Posts tagged immigration
Foreign white-collar workers looking for a share of Singapore’s prosperity may soon find the going a little tougher. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used part of his National Day speech last week to promise concerned citizens that conditions for employment passes would become stricter, with higher salary and qualification requirements.
As sectors of Singapore’s economy soared in the past year, so did threats of inflation and housing prices, causing many locals to worry whether they’d be able to compete for even average-salaried office jobs to pay for it all. These concerns rattled Singapore’s ruling party, the long-serving People’s Action Party, which recorded a record low (though still relatively high) 60% share of the vote at the most recent elections.
In his speech, PM Lee cautioned Singaporeans against becoming xenophobic towards foreign workers and reminded them the country would remain open to immigration. The raised minimum monthly salaries for the three types of employment visa (Q, P1 and P2) represent a 12-14% increase and will now be: S$2,800 (US$2,318), S$4,000 (US$3,311) and S$8,000 (US$6,623) respectively.
source & article: Xinhua (via philstar.com)
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke at length on immigration issues at his National Day Rally address on the weekend. With the economy booming, the city is seeing immigrants arrive in five figure numbers per year and with this come fears of overcrowding, limited resources, and concerns that Singaporeans’ own status may become devalued in a more competitive environment. With a recent survey showing Singapore’s population would triple if world immigration were completely open, PM Lee said Singapore would be ‘swamped’ without controls, underscoring the need for slow change to give locals time to adjust, while maintaining a workforce large and skilled enough to keep the economy ‘hot’.
More foreign workers would create thousands more jobs, he said, and cutting off the flow would be impossible without also stifling the economy. To Singaporeans who worried they would lose jobs find it difficult to find housing or suffer wage losses in a larger population, he said the government understood well, but that the benefits of immigration would trump any disadvantages. He encouraged citizens to get skills; be more competitive to maintain their advantage. To immigrants, especially those planning to stay long-term rather than as temporary workers, he said they must make an effort to integrate into Singaporean society by learning English, adopting Singaporean values and accepting the city-state’s cohesive multi-ethnic culture.
source & full article: Straits Times
Where would everyone live, if given the choice? Singapore, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia would receive population boosts of 219%, 184% and 176% respectively if people were given the freedom to relocate anywhere in the world, according to a Gallup poll.
The USA remains the number one dream destination for the world’s would-be emigrants, though its population of 300 million puts it only 14th on the percentage list. Unsurprisingly, economic and lifestyle conditions make the survey results fairly predictable with Haiti and poorer African nations hypothetically losing half their populations to open borders. Somewhat more surprisingly, 800,000 of Switerland’s six million would leave their safe and wealthy homeland, though they might not be missed with a subsequent influx of 10 million from elsewhere.
Gallup researchers interviewed nearly 350,000 adults in 148 countries between 2007 and 2010 to determine a ‘net migration’ score for each country.
source & article: AFP via Straits Times
full poll details: Gallup.com
An interesting aspect of this week’s 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) report was the announcement of a new Talent Corporation, designed to reverse the notorious brain-drain and attract skilled members of the Malaysian diaspora back home.
There are about 700,000 Malaysians working abroad, and the government wants the most skilled of them to return, addressing key shortages in the country’s workforce. The Talent Corporation’s main jobs will be to identify these shortages and work with other relevant government agencies to figure out ways to attract them back and keep them working to benefit Malaysia’s economy.
The Corporation also promises to take notice of foreign talent already within Malaysia, relaxing some immigration laws by allowing them to change jobs, employ foreign maids and bring in working spouses.
source & article: New Straits Times
Money sent home from Filipinos working abroad was up 7.8% in February compared to the same two-month period a year ago, reaching US$2.8 billion.
The increase could be due to an increased demand for skilled Filipino workers globally, along with increased access to improved money transfer services.
Around 1.42 million Filipinos left the country to work abroad last year. Over three quarters of their jobs were land-based and more than 80% of their remittances came from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Italy.
source & article: BusinessWorld Online
Former Prime Minister and now Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has drawn attention to the contribution made by Singapore’s educated immigrants.
Speaking at the Indian New Year Ceremony, Mr. Lee highlighted the need for talented immigrants to maintain Singapore’s dynamism and support its declining birthrate, which is almost half 1960s levels. Of particular interest were students with skills in finance, IT and R&D, with special attention to those who had lived in the US or Europe and have strong international connections.
Mr. Lee said he understood the concerns of Singaporeans about increasing immigrant levels, and said the challenge was ensuring new arrivals could integrate well into Singaporean society.
source & article: ChannelNewsAsia.com