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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 9 Oct 2005

Study Mum Situation in Singapore


Written Answer to Parliamentary Question for MHA on the Study Mother Situation in Singapore

Prof Ivan Png Paak Liang:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs if he will review the peidu mama situation and, in particular,
(i) provide the number of mothers from China who accompany their children to study in primary and secondary schools here;
(ii) provide the number of such mothers working on work permits; and
(iii) review the procedures for approving student visas to ensure that the child has sufficient funds for the entire course of study without an accompanying mother seeking employment here.
Answer :
Mr Speaker Sir, "peidu mama", or study mothers, refer to the group of mothers who are here in Singapore to accompany their children studying here.
As at end Jul 05, there were about 6,800 study mothers in Singapore of whom some two-thirds were from the PRC.
The Ministry of Manpower does not allow study mothers to work during their first year of stay here. This is to enable them to properly supervise their children who are studying in a new environment. Thereafter, they can apply for a Work Permit to work.
As at end Jun 05, less than 1,000 study mothers were holding Work Permits.
Before the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority approves an application for a Student's Pass, it would make sure that the foreign student has been accepted by an approved educational institution.
ICA requires a student studying in our government schools, private education organisations and ITEs to have a local sponsor, who will be responsible for the student.
ICA may also require the student to furnish a security deposit. ICA would not approve the application if it has reason to believe that the applicant is not bona-fide.
These safeguards have been found to be adequate in mitigating any immigration or law and order risk that these students and their mothers may pose.
Out of more than 6,000 study mothers in Singapore, less than 40 study mothers were caught for illegal activities for the period from Jan to Jul 2005.
As such, we see no need at present to review the current procedures for approving student visas. However, let me assure the House that if and when the Home Team detects study mothers abusing their stay here, actions will be taken against them.

Source: Press Release 19 Sep 2005

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