Immigration, Population, and Foreign Workforce in Singapore: An Overview of Trends, Policies, and Issues, pp. 8 of 13

Many also express the concern that immigrants dilute Singapore’s cultural identity and destroy or alter its cultural life despite the fact that Singapore has always been a migrant city. Suspicions are sometimes raised about the loyalty of the immigrants, who are often perceived to use Singapore as a “stepping stone” to somewhere else, such as the United States. 

The numerous scholarships that Singapore has provided for foreign students (Yang, 2016) have attracted criticisms as well. The argument goes that foreign students eat up school places and financial resources that could otherwise be given to local students in need.

Such local discontent over the government’s immigration policy has in recent times manifested in various ways in public life. For example, in the 2011 general election, PAP won merely 60% of the popular votes – the lowest in its history – and a large part of the civic grievance was targeted at PAP’s immigration policy (Thompson, 2014). In 2013, the government released a Population White Paper, entitled “A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore.” The White Paper suggested that Singapore would “take in between 15,000 and 25,000 new citizens every year” and projected Singapore’s population to be “between 6.5 and 6.9 million” by 2030 (The National Population and Talent Division, 2013). Angered by these numbers, on February 16, 2013, a large crowd – said to be about 5,000 people – gathered at Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park to protest. This is said to be the largest protest since Singapore’s independence (Yeoh & Lam, 2016).

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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