THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Goh Chok Tong asks: Do skilled immigrants create jobs or take away jobs from locals?

Posted by temasektimes on June 24, 2012

Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong may be one of the proponents of Singapore’s pro-foreigner and ultra-liberal immigration policies, but till today, he is still unsure if ‘skilled’ immigrants help create jobs or take them away from native Singaporeans.

In a post on his Facebook last night, Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh shared an article he read on the Asian Wall Street Journal and asked:

“Do skilled immigrants create jobs or take away jobs from locals? Just read an article in AWSJ on this debate in the US. Prof Slaughter, the writer, said that “skilled immigrants have long supported US jobs and living standards. They bring human capital, financial capital, and connections to opportunities abroad.”

He added that it would be ‘good’ for economists to research the subject in depth though the floodgates have been opened to foreigners from all over the world way back in the early 2000s causing Singapore to be ‘swarmed’:

“Prof Slaughter cited studies to back up his point. This subject is a hot button issue in Singapore. It would be good if economists could research this subject in depth. It would help advance debate on this politically sensitive issue.”

Under Singapore’s ‘unique’ immigration policies, even construction workers, bus captains, hawkers, cleaners and prostitutes are considered ‘skilled immigrants’.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, ESM Goh promised ‘Swiss standard of living’ for Singaporeans by 2000. After ten years, Singapore has indeed attained the ‘Swiss cost of living’, but definitely not its quality of life.

51 Responses to “Goh Chok Tong asks: Do skilled immigrants create jobs or take away jobs from locals?”

  1. kaypoh said

    Indeed the Ministers attained the Swiss standard of living….the rest of us just attained the Swiss cost of living (being the 8th most expensive place to live in), although not all of it (if any) should be blamed on the immigration policies, a lot of it is resulting from the “the solution to any problem usually involves a fee/payment/tax payable to the govt” and all kinds of artificially induced inflation….in the end they control your money, and as usual, “they know best what’s good for you”….and pay themselves accordingly.

  2. Descended said

    Skill immigrants such as sales counter girls,hawkers, bus drivers?

  3. RU YI Gee said

    You opened to foreigners but do you count how many Singaporean works oversea job?

  4. WHAT THE HACK said

    WHY HE COMPARE SINKAPOOR TO USA? USA CONTROL INFLUX OF IMMIGRANTS WHIKE SINKAPOOR NOT. ALSO, IS HIS IMMAGINATION OR OUR FEELING MORE ACCURATE? ASK HIM SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN BEFORE HE TALK WITHOUT DEEP THINKING.

  5. simon foreman said

    there is hardly any space for foreigners or immigrants to create jobs in singapore at this pace of time ,one can only see competition for jobs arising among s,poreans ,there should be a caps to PRs or Foreigners who work in singapore be given only to a certain number of years.

  6. Anthony Tang said

    just shut up and collect your pension etc etc and shut up. Don’t we all know that FT take our jobs. No brainer. A secondery school boy can answer that, dont need a ESM whom we pay millions to answr.

  7. Another wayang. Knew the answer still asked the LPPL.

  8. Busybody said

    Is it too late now to research now???? U mean no study or research b4 the ultra immigration policies r implemented???? Wrong policies means big problem for Singapore & Singaporeans,, go eat shit man MIW…

  9. FUCK GOH said

    Do oppostion create jobs or take away jobs from pap? are you fucking senile and due for cremation????????

    • David said

      Maybe to ESM, more opposition in the parliament does create jobs for PAP. Why? Cos then the PAP govt will to dilute the power of the opposition by creating more seats in the parliament for PAP MPs . Didn’t you notice that the number of seats in the parliament has been going up. LOL.

  10. manicknight@rocketmail.com said

    Shouldn’t these questions be asked before GCT allowed these influx of FT? Some are clearly trash.

  11. Ken Wee said

    Bloody Char Tow Wood Head!!!

  12. Angry Bird said

    Ya. . . swiss standard of living but pay its citizens 3rd world wages and slavery. You moron!

  13. Naivety said

    Hey former tall man of parliament, have you lost ur senses & gone insane already?

    There are basically 3 types & kinds of people in this world categorized as follows:
    1) People who make things happen (1st type);
    2) People who watch things happen (2nd type); &
    3) People who wonder what happen (3rd type)

    It seems that you and your fellow pappies belong to the 3rd type & kind lah!!!

    Still basking in your ivory shinning towers, as denial & arrogant as ever & wanting to win every single argument, point & policy at all costs & means at the expense of all native Singaporeans!!

