The main aspects of the future economy are sustainability and competitiveness.
First of all, for Singapore’s population to be sustainable in the future, it needs to have a continuous growth or just a maintenance. However, Singapore has a low yet falling Resident Total Fertility Rate, which fell from the peak of 1.96 births per female in 1988 to 1.16 births per female in 2017. (Department of Statistics Singapore, 2018). And this has contributed to an increasingly ageing population. By 2030, the gap between the young and old in Singapore is expected to widen considerably, the percentage of seniors will rise to 27%, and that of youths will fall to 10.8%. (The Business Times, 2017). This will mean that Singapore’s workforce size will continue to shrink. To minimise these problems, we need to have immigrants coming into our country.
The worries that come along having immigrants is that the position of the core citizens will be moved. What these Singaporeans fails to consider is that according to the White Paper. The impact of the immigration is too minimal to affect the core, which is at the same time, very under control of the Government. As immigrants are not non-residents, they are potential permanent residents or naturalised citizens. They have adapted and made contributions to Singapore, and not as different as any one of us. Having ancestors that came to Singapore decades ago, we are also “naturalised” citizens. Therefore, we should learn to accept them and help them integrate into our society. (Government of Singapore, 2017).
There are some lessons which we could learn from Japan’s experience. Japan was in a bad economy state, coupled with an ageing population but was reluctant to accept immigrants. It caused their problem to worsen and led to an economic stagnation of 10 years. (World Economic Forum, 2016). This has proved that getting growth from an ageing, shrinking society is difficult. Thus, Singapore must have a sustainable population.
Secondly, Singapore needs to be competitive in the future economy. (why?) In order to have a slice of cake to share in the future, Singapore needs to have competitiveness in the high-technology sector. As Singapore does not have so many people with such abilities, it needs to continue accepting highly skilled PMETs.
The White Paper shows that the Government has an inclination of taking in immigrants with high abilities. An positive example will be the United States of America. America is an immigration country, which endeavors for highly skilled foreign talents. This is a main reason why it is the number one when it comes to technology and economy. The reality is that a responsible immigration policy has served as a rising tide for economic growth, and has helped strengthen US leadership in the world. following: More than half the billion dollar companies in the US are founded by an immigrant. Each of these, on average, create 760 new jobs. Immigrants are job makers, not job takers. Their entrepreneurial drive combined with high representation in higher education programs will help keep the nation’s innovative spirit strong — as well as its competitive edge in the world. (Huffpost, 2017).
All in all, for Singapore to have sustainability and competitiveness to strive in the future economy, it needs to continue to be open to immigrants.
1. Department of Statistics Singapore. (2018). Population trends. [on-line] URL: https://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistics/visualising-data/storyboards/population-trends (17 April 2018).
2. Government of Singapore. (2017). National Integration Council. [on-line] URL: https://www.nationalintegrationcouncil.org.sg/ (22 July 2018).
3. Huffpost. (2017). How Immigration Benefits Americans And Is Key To US Leadership In The World. [on-line] URL: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-immigration-benefits-americans-and-is-key-to-us_us_59b6db42e4b02bebae75f071 (22 July 2018).
4. The Business Times. (2017). Singapore’s ageing population a ticking ‘time bomb’. [on-line] URL: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapores-ageing-population-a-ticking-time-bomb (22 July 2018).
5. World Economic Forum. (2016). Why is Japan’s economy shrinking? [on-line] URL: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/02/why-is-japans-economy-shrinking/ (21 April 2018).