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Singapore – Government Announces Framework for Relaxing of Borders

Singapore–Govt Announces Framework for Relaxing of BDRs

Since June 2020, the Singapore government has taken steps to gradually reopen immigration borders for Long Term Pass (LTP) holders. And on 21 August 2020, the Multi-ministry Task Force announced three categories in respect of Singapore’s framework for admitting travellers, based on the country or region that they come from. There has been some easing of border restrictions to short-term visitors from Brunei and New Zealand and there have been some reciprocal green lane arrangements or “travel corridors” with other countries.

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Since June 2020, the Singapore government has taken steps to gradually reopen immigration borders for Long Term Pass (LTP) holders.1  In order to manage the risks of an outbreak coming from imported cases, travellers have been required to secure entry approval2 prior to arrival, and to successfully complete a 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) and COVID-19 swab test before the end of their SHN.

Following continual assessments, as certain countries have demonstrated effective control of the virus situation, the Singapore government has updated its policy accordingly. 

WHY THIS MATTERS

The easing of entry and travel conditions for locations considered to have the virus under control is welcome news for the business community, as it signifies that Singapore is gradually but steadily taking steps to reopen both inbound and outbound travel. Singapore’s new border control framework assesses risk of virus importation depending on where travellers come from.  The government recognises that countries and regions are at different stages in terms of controlling the infection, and that there will be a need to continually assess to keep the classifications up to date with evolving conditions.  

Travellers should monitor the entry/exit policies regularly to make sure they are in compliance.

Updated Entry Measures

On 21 August 2020, the Multi-ministry Task Force announced three categories in respect of Singapore’s framework for admitting travellers, based on the country or region that they come from (see table on the next page).3  

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For both the 7-day and 14-day SHN, strict adherence to SHN obligations – including prompt response to monitoring, and remaining in the place of SHN at all times except to travel for the COVID-19 test – will continue to be enforced.

The authorities emphasised that they will continually review the global situation to determine the countries or regions where COVID-19 is well under control, or has deteriorated.  Thus, it is to be expected that the countries or regions in the three categories will be updated over time in accordance with the public health risk assessment.

Updated Advisory on Outbound Travel

In line with the easing of border restrictions to short-term visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, Singapore has updated its travel advisory for Singapore citizens and residents to allow general travel to these two countries.  However, travellers must check entry requirements imposed by Brunei and New Zealand, and should take all necessary precautions. 

The government also updated its position to allow travel for students studying overseas where the school does not offer a distance learning option.

Barring the above exceptions, as well as those under existing reciprocal “green lane” arrangements5, the Singapore government continues to advise its citizens and residents to defer all other forms of travel overseas.

KPMG NOTE

Countries like Singapore are utilising reciprocal green lane arrangements or “travel corridors” as a safe medium to reconnect with other countries while stemming the risk of virus importation.  To date, Singapore has entered such arrangements with the People’s Republic of China (“China”), Malaysia, and South Korea (from 4 September 2020).   

FOOTNOTES

1  Long Term Pass holders include holders of work, dependent, student, and long term visit passes, including in principle approvals.

2  The entry approval is requested from the Singapore government agency who issued the LTP (e.g. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for work, dependent and long term visit passes issued by MOM).

3  For the official, detailed announcement, click here.

4  In the Multi-ministry Task Force announcement of 21 August 2020, these countries and regions are: Australia (excluding Victoria State), Macao, Mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Note that this listing is subject to change depending on the global and local health situation.

5  Click on the links for information on the reciprocal green lane arrangements with China and South Korea.  For information on the Singapore-Malaysia Safe Travel and Periodic Commuting Arrangement, click here and here

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Singapore.

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