Singapore city skyline
The design has also brought in at least S$5.5 billion in investments and created more than 24,000 jobs. Image Credit: Pixabay

Singapore: Singapore is increasing the threshold for global investors seeking permanent-resident status in an attempt to create more jobs and benefit locals due to an influx of wealth.

Applicants will need at least S$10 million ($7.4 million) in a business or S$25 million in an approved fund, the Singapore Economic Development Board said in a statement Thursday. For those establishing family offices, at least S$50 million must be deployed and maintained in four government-designated investment categories.

That compares with a previous requirement of a S$2.5 million investment in a business entity, fund or Singapore-based single family office. The changes take effect from March 15.

Singapore is tackling a perceived growing wealth gap brought on in part by the arrival of rich families from overseas. The country’s infrastructure and stability has attracted a growing number of ultra-wealthy individuals, contributing to a spike in costs for everything from luxury cars to golf club memberships and condominiums.

The government is fine-tuning its policies by encouraging more local jobs and investment in the city-state’s stock exchange and funds. It announced a tax hike on higher-value property and luxury cars in February.

The investment program refinement will “encourage the growth of businesses and capital accumulated in Singapore,” Desmond Teo, EY Asean private tax leader said in a statement, adding that two winners will be the country’s asset management industry and companies that will receive funding.

Luring talent

The Global Investor Programme was introduced in 2004 to attract the world’s wealthiest people and provides a route to permanent residency.

About 200 permanent residencies were granted from 2020 to 2022. The design has also brought in at least S$5.5 billion in investments and created more than 24,000 jobs. About S$1.62 billion was injected into approved funds, of which 57 per cent was invested in Singapore-based companies.

The city-state was expected to get around 2,800 high-net-worth individuals in 2022 alone, according to residence and citizenship planning provider Henley & Partners. The firm estimates that 249,800 residents there have a net worth of at least $1 million, making it the world’s fifth wealthiest city.