(PRWEB) September 15, 2011
Satish Bakhda's comment comes on the sidelines of the findings from the latest projections of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on the future population growth and change in Singapore. He further elaborated, “The fertility rate has failed to go up in spite of the government schemes like Baby Bonus. The resident population is ageing, with the economically active portion of the resident population remaining almost stagnant, the support burden on them will go up. Moreover, the exodus of international investments into Singapore requires a constant supply of workforce, failing which the country’s economic growth will be impaired.”
The IPS findings point out that even with a net inflow of 60,000 migrants each year, Singapore still needs to raise its Total Fertility Rate (TFR) if it is to ameliorate the problems of an ageing population, and ease the dependency burden on working adults. The study's findings make clear that if Singapore's long-term resident TFR remains lower than 1.3, and if there is no immigration, the resident population - comprising citizens and Singapore permanent residents - can be expected to decline and be extremely aged.
Recently, Singapore immigration policy was also discussed in the light of its population issue, at the dialogue session of the former Minister Mentor Mr. Lee Kuan Yew with the students of Nanyang Technological University. Mr. Lee pointed out the need for increasing the fertility rate from the present 1.15 to 1.8 or 2.1 per couple. He also highlighted that IPS calculation of 60,000 immigrants a year will be too high for the country to digest and 20,000 to 25,000 a year is an appropriate range.
Singapore, which has long been known for its open immigration policy, has been tightening its immigration criteria, in line with the growing disconcert among the locals who are feeling increasingly disadvantaged by the competition from immigrants. The levy for Singapore work permits was increased recently and the threshold salary for employment pass of middle level foreign workers has also been enhanced.
Commenting further he says, “Singapore’s ageing population is bound to increase the dependency burden on the economically active population, there is an urgent need to replace the loss of active workforce with enhanced birth rates or through calibrated immigration. In order to sustain growth, productivity and to create lucrative opportunities economically active people is indispensable. With the current full employment of resident population and the ageing factor, the investments that are flowing into the country will be left in lurch without sufficient workforce. So Singapore ought to remain open for immigrants at least until it can improve the fertility rate.”
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