The True Value of an Advisor

Samantha Fam

Samantha Fam

Singapore Immigration Specialist and Partner at Sam, Nic + Co
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“Why would you pay someone to help you prepare an application?”

If you were thinking of applying for Singapore permanent residency or citizenship, you might have asked this question before. Just like how I’ve once asked: “Why would you pay someone to cut your hair, invest your money for you, help you lose weight, or come up with a plan for your own business?”

Well, we tend to seek professional help, when we’re not certain or confident we’ll be able to do what’s needed to achieve our intended goal (FYI: my mum doesn’t cut my hair for me anymore, I get professional help for that now).  

And this is nothing to feel embarrassed or less than about. Even if our friends, family, and other well-meaning folks tease or chide us about it. Because sometimes, they might not know better. 

There is wisdom in knowing when to seek help in the areas outside your circle of expertise. 

When people scoff at the idea of hiring a professional to help with your application, they might have forgotten to consider a few things. 

They might forget obtaining Singapore permanent residency or citizenship involves competition. That in reality, you’re competing with people just as qualified as you are for limited vacancies. So, unfortunately it’s not as simple as filing an application – because that doesn’t automatically grant you the result you’re hoping for. 

And since everyone fills out forms all the time, it’s easy to think anyone would know all that is required to fill out THIS application. But as they say: the devil is in the detail. And in this case, missing key details could become a costly mistake. 

Most of all, they would forget what’s at stake for you. Because changing your immigration status has a material impact on your life – not theirs. For instance, Singapore permanent residency grants significant benefits (explicit and implicit), which upon careful consideration would probably make the stakes higher for you.

I mean, let’s just take a look at its economic value alone.

Alas, there are always going to be two camps of people. Those who pay for professional help and those who don’t. Neither camps are wrong. 

Because we pay for the things we value. What you value may differ from what others value.

So, to help you decide if this is something worth it to you, I’ll outline the key points of value when you work with an immigration advisor.

Let’s jump in. 

5 reasons why people really hire immigration advisors

A professional knows and acknowledges to their clients that obtaining Singapore permanent residency or citizenship is a game of probabilities and not absolutes. There is no guarantee that submitting your application will result in a definite approval. The only thing to guarantee that would be a miracle. 

So, a good advisor’s work revolves around helping you to improve your odds of success by focusing on what’s practical rather than sugarcoating reality. They prioritise helping you be better (within reason), over helping you feel better. Because actions produce outcomes, and worrying doesn’t.

Value #1 – Expertise

Often, clients seek help because they don’t know where to find the right information (as there’s just too much contradicting advice), or they lack the time to research how to prepare a strong application. 

So they eliminate the noise and save their time by tapping directly on an advisor’s expertise. 

Good advisors provide you with accurate and up-to-date information relevant to your profile and situation. They’re knowledgeable on the policies, procedures, and criteria. 

Experienced advisors would also have worked on many different types of client profiles, and have drawn insights from successful cases. This enables them to suggest ideas and point out potential challenges that you may not be able to realise on your own.

Value #2 – Accountability

Some people put off what they should do (like file taxes), for something that they’d rather do (like binge on Netflix). 

Then there are others who actually want to do the things they should, but they have a million other priorities on their plate (like work and family).

Both groups of people tend to seek help because they need accountability. They need someone to provide the structure and the game plan to get the important things done. 

A good advisor can fill that role. Not as a taskmaster or slavedriver, of course. But as the best person to articulate a simple and practical plan to guide you towards the desired actions. 

Good advisors rarely suggest complex plans. Because those plans hardly ever get implemented, as intended or, if at all. And just a reminder, we’re preparing an application – not designing a nuclear submarine. So there’s no need for unnecessarily complicated plans in the first place.

Bonus point: When you hire an advisor, there is also the positive side effect of putting in more effort and attention on something you’ve spent money on. Because more often than not, we just don’t value things when we get them for free.

Value #3 – Perspective

Sometimes, when you’re too close to the issue or too attached to the outcome, it can blind you from seeing the problems that you don’t want to face or from seeing the bigger picture.  

For example, what I typically see in applicants are either overconfidence or lack of confidence in their chances of success which lead to behaviours that hurt their application. 

When an applicant is too confident in their chances, they tend to believe success is a guarantee and take the proper procedures for granted. They become less careful with the necessary paperwork and they tend to understate their accomplishments, contributions, and merits in their application. So, they’re not optimising their chances for success. 

Conversely, when a client lacks confidence they tend to do the opposite – they overstate in their application. They want to include EVERY SINGLE DETAIL they believe would help them in their case, but this usually ends up diluting the clarity of their message and their real merits don’t stand out as much. Again, they’re not optimising their chances for success. 

So, a good advisor would save you from becoming your own worst enemy by bringing objectivity and a measured perspective. They’ll guide you towards the things that matter, the things that are practical, and the things within your control. They bring a critical editing eye to your application.

Value #4 – Implementation

An immigration advisor’s work doesn’t just end with a plan. Because what’s the point of a plan without the hands-on implementation to make sure your application gets done right. 

More than just making sure documents are in order and procedures are followed correctly,  a critical part of preparing the application is in identifying the relevant merits of an applicant and communicating these merits clearly in the application. 

And this is where most people struggle, because:

  1. Applicants may be unaware of what their merits are and;
  2. They’re not familiar with their audience and what they would care about  (i.e. government authorities reviewing their application)


So, this is where the advisor steps in to do the heavy lifting. Firstly, an advisor should ask deeper questions to understand the full extent of your merits. The best questions guide you to be more introspective and discover the answers on your own. 

Then, they should edit out what’s unimportant and focus on preparing content and documents to highlight your relevant merits. They should aim to communicate these merits clearly throughout your application, because when your message is unclear you lose valuable points to make a strong impression.

Value #5 – Support

Some people value the hand-holding effort of an advisor. It’s an intangible quality that might be difficult to name, but when you experience it (especially when done well) – you feel a sense of safety. 

It’s the psychological safety of having someone you trust walk you through the process. 

It’s the safety of relying on someone to tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. 

It’s the safety of having someone in your corner to help you navigate uncertainty as you face the possibility of approval or rejection. 

And in the unfortunate event that things don’t go your way, it’s the safety of knowing you have someone to handle your disappointment with empathy while steering you towards your best options moving forward.

A last bit of advice

If you do decide to hire an advisor, and are considering who to hire, my advice would be this: find someone you know, like, and trust (let your gut instincts lead you). 

Because if you don’t know, like or trust them, then you’re not going to follow their advice anyway!

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