The Immigration People: SME Excellence Business Award and Aspiring Woman Entrepreneurs Award 2022/2023

The Immigration People is an immigration consultancy firm with more than 25 years of collective experience in the industry.

The company was founded in 2019 by Elena and Kay, who already had multiple years of experience in the industry prior. Kay started her career as a cabin crew and an air stewardess for Singapore Airlines. After five years of serving clients from all nationalities, she decided to join the immigration industry in 2017 – where she found satisfaction in helping clients with immigration matters.

Elena started her career in this industry in August 2014. From her experience working in the immigration industry, she felt that this industry was not regulated and left a lot of room for unscrupulous practices by companies that did not have the right values. Elena and Kay met in the previous immigration company they were both working at and instantly felt they had found someone who shared the same dream.

It led to the birth of The Immigration People, a company nurtured by their shared passion and hard work to deliver their very best to each client.

Co-founders of The Immigration People, Kay Cheong (left) and Elena Kwa (right)

Elena and Kay founded the company as the trusted and go- to immigration firm when people think about migrating to Singapore. With that in mind, they decided to be the first- ever immigration firm (based in Singapore) to publish their rates on their website and start their own YouTube channel.

Furthermore, they have also launched an exclusive service for ultra-high-net-worth individuals who wish to be a part of Singapore. Besides constantly finding companies to partner with and share resources to extend their services and network, they are also designing and launching their very own CRM system, which is expected to launch in 2023. Elena and Kay look forward to growing their company internationally by expanding into China and Australia by 2024.

Luckily for Elena and Kay, gender discrimination rarely happens in Singapore and with the immigration industry being reasonably young and niche. People are generally receptive to them. However, they have met some clients and business partners who were quite apprehensive about the credibility or quality of their work simply because they are two “young” ladies.

The pair believes their actions are the best way to prove them wrong. With grit and determination, they focused on providing only the best quality of work and service to every client. Eventually, they managed to gain their clients’ and business partners’ trust and confidence as a professional immigration firm that is ethical and genuinely provides good quality work.

They’ve come a long way, considering how they started the business with no outside investments or loans and grew organically to a team of 10 staff. They chose not to lay off any staff during the Covid-19 pandemic period and even expanded the services offered by thinking out of the box despite being only a six-month-old company back then.

Elena and Kay attribute their success to their passion for making a difference in people’s lives and also their passion for entrepreneurship.

Kay is a Malaysian who came to Singapore alone to carve a career for herself, while Elena had witnessed her mom going through immigration applications on her own when she was young. They understood the importance of migration for families and the impact it brings. They took the risk of giving up a job that provided us with a decent and stable salary because they felt that they could only break through the mundane and earn the desired income for their loved ones through entrepreneurship.

Now that the company has a team of 10 staff, they feel responsible for protecting their livelihood and ensuring they are treated fairly and respectfully. They want to create their own culture as a close-knit organisation, like a family and celebrate their success together.

Unlike other immigration firms in Singapore, The Immigration People is one of the few companies to disclose pricing on their website. They are also the only Singapore immigration firm with a YouTube channel dedicated to publicly sharing insightful tips on immigration knowledge and actual client testimonials. Each client is served according to their profile’s needs. They never charged based on the client’s net worth. Their vantage points are transparency and honesty – which can be seen in their weekly YouTube content. They are different because they share their knowledge and tips for these foreigners to submit better applications.

When the Covid-19 pandemic first happened, they offered online consultations, allowing them to operate without interruptions. They understand that they are in a business that handles clients’ confidential information. So, their company operates in a private network and paperless system to ensure clients’ privacies are kept safe.

Effective communication is another crucial factor at The Immigration People. They take good care of their clients from the start till the end. Each client has their respective staff to ensure smooth communication, which creates a bridge of trust, and a vital bond between the company and clients. The number of referrals they receive from their clients is proof of that trust.

Having achieved great success in their endeavour, Elena and Kay has a few pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs who aspire to be like them:

1.  Don’t let any form of gender bias or stigma hold you back.

2. There are plenty of successful female entrepreneurs with inspiring stories.

3. You can achieve great things if you put your mind and soul into it.

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