  14. […] 2012 at 11:22 am and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 […]

  15. James said

    There is a lot of version of “skilled immigrants”, and it really depend on company policy on how Singaporean gone to survive in the company. Some “Skilled Immigrants” do their “Skilled Work” only in Office hours, while the same “Skilled Local” have to work in Office & OutField… they knock off a day with a exhaust shell, and drop die in their bed (some don’t make it home), without have time with their family. The “Lucky One” have a change to decide to leave the company in order to gain their Health Back, but that surely going to affect their payback on their HDB unit.

    “Do skilled immigrants create jobs or take away jobs from locals?” I think they do, but that is in US not Singapore.

  16. mahbok tan said

    Wat du u tink…???

    While I am still fantasizing my “Swiss Standard of living”….!!!!

    WADAFUG this guy is tolking about…!!! As it he feels what we COS are facing…!!! KNNBCCB.

  17. WTF said

    Allo GCT!

    WTF happen to the swiss standards of living that you had promised to all native Singaporeans by Year 2000???

    Please explain!!!

  18. peanuts said

    why compare to US, can I compare lee xiao long salary to obama?

  19. Anak Singapura said

    Skilled people do and does add value to a society.No doubt about it.

    As in the context of Singapore,say a skilled plastic surgeon or a skilled aeonautical scientist additions makes a lot of sense.If not today perhaps tommorrow.It does not a difference if he or she is a caucasian or an African.

    But SG government selection is racial.Preference to PRC by at least 75% followed by the rest.And what is the skill Singapore requires or sustainable is never defined.Suppose,if an Indian from India brings an IT skill which only creates jobs for Indians from India than we are filling space with free loaders.And how PRC filling our coffee shops and Penoys filling PMET jobs creates jobs for Singaporeans stounds me.

    As usual GCT is shooting blanks.

    • peanuts couple said

      this seat warmer is also the idiot who proclaimed he will be worried if there are no retrenchments, and of course his spouse thinks 600K is peanuts.

  20. Don't talk shit said

    You whose policy resulted in the Swiss cost of living in Singapore instead of Swiss standard of living have no right to open your mouth ever again. Please don’t kid yourself to think that Singapore PR is in the same league as US PR. Unlike the USA, we are getting only second rate FTs. Which FT who can gain a place in the USA will want to settle down in Singapore? Only the USA rejects stay on in Singapore. Indeed Singapore is just a stepping stone for people aspiring to go USA. They start applying for USA green card as soon as they are given PRs in Singapore.

  21. Leroy said

    Frankly, GCH is, sad to say, an idiot. Why ask the question (“Do skilled immigrants create jobs or take away jobs from locals?”) now? Shouldn’t this issue be settled BEFORE allowing hordes of foreigners into Singapore? This proves one thing the PAP (includes GCT) is fumbling its way forward not really knowing what it is doing and without concern for Singaporeans.

  22. Naivety said

    Hey Moron!

    U do not seem to understand basic simple economic theory of supply & demand function!!

    Put it simply if Singapore economy can only create 100,000 new job vacancies per year, by mass importing in more than
    2 Millions of FTs/FWs you’re creating a situation of oversupply of cheap labour of at least 20 FTs/FWs vying & fighting with each Singaporean for each & every new job being created which leads to too many people chasing over too few jobs created (a glut of labour in the marketplace), understand ka you white idiotic pappie?

    The consequences will be resulting in many native Singaporeans unemployed, jobless, displaced by FTs/FWs, failing salaries/ wages, strain on country infrastructures & resources, over-congestion/population, etc (I can go on & on as the causal factors are too long to be fully specified herein).

    Suggest you fark back to school to study basic economic principles & theory again…erh, please start from primary school onwards!!!

  23. Angry Singaporean said

    Dear MOM, please start to terminate all renewal of S-pass/EP and retrict only to less than 10% professional entering SIngapore!!!

    Now too many “Tom, Dick and Harry” in Singapore and MOM did not screen thru their fake certificates, their application, their salary, etc and blindly approved without checking!

    My friend company, the employer’s wife is in CPF list but not working in the company at all and all S-pass/EP are under-declared alot and yet after 2 years, nothing happen….Is MOM sleeping?

    MOM is the main culprit causing many singaporean out of job and it affected those lcoal prospectives’ family, children and parents as well..

    • They think we daft said

      Dun worry, s pass and EP may be lesser now but there is a new pass called PEP now…

    • mahbok tan said

      That is TRUE, Period. They claim that singaporean do not want to work in their company.
      Problem here lies with the govt official and the GOVT of the Day…..!!!
      Seems that lots of angry voices have surfaced since the MRT problem in Nov 2011…..as I have mentioned much much earlier about this bad omen…..Singapore are in deep shit and we have to survived by hook or by crook in order to save our future generation…..our sons and grandsons…..!!!!

