Iswaran to Singaporeans: Time to have an ‘honest’ discussion about our immigration policy
Posted by temasektimes on September 27, 2012
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue session a day after his ministry released a report on population and the economy, Mr Iswaran said he was glad that there was no ‘outright rejection’ of foreign manpower:
“I don’t think the basis of the discussion is xenophobia, which is very heartening. What I think they’re trying to come to grips with, and I think we all are, is really how our demography impacts our economy, the opportunities for ourselves, our children and in turn, how immigration and foreign manpower can help us.”
The discussion centred on how to bring foreigners in judiciously and this is where Singapore needs to find the right balance.
“So a calibrated approach to immigration, a calibrated approach to bringing in foreign manpower and having a sustained economic policy means being able to grow at a rate where on the one hand, the additions to our local population mix is done at a rate which we can sustain as a society and we can move with that and adapt to it,” he added.
Foreigners now make up 40 percent of Singapore’s population, up from 14 percent in 1990. Of the remaining 60% who are ‘citizens’, an increasing number are born overseas.