SINGAPORE – The Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts of those who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents will be closed from April 2024, the CPF Board said on Wednesday (8 March).
The purpose of the system, CPF Board said, is to help Singapore citizens (SC) and Permanent Residents (PR) to retire with peace of mind. "In line with this, CPF members who are not SC or PR will have to close their CPF accounts," CPF said.
Before 1987, CPF contributions were mandatory for all employees working in Singapore, including non-citizens and non-PRs. Since 1987, changes have been progressively introduced to focus the CPF system on helping citizens and PRs meet their needs.
Foreigners in Singapore have not been allowed to contribute to CPF since 2003, but according to CPF Board data, currently there around 300,000 non-citizens and non-PRs who still have CPF accounts. They include non-citizens and PRs who had received contributions from employers or made voluntary contributions before 2003, as well as former citizens and PRs who have since relinquished their citizenship or permanent residency.
Most of these accounts have low CPF balances with more than two-thirds of them having less than S$5,000 in their CPF account.
"The automatic closure of CPF accounts for all non-SC/PR in 2024 is the final step in ensuring that the CPF system focuses on its core objective of catering to the retirement, housing and healthcare needs of SC and PR," said the CPF Board.
When such non-citizen or non-PR members close their CPF accounts, their participation in CPF schemes will cease and they will be asked to transfer their CPF savings to personal bank accounts.
These account holders have up to 31 March 2024 to close their CPF accounts, failing which these accounts will be automatically closed. Any remaining savings will cease to earn the prevailing CPF interest rate.
"The remaining savings can still be transferred to their bank accounts at any time after that," CPF Board said.
CPF Board will individually notify non-citizens and non-PRs from March 2023, using the contact details that they have provided.