  24. bb said

    The reason you will pick by old man as PM because you are not smarter LHL and as result you will ranked number 5. Based on your ability you should not have been PM as you hv screwed up all the policies-high tech & Low Tech do you remember. Sg went to recession in 1984 because of you without studing what’s the problem amsd raising salary to make ppl happy. IN the end Sg as a country not competitive.- so our current PM brings down the salary of the workers-and now sg ppl is not happy.

    If you are standing elections in 2016-you will be out.

  25. solaris8899 said

    Mr GCT, u take a route in the morning peak hours in our mrt & buses, you will see how many FTs r in sg.
    u think they r creating jobs for sg?
    do u know what my prc boss tell me after he came on-board 3 months, we(sg ppl) can be replaced easily with cheaper ppl from prc & india and they have not problem getting work permits…what do u think?

  26. Protestor said

    FT now is treated more important and priority than Singaporean! Quota should set limiting FT work in certain industries and sector in Spore. If this is to carry on, you will see more people jumping down from MBS!

    Govt, TIME TO WAKE UP! How many sporean are being jobless and sack for getting pregnant or rejected by the employers for having a family and unable to committ in work!

  27. Ken Lee said

    what do you think?

  28. Ni Hong said

    Let do it. If he want to dig it. and dig it bigger.. Not only compare jobs, also others.. Most important is Singaporean benefit more or others…

  29. Ma Chi said

    After all this years of opening the floodgate and you claim U dunnoe good or bad? Wa biang!!!!

  30. Birdie said

    Mr President…. have you finished selling your Nasi Brani?

  31. Rckia said

    where is my swiss standard of living and who moved my peanuts??

  32. mel said

    Swiss standard of living my foot!!

  33. mahbok tan said

    Of all people in SGpore , those in the govt sector and the PA are safe coz their rice bowl have not been affected but those ordinary Sgporeans are feeling the crunched …. does our GOVT care…????
    Allo goh ct ….u go back kampong and play golf with najib better hor than to act like states men here…KNNBCCB…!!!!

  34. Dont know to say. said

    The more you compare to other country, the more see our country angry with it. how many our own country loss they are job by FT? had u think before u say? is because our own expanses getting can’t follow up our own country. everything is up.. but our pay is still same, is either Singaporean getting rich or poor only. Compare living standard to other country, currently is pointless. why not you all came out something more better for our country?

    1st Money always the issue due to HDB flat, cars, staff who any company, retail shop, ERP, hospital fee and so on. I believe that someone will say is fix the problem, but in fact is not solved.

    2nd FT really is getting more and more, our chance is getting low for a job. why? because boss willing get them and training them with low cost. that’s why our job is gone.
    ANS: they want to save Rental Fee. Note ( is not we don’t want to work or quit, is because we talk A they do B. we explain to them, they can’t be bother. why? is because they apply the job is not they wants. especially they are skill is not apply )

    this is my point of view. and this is in fact. if i did any offence I’m Sorry.
    Ps: due to my English damn i also have to say this way. ( I am sincerely Sorry about this )

    Cheers to our own Singaporean

  35. Immigration Policy Wrong said

    When USA news put a Professor to talk on this subject they use the material and try to persuade the citizen to accept it. Knowing the fact that Mr Obama is having an election soon and is also using the “carrot and stick” method to win the next upcoming election by winning over migrants on his campaign trial. That is the reason why he is supporting gay marriage, hispanics as well as those living and working in the States for years. But USA is a big and vase land country with many resources by itself/ This include afvance technology, liberty of business operations and challenging, creative and entrepreneurial environment.

    On one nite BBC news did has a topics on this caption too. The news highlighted that UK has a “BIG Mistakes” on their immigration policies and admitted that due to the immigration policy resulted in lower wages as companies compete for low wages labour resulting in lower productivity and affecting overall the economy too. Surprising this articles is not published and reported in our Strait’s Times. The BBC was telecast last week (20-23rd June 20120).

    Frankly, all the FT we are engagin now in Singapore is not helping Singapore to move forward to a World Standard as well as creating a world class of talents. This FT/FW are here just for the opportunity and many will move out if the economy don’t continously perform to expectation.
    No countries in this world don’t protect the livelihood of it citizen and Singapore is the only unique little dot that exercise preference for FT/FW over it citizens. Rencetly TR Emeritus – a Chinaman PHD Engineering reported his regret for taking up a Singapore citizenship and lost his jobs. It reflected the true status that Singaporean (Blue , Born and Breed) are bypass by mnay employers because of our immigration policy and HR culture here.

    HR and the government looks forward to continously using FT/FW as a recycle process to repllace the local talent, political objectives as well as to keep the wages low but all other cost keep raising and going up. Cost up are all created by the government to an extend- taking example the implementation of GST, increasing rental years (sky high), town council fee etc.

    Questions are the government planning to use this strategy as a way to keep moving forward for the next decades and decades to comes. HR will be very happy as they are finding their task and role easier and meeting company objective budget. Just yearly renewal of contract or engaging new people with the same old salary scheme. Just like those workers in BBatam- recyle, replace and dump.

    Lastly, replace all the CEO of all government link companies and co-operatives with FW and it will be real cost saving. Pass those cost savving downward to the middle and below workers. Pointless to have so many CEO and Group Directors (too many layers at the top). Same with our GRC system, it could be a cost saving areas but at the end more MP and lower productivity and results.

    Quality and well pay jobs are not around. Also “STOP ” the FT/FW policy immediately. If you still cannot understand and see the negative side of the immigration policy is good that your end make way for the next generation of abled -bodies. This is in the interest of the nation, citizen as well as for the next generation to recognise your efforts and contributions

  36. Recently met some India technician or Line Leader of a company. Mentioned that he was earlier on manufacturing pass but contract completed and returned back to India. Less than 3 months he is back to Singapore and working for the same company (manufacturing MRT card , Bank Credit Card etc) and is now on S-Pass. He highlighted that the manufacturing quota has reached and the company now engage him on S-Pass. Is this how HR bypass the MOM system. Or should CPF seriously looked into having a higher CPF contribution for all FT/FW instead of lowering their contributions. This will be a clear test of what employers will be looking.

    Surprising his job as a line leader paying 2.5k++ there is no Singaporeans looking for it. Impossible with many NUS degree holder around 40++ are without jobs.consider them and for sure they will be much productive, creative and result oriented. Age does not determine a person ability to success in his/her role or the career path ones chooses. Don’t discriminate.

    If this is happening here on the employment scene. All PAP MPs, Minister and governmental linked companies whould be choping and replacing the, with the generation Y.

  37. He is as good as whipping people’s BS and still has the cheek to ask whether pain or not . KNN.

  38. Jardel said

    Just vote pap out. simple. if we dun stand as one, we deserved to get fucked and bullied by pap. Why can’t you daft singaporeans understand?

    • mahbok tan said

      Wow I AGREE to this LOUD and CLEAR bro….!!!!

    • Naivety said

      I have already done my part in Aljunied GRC when I rallied together with my kakis to vote in the WP team during GE 2011 & in the process ousted a very high profile pappy minister & team thereby making history altogether, have you all from the other constituencies done so? Or Rather ‘Dare to do so’ as well??

      Don’t just Talk Only as “Sweet Words Matter No Parsnips”, Please Action On It ASAP…Bring Forward the Elections or Call A Snap Elections Now!!!

  39. sg_in_usa said

    GCT is creating a strawman argument. The question of whether SKILLED foreigners add value is not the right question since the PAP immigration policy is to also allow UNSKILLED foreigners to come in and take on low paying jobs like waitress, etc. I think the part of having no selectivity in letting in these unskilled labor; they shouldn’t be called FT since there is no talent required. US work visa policy is very strict, it’s hard to get one and at a bare minimum you need a bachelor’s degree and is sponsored for a college-level type job like engineer/analyst etc (not waitressing/bus driver).

  40. Mark Roche said

    Obliviously , any skilled worker will take away jobs from somebody .
    The issue should be “are there jobs available ” , in the first place.
    In the past two years, more and more companies are being forced to give up and reallocate to neighbouring countries because of lower operating cost.
    It seems that rental and staff related issues are their main reasons for doing so and almost nothing is done to prevent this.
    I feel that if there are more companies hiring, rather than just more talent available , we won’t be so worried about new Singaporeans.

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  42. is not a appropriate comparison said

    Singapore is a small nation, do not always use USA to do comparison, as it is not appropriate. Why not learn from Japan not to take in foreingers?

  43. why not take in ministers China said

    Why not take in ministers from China, as is cheaper and qualified?

  44. smartenterprise.smartmediatechnologies said

    Excellent thinker do not required research, he just do in depth thinking and will come out good answer!

    Likewise, Mathematician came out good theory by reasoning, and not by reserach!

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