Foreign workers constitute 25% of total population. This is significant.

One in four of population is a foreign worker in Singapore. Total population in Singapore was 5,399,200 last year. Of which, 1,320,000 were foreign workers making up 25% of total population.

Ministry of Manpower reported that as at the end of 2013, there were 1.32 million foreign workers comprising 1.1 million foreign workers (excluding foreign domestic workers) and 212,900 foreign domestic workers.

1.32 million foreign workers contributed to the Singapore economy. With more foreign workers, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can then grow according to the following economic formula:

GDP = Wages to employees + Proprietors’ income + Rental income of persons + Corporate Profits + Net Interest Income.

With a low total fertility rate of 1.19 per female and quite a constant labour force participation rate of 66.7%, one cannot hope for Singapore citizens to step up without the foreigners’ help and increase Singapore GDP year by year (except through higher productivity). The yearly growth in GDP is also the result of higher foreign worker numbers. Drastic cut-back in foreign worker numbers will impact GDP of Singapore in a significant way.

We are caught between a rock and a hard place. More foreigners sharing our limited resources are making Singaporeans uncomfortable in our own land. Prices of goods/services, transportation and housing are being pushed up higher as a result of higher demand arising from population growth.

Can Singapore afford to reduce economic growth in the future in order to reduce foreign worker numbers? Economic policies have long-term impact. Because of pursuit of economic growth in the past, policies set in the earlier years are now haunting us. As we move forward, the policy makers of today must consider the impact of more foreign workers on the well-being of those who are already staying here. It is not easy as I am well aware. But we, government and people, must tackle this head-on.

Population Mid 2013 estimates Foreign Workers Dec 2013 data
Resident (Citizens) 3,313,500 Foreign workers excl FDW 1,107,100
Resident (PR) 531,200 Foreign Domestic Workers 212,900
Total Resident Population 3,844,800 Total Foreign workers 1,320,000
Total population 5,399,200
Non-resident population 1,554,400
Source Singapore DOS Source Straits Times

(Sources: Singapore Department of Statistics and The Straits Times, 6 August 2014).

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One Response to Foreign workers constitute 25% of total population. This is significant.

  1. What type of economic growth have we been gunning for the past two decades? Countries like Switzerland have not had to import low-skilled foreign labour by the truckloads.

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