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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

Money

Deciding who gets PR

Everybody knows now about the famous/infamous ex-tour guide from China who moved into a rich old widow’s home and was granted lasting power of attorney, giving him practically control of her life – and her assets. We can exclaim and call him names and get all xenophobic about his so-called influence, all of which makes for good dinner conversation. Now we will wait to see the outcome of investigations of supposed fraud and of the various official “probes’’ into his status here.

Couple of points I thought worth noting…

I am really glad the Office of Public Guardian stepped into this tangle between the widow’s niece and Mr Yang Ying – over who should be supervising the 87-year old’s finances. We seem to be so entirely sympathetic towards the niece and antagonistic towards Mr Yang that we seem to have forgotten that Madam Chung probably needs a third party’s protection. That neutral party should be the State or the courts because it all boils down to who she is giving power to. So Mr Yang claims he had a doctor certifying that she was capable of giving him power of attorney when she did so. Then, she got the power revoked last week. The niece says she was all right then as well, so a doctor said.

Gosh!

Experts on either side! Best to get an independent doctor assigned by the courts to do so. In fact, I keep wondering why the doctors weren’t named. I guess it is not considered significant who the doctor is – so long as he/she belongs on some list the OPG has.

The bigger point I think is that we might finally get some clarity on how the manpower and immigration authorities decide on employment passes and permanent residency status. It seems that both agencies are investigating now, as ST reported.

Thing is, it seems to me strange that he got an employment pass solely because he and Madam Chung set up a music and dance school. Maybe not strange since we all wonder foreigners to bring money with them. I wonder what’s the paid-up capital? I wonder (actually I don’t) who put up the money…

The address of the school/office is the home of Madam Chung. Amazing. I wonder if dance classes are held there. I wonder if ACRA kept notes of the school’s accounts or whether it is a dormant/shell company so that whatever supposed income Mr Yang gets can be funnelled here.  MOM says salary, qualifications, age and experience counts in assessisng employment pass. So Mr Yang is down as having a $6,000 a month salary and it seems he makes regular CPF contributions and pays taxes. Doing what I wonder? Seems to me it’s rather easy to get an employment pass under false pretences – or am I jumping the gun here? Then it seems the niece has documents which cast doubt on the authenticity of his degree from the University of Financial and Trade Beijing. In 2009. The same year he set up the Singapore company and moved into the bungalow.

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The immigration authorities or ICA said they had rejected his PR application once. He applied for it ONE year after he got his employment pass, in 2010. But he got lucky(?) the next year. You know, I have heard plenty of stories about foreigners who “wait long, long’’ for PR status. And Mr Yang doesn’t have the added reason of having “roots’’ here, like a Singaporean spouse. I sure hope the immigration authorities didn’t buy his claim to be Madam Chung’s “grandson’’ or being a grassroot leader or an active member of the chamber of commerce – positions/roles which have since been questioned. I gather, however, that Singapore sponsors are required for permanent residency applications. Besides probably Madam Chung, who are they?

The ICA said it conducts face-to-face interviews, background and document checks in assessing applications. In this case, were they done? Or did everybody give such a good account of the man? The ICA also makes the point that an average of 30,000 PRs are approved every year. It looks like a heavy workload then. I wonder how many are “repeat applications’’ and what sort of average “waiting period’’ a foreigner has to go through before getting PR. Because, seriously, two years seems pretty short to me. It’s not as if Mr Yang is some tycoon whom we want here because of the ability to generate more for the economy….

Above are just some points that come to mind.

You know what? I wonder if Mr Yang had also applied for citizenship…

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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