Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Stupid Policy in Singapore

Once upon a time, Singapore gave out Certificates of Clearance to people who've worked there. The Certificate of Clearance is a necessary service because it is required by some employers, government agencies, etc. who would like to know if you have a criminal record or not.

All of a sudden Singapore changed its policy and stopped giving these out to foreigners and even permanent residents. Why would they withhold something so important from people who've worked here and contributed to Singapore's economy and society?  See this excerpt from their police department's webpage (the emphasis is mine):

Why is there a change in the policy for the CNCC?

Police are not obligated to issue CNCC but have done so as a form of international cooperation since other countries provide similar documents as well. However, this service does not form part of police’s core function. Further, following the recent differentiation approach between citizens and non-citizens in terms of benefits in the healthcare, medical and education sectors, a similar distinction was also drawn with regard to CNCC issuance policy. As such, CNCCs will only be issued to citizens henceforth. The policy change will affect only a small number and there are alternative mean such as applying for a Statutory Declaration through the Commissioners of Oath or qualified legal practitioners. 

Basically they're saying even though this service is offered by every other civilized country in the world, they've decided to stop offering the service because they need to find some policy that they can point to and say, "We offer this to citizens and not foreigners! See how well we're treating our citizens??" As if Singaporean citizens actually care if they hand out these police certificates to foreigners or not? It makes no difference to anyone but the foreigners who who need this essential service. Now I have to jump through so many unnecessary hoops and delays just to get this police certificate for my wife when before it would have been a simple matter of visiting the police station.

Other countries should stop giving out police certificates for Singaporeans until Singapore changes their stupid policy. Then they'll see how frustrating it is for those of us that need this service.

We were finally able to get the certificate of clearance. In actuality, Singapore is still giving out police certificates to non-citizens--it just takes more time and effort to get it because you need to:
  1. Go to their office and appeal
  2. Wait about 10 working days for the appeal to be approved
  3. Go back to their office again to file the actual application for the COC
  4. Wait another 10 working days
  5. Go back to their office again and pick it up in person
  6. Congratulations! It just took 20 working days (or about a month) to get your COC!!
Also bear in mind that their office hours are extremely inconvenient for anyone with a normal job (it's only open from 8:30am-12:30pm M-F). It's the same thing with the banks here: they only like working during the hours when nobody can go there. Isn't there a more efficient way to do this? Are people without 9-5 jobs the only ones using your bank?

Related Links:

PS-- They're only open from 8:30am - 12:30pm Monday - Friday ONLY.  Real convenient Singapore. >:(

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree - this is really stupid! The SG government made this process so tedious for non-resident and the reason given was really lame - like you mentioned, Singaporeans would not give a shit about the different treatment in granting the COC between citizens and PRs.

    I am a Malaysian (Singapore PR) and just found a job in NZ. I didn't do enough "research" before going down to SPF office and was sent back by them because i did not have the required letter from NZ Immigration. Now I have all other documents ready, including medical checkup, and only left with the the processing of this COC, which will probably take me more than a month before getting it.

    I need the same clearance cert from Malaysia too and it only took me two days to get it done at the Malaysia High Commission at SG (one day to submit the application and the next day to collect because the document is to be produced by KL). I seriously do not understand why SG government wants to have such stupid policy that does nothing but add more paper work and time to all parties (including their own civil workers), and also at the same time show the world how bureaucratic it is...