Immigration@SG: SME Excellence Business Award 2021/2022
Founder of ISAG, Masood Mustafa
The process of immigrating to a new country can often be fraught with difficulties. And while the emotional toll of moving away from one’s homeland makes up a part of this, it is the logistical side of immigration that tends to be the most challenging. Where does one even begin with such a tedious process? And if assistance is needed, who can one trust?
Masood Mustafa, founder of the award-winning immigration consultancy firm Immigration@SG LLP (IASG), is well acquainted with the widespread mendacity within the industry. As a former Senior Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), he received the necessary exposure to Singapore immigration policies and procedures which formed the critical building blocks for serving his clients over the past 7 years.
“During my time at MHA, I did plenty of policy and project work involving Singapore’s immigration ideals and was also given the chance to interact with foreigners from all over the world, both travellers and dignitaries, so this got me really interested in the subject,” recalls Masood. “After I cut my teeth there and was headhunted to join the world’s largest immigration law firms , I received invaluable experience in navigating Singapore’s immigration landscape and it further entrenched my desire to grow in the industry. I looked at the market in Singapore to see if there were opportunities to set up my own local company and found that apart from large law firms, there was really only one other company which offered immigration services, and to make matters worse, the knowledge they had was poor and the marketing was outright fraudulent.”
And so in 2014, Masood established IASG to provide foreigners with reliable and trustworthy immigration services which includes Work Pass applications, Permanent Residence and Singapore Citizenship applications for those already based in Singapore, and Business Relocation for foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up their business on these shores. In addition, IASG also exists to provide advisory to complex immigration concerns by business and individuals without expensive retainer fees. Marketing tactics that Masood found to be deceitful, such as claiming to have achieved an unfeasible 98% approval rate for applications or making childish “entertaining” video ads, were eschewed in favour of honest and sound advice in a serious business landscape. And even when younger companies mushroomed around them and adopted similar tactics, IASG stood their ground and continued to prioritise trustworthiness over profit chasing.
Masood worked hard in IASG’s early years to develop a trustworthy reputation which convinced clients that they were not like the rest. “Some clients were wary of immigration consultancies in general as they were burned by one in the past,” Masood says. “They were afraid of being deceived again. We had to put a lot of effort into proving that we are not like the others; that we have the right expertise and a genuine desire to help them.”
All of Masood’s consultants are instructed to be genuine towards their clients, even when it comes at the cost of an immediate deal. “We try to explain the application process to the clients in a clear and detailed manner, and we never leave out anything they need to know. When clients do not meet the requirements, we are forthright with them and would advise them to instead come back a few years later when more possibilities have opened up.”
This honest approach is further cultivated through the company’s culture of feedback. IASG has an open-door policy that allows employees to give input freely and candidly without fear of repercussions, and this is reinforced by the many workplace huddles and town halls which helps to foster an inclusive environment. Employees are taught to embody the honesty that the company espouses, whether among their colleagues or while advising their clients.
Once IASG has won the trust of the client, the company works hard to make the immigration process as seamless as possible for them. For instance, if a foreign entrepreneur is looking to set up their company in Singapore, IASG will handle everything from finding an office for them to applying for their work passes and their family’s dependant’s passes. Should the client’s children need help in enrolling in a local or international school, IASG would be more than happy to connect them with education consultants. With these auxiliary services, IASG is able to offer a comprehensive customer service experience.
These factors have helped IASG grow into a leading immigration consultancy firm in Singapore. The company’s authenticity and vast expertise have helped them stand out from the rest, and once people realised that, clients have been flocking in ever since. Masood’s genuine desire to help foreigners with all things immigration continues to drive the company towards greater and greater heights.
“What we want people to know is that we are not deceivers,” Masood says. “We are experts in immigration law, and we can advise you on anything you need to know about immigration law. We are the real deal.”