10 year visa for PRC: ICA and STB should be more sensitive

Firstly, it doesn’t mean that all PRC travellers will be allowed to stay 10 years each time they come in.

The Singapore visa is not an immigration pass. It is merely a pre-entry permission. It doesn’t mean they’ll be allowed to stay here for 10 years.

The period of stay granted is shown on the visit pass endorsement on the passport and it is not tied to the validity of your visa. Even if one is granted 5 or 10 years, the period of stay on each visit still needs to be endorsed on the visit pass.

The period of stay is discretionary and is usually 30 days.

So this is not much different from the current system. It just saves the hassle of repeated visa applications for serious (civilised?) travellers on business visits and reduce the inertia of those who want to visit Singapore again in a few years (that is if they even want to travel here again).

You could also say that all they need to do to get an extension of that visit pass, is to hop over to Johore Bahru to do some shopping, hop back again…and *poof* the visa is automatically extended!

Well, they can do that – but it will be at their risk. Immigration officials around the world know of this trick and they have (and will) reject you at the border.

Politically however, this 10 year validity thing is not so palatable.

It is not that we’re being intentionally nationalistic, but look at the documented, destructive behaviours. I don’t need to go into the details, i’m pretty sure a quick search on Google will reveal many stories.

sg-fight

Even Beijing doesn’t trust their own citizens! The capital had published a “guideline” on how to behave. They’ve been known for spitting, littering, cutting queues and defacing historic treasures. “Being a civilized tourist is the obligation of each citizen,” according to the government post, which lays out a long list of guidelines issued by the National Tourism Administration.

So when ICA decides to execute this policy (so close to election time no less), we wonder why. Sure, there still needs to be a visit pass attached to the visa, but try telling the coffeeshop uncle that. I’ve spoken with friends and family and all of them think that the PRCs will now be able to live here for 10 years.

In the language of the internet, this is a fail ICA.

We need to consider very hard what policies like these do to Singapore and Singaporeans. Politicians and policy makers seem to have dismissed the criticisms to policies and they should becareful when doing so, especially when these are concerns regarding the influx of foreigners into our society. Especially those who lack social graces, and totally disregard local sensitivities.

This is not about xenophobia. This is more about appreciating the common desire to make Singapore our home, a place we would die defending.

Yes, our grandparents were migrants also… but when they came, there was no Singapore then.

There is now and we should be careful not to let her go.

 

 

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Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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