up to SGD 1280 a month, and this is not yet inclusive of the additional monthly vocation allowances of up to SGD 400 one can receive. This allowance will likely continue to increase over the years as the government policies are constantly reviewed and renewed. Medical fees for outpatient treatment are also fully subsidised at public hospitals and polyclinics, and dental treatment is completely free at SAF Dental Clinics. The list of benefits goes on and NSFs should remember to utilise it well, as one can save quite a bit of money from that. Besides the financial and health benefits NSFs can enjoy, NS also provides an excellent platform for young adults to gain invaluable experiences that are not taught in classrooms. These lessons include office politics, teamwork, leadership, discipline, respect for others regardless of race, religion and social status, and countless more essential life-skills. Therefore, dreading the need to serve NS should not be a hindrance to applying for PR for your son, should your family wish to do so.

When would my son need to be conscripted?

When male citizens and PRs turn 13, they will be liable to serve NS regardless of where they are in the world. Depending on the education pathway chosen, the age of enlistment will also differ. Generally, male citizens and PRs will be required to enlist and serve NS once they turn 18 although this may differ slightly by a few years depending on when one completes their A-Levels, Polytechnic courses or other respective courses. One may also choose to enlist early at age 16.5 under the Voluntary Early Enlistment Scheme (VEES). After becoming a NSman, one will have to be prepared to be called back to serve until the age of 40 or 50 for Officers and those with special skills (salary will be compensated based on civilian pay).

What if my son choose not to serve?

The penalty of not serving NS includes a fine of up to SGD 10 000 or/and imprisonment of up to 3 years. Defaulters will still be require to serve NS up till the age of 40 and will get a lighter punishment compared to those who default completely.

Still not interested in serving?

If your son is not interested in staying in Singapore for the long term and will only be visiting in the future for leisure, you may simply renounce his PR status before the age of 16.5. However, if your son is still interested in acquiring a PR to work and stay in Singapore in the future, you may choose not to sponsor your son in acquiring a PR for the time being, and instead, allow your son to apply for PR on his own after the age of 21. By acquiring PR on his own, he will be considered a first generation PR and will not be required to serve NS. However, this would also mean that he will be losing out on the benefits of applying with a sponsor, and will also not be able to enjoy the benefits of being a PR until he successfully applies for PR on his own as the main candidate.

What are the choices I can make for my son?

The answer to this question really depends on you and your family’s opinion on NS. While NS may halt the studies and work life of one for two years, the benefits it can bring as mentioned earlier are also endless. Therefore, if your family plans to stay in Singapore permanently, applying for PR together with the family at a young age is a great choice for your son. For those who still choose to renounce their PR status to avoid NS, they should note that this will significantly lower the possibility of immigrating to Singapore in the future too.

Interested in applying for PR for your family still? Head over to our website www.xignam.com to find out more, and contact us today!

– Written by: Fang Wenting, Cayman Management Consultants

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