This essay will attempt to explain why Singapore should continue to be open to immigrants. Immigrants coming from a different country to live in Singapore permanently, as a naturalised citizen or permanent resident (PR), can benefit us in many ways. Referring to document A, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew mentioned that if we do not choose to take in immigrants, it will only lead to ‘economic stagnation’, where our economy is unable to thrive. Document B also suggests the need to accept immigrants to ‘fill up [professional] roles’, especially in our future economy. However, according to population.sg, many Singaporeans fear that our national identity will be diluted because of them. Locals voiced biases against them and have opinions that immigrants cause inconvenience and competition for jobs. It is necessary for us to put aside these perceptions and learn to accept them. Integration of immigrants into our society is a 2-way aspect. Immigrants should expose themselves to our society. Locals, in return, should learn to be open to them (Chua, M.H., 2015), as they will eventually be an asset to our country.
Singapore currently faces an ageing population. The ageing population causes the rise in retirees which implies a smaller workforce. Immigrants are hence, pivotal for our economy. They are able to replace our ageing population, as well as citizens who have migrated to other countries, in terms of numbers in our workforce. This ensures that jobs can continue to be productive with immigrants contributing to the workforce population. There may also be an increasing lack of skill sets due to the ageing population, which is an issue we should address since Singapore mainly relies on manpower. The ageing population may find difficulty equipping certain skill sets, such as handling new technology and programming. With more immigrants coming to settle in Singapore permanently, they can replace the ageing population in these crucial jobs. Some of these immigrants will prove to benefit certain working sectors as they help to grow important sectors like information technology and cybersecurity. Hence, it is important for us to allow immigrants to substitute for the ageing population in our workforce.
Secondly, our economy has evolved from manufacturing work sectors to high-tech work sectors. The future economy will continue to demand us to upgrade our skills. Many jobs are bound to rely on newer technology and we need to replace existing skill sets with new skills. Jobs in various working sectors, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial services (Khanna, V., 2018), require workers to have specific skill sets. These are jobs which will be able to potentially reach out and compete in the global market to generate more economic growth for our country. Additionally, referring to document B, it is stated that employers “may not be able to find enough Singaporeans to fill up roles in [various] professions where the latest technology is used, [and it also] takes time to train locals in these areas with increased digitisation”. With immigrants, diverse talents and experiences are being brought into our workforce. Workers coming in on employment passes (EP) will also help us to be more globally competitive as they have qualifications for these high-level jobs and are specialised in their work sectors, according to population.sg. These ‘foreign talents’ can boost our economy and are, therefore, seen to be necessary and advantageous for our country.
Most importantly, we should welcome immigrants for the good of our country. According to the Singapore Population White Paper, an estimated 2 in 3 will work in a high-level job in 2030, compared to 1 in 2 today. As Singapore continues to develop, our citizens will become more educated and avoid working low-level blue-collar jobs. These jobs include shipyard workers, construction workers, sanitation staff and domestic helpers, according to Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Many lower-skilled immigrants can help fill up these essential jobs, which are facing an increasing shortage of workers (Jaumotte, F., 2016). These immigrants can also support the ageing population. With them as part of our workforce, they allow us to upgrade and take on higher-level jobs. Additionally, they can create a more dynamic society and increase income per person. Immigrants raise gross domestic product (GDP) per person as they help increase labour productivity. They can also help to boost trade and investment as they are able to provide our country with opportunities for internationalism and competitiveness (Khanna, V., 2018).
In conclusion, immigrants are important for the better of both our country and economy. Singapore should hence, encourage immigration and be open to immigrants as we can benefit from both national and economic developments.
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