Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
In the aftermath of the Little India riot in 2013, the Singapore Government repatriated 57 foreign workers identified to have been involved in the event.
More recently, a former Hong Kong resident was repatriated for being an undesirable foreign national due to the commission of acts that could have violated the Public Order Act.
With the occurrence of such cases, this article aims to explain what repatriation, as well as deportation, is in the context of Singapore law, the grounds on which either may occur and whether the repatriated or deported person can return to Singapore.
What is Repatriation? How is it Different from Deportation?
Repatriation is the act by a State of sending a foreign national back to his/her home country or country of origin. Repatriation can occur either as a result of an application by the foreign national himself (i.e. voluntary repatriation – discussed below) or by decision of the Government.
Deportation, on the other hand, is the act of compulsorily removing a foreign national from the country’s territory.
It must be noted that in both instances, only foreign nationals (and not locals) can be repatriated or deported. Further, both repatriated and deported persons are generally barred from re-entering Singapore.
How different is repatriation or deportation from extradition?
Extradition is the formal process by which someone accused or convicted of a crime, and who has subsequently fled overseas, is handed back from that overseas country to the jurisdiction of the country in which the crime was committed.
This process is different from repatriation or deportation, which involves removing a person from the country they are currently located in and sending them back to their country of origin. This can be because the person has committed an offence in the first country, but need not be.
In Singapore for example, repatriation or deportation is an executive decision. This means that so long as the Government assesses that it is undesirable for a foreigner to remain in Singapore (even if he/she had not committed an offence), then that foreigner can be repatriated or deported.
What are the Grounds/Reasons for Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore?
The Immigration Act provides a list of prohibited immigrants who may be removed from Singapore. Some of whom include:
- Any person who is unable to show that he has the means of supporting himself and his dependants (if any) or that he has definite employment awaiting him, or who is likely to become insolvent or dependent on the public for financial support
- Any person suffering from a contagious or infectious disease which makes his presence in Singapore dangerous to the community
- The family and dependents of a prohibited immigrant
Repatriation of a Foreign Employee
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations, an employer shall repatriate the foreign employee when the work permit or visit pass of the employee expires or is cancelled or revoked, and if the employee has not been employed by another employer.
The employer will bear the cost associated with repatriating the foreign employee except where the Controller of Immigration permits otherwise. The employer also has to ensure that they have paid all outstanding salaries or moneys due to the foreign employee before repatriating him/her.
What is voluntary repatriation?
Voluntary repatriation is the act of sending back a foreign national to his/her country of origin wherein the foreign national is the one who had applied to the Singapore Government to be sent back. For voluntary repatriation, it is the Government that bears the cost of repatriation.
The following are the requisites for the grant of voluntary repatriation:
- The foreign national is unable to obtain employment or support himself or herself and her/his family by reason of destitution, infirmity or mental capacity;
- The foreign national is unable to pay the cost of his/her passage and of the passages of his/her family (if any) to the country of his birth or citizenship; and
- The foreign national is or is likely to become dependent on the public or on a charity for financial support.
In this instance, any person voluntarily repatriated at the cost of the Government has to enter into an undertaking that he/she will not return to Singapore without the permission in writing of the Controller of Immigration. Such permission may be granted subject to a full refund of the repatriation costs and the fulfilment of other conditions.
If the person is subsequently found entering or attempting to enter the country without the Controller’s permission, he/she will be guilty of an offence.
May the order to remove a foreigner from Singapore be appealed?
An order to remove a prohibited immigrant may be appealed in writing to the Minister for Home Affairs. This is unless the removal is based on the expiry of a Singapore pass or visa granted to the foreigner.
In addition, a foreign national who is repatriated or deported has no right under the law to challenge the decision in court. Meaning, if a foreign national has been ordered to be repatriated or deported due to a crime he has committed, he/she will not be entitled to judicial hearings or a right to be heard in court in respect of the repatriation or deportation order.
What is the Penalty for Unlawful Return to Singapore After being Removed?
Unlawful return to Singapore entails the entry of residence of a person who was repatriated or deported from Singapore without the written permission of the Controller.
In instances where this happens, the foreigner can be found guilty of an offence and may be punished with imprisonment of between 1 and 3 years plus a fine up to $6,000, apart from once again being removed from the country.
At the end of the day, the entry and stay of a foreign national or an immigrant in Singapore is a privilege that can be revoked, but within the bounds of specific conditions provided for and enumerated under the law.
As repatriation and deportation are executive decisions, it is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Controller to decide whether a foreigner will continue to be allowed to stay and/or reside in Singapore.
- How to Write a Letter of Representation to AGC in Singapore
- What is Entrapment and is It Legal in Singapore?
- Juvenile Crime: What If Your Child is Arrested in Singapore?
- Police Investigation Process in Singapore
- Arrest Warrant Issued Against You in Singapore: What to Do
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Can the Public Make a Citizen's Arrest in Singapore?
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- "Right to Remain Silent" to Singapore Police: Does It Exist?
- Police Custody in Singapore: What You Should Know
- Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
- Penalties for Lying to the Authorities in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- Extradition: What If I Flee After Committing Crime in Singapore
- What is Acquittal & How Can One Be Acquitted in Singapore?
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
- The Defence of Unsound Mind in Singapore: What is It?
- Gag Orders in Singapore: Whose Identity Can be Protected?
- Mitigation Plea: How to Plead for Leniency in Court in Singapore
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
- Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Revision in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
- Criminal Records in Singapore
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
- Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
- How Long Is Life Imprisonment in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
- How Can Adult Offenders Get Probation in Singapore?
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When Will It be Ordered?
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore: When Will They be Ordered?
- Day Reporting Order: Eligibility and Offender's Obligations
- Rape Laws in Singapore and How Offenders Can Be Punished
- Sexual Misconduct in Singapore: Offences and What Victims Can Do
- How are Sexual Offenders with Special Needs Penalised?
- Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
- Consent in Sexual Offences in Singapore and What Victims Can Do
- Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
- What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
- What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
- Revenge Porn: What If Your Nudes are Leaked in Singapore?
- Crime of Voyeurism in Singapore (Penalties and Defences)
- Date Rape: What to Do If Your Drink Has Been Unlawfully Spiked?
- STDs: Can I Go to the Police If a Partner Infected Me in Singapore?
- Singapore's Legal Smoking Age & Common Smoking Offences
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- Legal Drinking Age and Drinking-Related Laws in Singapore
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Child Pornography in Singapore: Offences and Penalties
- Laws on Procuring Prostitutes and Sexual Services in Singapore
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- Gambling Legally (In Public or Online) in Singapore
- The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
- Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
- Committing Robbery in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
- Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
- Vandalism Laws: Penalties for Damaging Property in Singapore
- Criminal Trespass in Singapore: What Happens If You’re Caught?
- Penalties for Littering and Killer Litter Offences in Singapore
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Penalties for Dangerous Driving for Singapore Drivers
- Fatal Traffic Accidents: Are Drivers Always Punished?
- Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Here are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Singapore
- Arson and Fire-Related Offences and Their Penalties in Singapore
- Laws on Prohibited, Replica and Self-Defence Weapons
- Penalties for Illegal Immigration and Overstaying in Singapore
- Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore