19 February 2018

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02/10/2018 SINGAPORE

Marriages of convenience up by 23.3 per cent in 2017

Last year, 53 people were convicted in connection with marriages of convenience. Singapore’s constitution severely restricts access to citizenship. The city-state’s passport is the most powerful in the world. For the first time, an Asian country outranks European nations.

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The rising number of marriages of convenience is starting to worry Singapore authorities.

Fifty-three people were convicted of offences related to marriages of convenience in 2017 – a 23.3 per cent spike from the year before, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in its annual statistics report.

One particular case last year takes centre stage in the report because it led to the arrest of 12 people. More specifically, when officers looked at a suspected sham marriage between a Singaporean man and his Vietnamese wife, they found five other such couples.

These couples all involved Singaporean men and Vietnamese women. The men, aged between 24 and 57, entered into marriage for money, whilst the women, aged between 23 and 34, wanted to prolong their stay in Singapore.

Ten were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six to 18 months, whilst court proceedings are ongoing for the remaining two.

Singapore’s constitution severely restricts access to citizenship by foreigners, and naturalisation is not guaranteed.

Immigrants aged 21 and over who are gainfully employed can only become citizens if they are already "Permanent Residents" or have been married to a Singaporean citizen for at least two years.

Obtaining citizenship allows people to apply for a Singapore passport, now deemed "the most powerful” in the world. It guarantees visa-free access to 159 countries.

Last year, diplomatic agreements with Paraguay enshrined Singapore’s rise, the first Asian country in history to outrank European countries.

See also

10/07/2012 SINGAPORE
Foreign workers face tighter rules in Singapore
New immigration rules come into effect on 1 September, affecting family reunification. Harsher penalties will be imposed for marriages contracted to obtain immigration privileges.

30/03/2015 NEPAL
Nepal on alert for Indian terrorists travelling in Europe with fake passport
An investigation by Nepali and Indian police identified four Indian terrorists who used fake Nepali passports to travel for at least six years. The men were able to get into the Nepal illegally and bribe local officials. The government announced that corrupt officials would be properly punished. For a former Nepali Interior minister, “the terrorists take advantage of the country’s political instability, poverty and rampant corruption."

18/08/2011 SINGAPORE
Prime Minister of Singapore: "black clouds" on the economic front
In his speech to the party of independence, Lee Hsien Loong said that the city-state has been able to cope with "well" the crisis. But the future remains uncertain and the "unresolved problems" of Europe and the United States could undermine global growth. On the domestic front the subject of immigrants and an increase in inequality between citizens remains.

18/02/2013 SINGAPORE
Singapore, thousands protest against government immigration policies
The government wants to open its doors to foreigners, to overcome the city-state’s demographic crisis. At least 3 thousand people defy authorities, ready to suppress the demonstrations, and hold public protest. For local political experts - after 50 years - the leadership of the ruling party is at risk.

14/11/2008 SINGAPORE
In Singapore, the Church aids integration of immigrants
The archdiocese is organizing projects for assimilation, and educational courses for immigrants. These include computers, dressmaking, hairdressing, in addition to English courses.

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