Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a follow up to my last post, a retort to Goh Chock Tong's lament on the exodus of the talented out of Singapore, as an California lawyer specializing in immigration, these are the avenues for those wanting to move to USA.
As Goh Chock Tong seemed particularly depressed in his photo in the on line edition of Straits Times in the article, June 28, 2009 "Strong Wings Deep Roots. SM Goh urges schools to retain their emotional bonds to Singapore" over the huge and growing brain drain of Singapore students to overseas countries, I thought I should write this article to help those who wish to leave for America. It is a good thing for capable Singaporeans to leave Singapore. It is a dictatorship which denies you even the basic human rights. And by leaving, you help weaken this dictatorship even further. When you go abroad with your family and children, support and help the Singapore political opposition in any way you can from where you are. Do your part to topple this dictatorial one party state for a new beginning for Singapore. Please remember that by leaving, you are helping to bring down this dictatorship in a big way.
American immigration unlike Canada or Australia is not based on the point system where an applicant is selected based on his qualities such as education and given the green light to move there. Here, the person qualifies based on family relationship; based on a job offer from a particular employer; he is admitted as a refugee fleeing from persecution; or through what is known as a annual lottery. The following is a brief explanation of each category.
1. The easiest way to immigrate is the annual lottery, but as the name suggests, there is no guarantee that anyone will get it. The lottery opens each year around September or October (please check the dates) for about a month. The thinking behind this method of getting a Green Card (permanent residence) is to permit those from countries which do not have sufficient immigrants in the US to come here. The correct designation of this visa is the Diversity Visa. Nationals of Canada, the UK, India, China, Mexico and the Philippines are ineligible as there are sufficient immigrants here. Nationals of the rest of the world are eligible. The qualification is only that you have at least "O" Levels (for Singapore). The chances of getting it is pretty good since Singapore is a small country and the region itself stands a good chance. The application process is very simple, merely filling up a form which can be downloaded. Please check the US Government websites such as that of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US State Department. If you need my help, send me an Email.
2. If you have a husband/wife who is a US citizen; if you are under 21 and have a US Citizen parent; if your son is a US citizen, you can immigrate immediately.
3. Other categories that take a longer time to immigrate: husband/wife of green card holder; married son/daughter of American citizen; unmarried child, any age, of Green card holder; married son/daughter of US citizen and lastly brother/sister of US citizen.
4. You can go as a student and upon graduation, get a job as a non immigrant professional (H1B Visa) and then get your employer to file a green card for you. Caveat, it is getting harder to get these cases approved with the recession but nevertheless obtainable. Only thing is the Immigration Service is asking far more questions than they did before.
5. Anyone who has been persecuted for his political opinion etc can obtain refugee status. It is easier to enter the US as a visitor and then apply here than to make the application at the US Embassy Singapore.
6. With the US Singapore Free Trade Agreement, anyone investing a reasonable sum in a business here can enter the US as a trader/investor. The amount is not fixed but based on common sense. The most common route is for candidates to buy a franchise eg. Subway sandwiches, Postal Annexe, which requires very little investment eg $50,000.00. The applicants and his family can move here. The spouse of the principle applicant can work anywhere but the applicant is restricted to the business. The dependant children are entitled to go to public schools and treated as local students. Caveat, this is not an immigrant visa and does not lead to a green Card, but the duration is indefinite. As will be explained below, if the applicant later has savings of $500,000.00 it can be converted to a Green card.
7. Green card through Investment. If you have $500,000.00 to invest, free, and not encumbered, you can get a Green Card without any effort. There is the same sort of investor visa for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
There are many other variations of the above but these are the principle means of moving to the US. Remember the clear distinction between non immigrant visas and immigrant visas. The 2 don't meet except for Treaty Trader/ Investor, and non immigrant professionals.
There are the other possibilities for Australia Canada and New Zealand, all English speaking countries based on the British model, all countries where your children can aspire to be anything they want, their full potential realized. They will grow up independent robust young men and women with courage, conviction and strong personal ideals. They will not turn out like the frightened Singapore children lacking confidence or a purpose in life. Although it may seem insignificant, milk is drunk in good qualities here and readily available and cheap, which means they will be strong with strong bones and good teeth; not like the weaklings in Singapore both bodily and in spirit.
And they very likely would turn out with some burning passion to change the world. They may turn out wanting to restore the rights of the Palestinians, they might want to help those in Dafur against the aggression of Sudan, they might want to join
Greenpeace and sail out in small boats in the Pacific to disrupt Japanese whaling vessels, they might climb and tie themselves to trees to save them being felled by loggers to save the endangered spotted owl.
Or they might even turn out like Gopalan Nair and write a blog, among other activities planned, in his effort to bring down the Singapore dictatorship, in collaboration with his freedom loving friends in the island. They might even criticize a judge in Singapore and get arrested and thrown in jail!
I think they are all good things that your children might want, which they will never pursue as frightened children living in fear of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore island. Whatever they may be, their lives will never be like the cowardly boring and uneventful lives that Singapore children live. I hope that you will not want to deny your children that.
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