• Monday, Oct 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:08 pm

As foreigners depart, Singapore sees population drop for first time since 2003

  • Published at 06:58 pm September 25th, 2020
Street in Singapore
Fle photo: People wearing protective face masks cross a street in Singapore's Orchard Road shopping district during the Covid-19 outbreak, in Singapore on August 17, 2020 Reuters

Singapore's non-resident population has more than doubled over the last 20 years

Singapore's population has shrunk for the first time since 2003 as travel curbs and job losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic have pushed foreign workers from the global business hub.

The overall population dropped by about 18,000 people, or 0.3%, to 5.69 million, according to an annual population report.

A sharp drop in foreigners, down 2% to 1.64 million, as well as a marginal fall in permanent residents, outweighed a modest rise in citizens, some of whom returned from overseas as the pandemic spread globally.

"These trends were largely due to Covid-19 related challenges, brought about by weak demand and travel restrictions," the report said, citing job losses in services, a sector heavily reliant on low-paid foreign labour.

As the economy faces the deepest recession in its history - an economic decline officially estimated between 5%-7% for the year - the government has been raising barriers for foreign hiring to preserve jobs for locals.

But authorities in the low-tax corporate hub, home to the Asian headquarters of many multinational companies, have also warned that a populist turn could hurt business.

"We must be careful not to give the wrong impression that we are now closing up and no longer welcoming foreigners," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech earlier this month, after an election in which opposition parties criticised the government's immigration policies as too slack.

Singapore's non-resident population has more than doubled over the last 20 years, powering population growth in a city-state with one of the world's lowest birth rates.

This has prompted recurring concerns about competition for jobs and the strains on public infrastructure, which again came to the fore on the July 10 ballot, in which the ruling People's Action Party ceded a record number of seats to the opposition.

"As activities ramp up there may be a manpower shortage again down the road," said Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank.

 


55
54
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail