Why are we giving money to new citizens?


Why do we give HDB “citizen top-up” money, to new citizens?

According to the HDB’s web site

“Citizen Top-Up

The Citizen Top-Up is a $10,000 housing subsidy that is given to eligible Singapore Citizen/Singapore Permanent Resident (SC/SPR) households when a qualifying household member becomes a Singapore Citizen.

It is available to any of the following SC/SPR households who have:

  • Paid a premium of $10,000 for the purchase of an HDB flat direct from HDB
  • Taken a CPF Housing Grant for Family which was $10,000 lesser than an SC/SC household for the purchase of a resale HDB flat or a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat or an Executive Condominium (EC).

It is only distributed to:

  • The original SC applicant/ owner, or
  • The SC spouse who was previously an SPR (if listed as an owner)

Eligibility conditions

An SC/SPR household will qualify for the Citizen Top-Up in any of these instances:

  • The SPR spouse originally listed in the flat application obtains Singapore Citizenship status
  • An SC child is born to the SC applicant/ owner and spouse originally listed in the flat application
  • The SPR parent/ child/ sibling* originally listed in the flat application obtains Singapore Citizenship status”

I understand that in practically every country – citizenship is a privilege that is sought after by immigrants.

Are there any other countries that give $10,000 to new citizens? Is this not akin to “enticing” foreigners to become citizens?

How much of these “citizen top-ups” have been given over the years, with an average of 20,000 new citizens granted per year?

If the sum is used to provide for say cheaper HDB rental flats to needy families – wouldn’t it be better, fairer, more equitable, etc?

Has this “citizen top-up” ever been reported in the media or raised in Parliament?

Leong Sze Hian



About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.