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

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It was largely as a consequence of COVID-19 associated challenges, says an annual population report

Singapore’s population has shrunk for the first time since 2003 as journey curbs and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic have pushed international employees from the worldwide enterprise hub.

Also learn: COVID-hit Mustafa Centre in Singapore to ship again international employees

The total population dropped by about 18,000 folks, or 0.3%, to five.69 million, in keeping with an annual population report.

A pointy drop in foreigners, down 2% to 1.64 million, in addition to a marginal fall in everlasting residents, outweighed a modest rise in residents, a few of whom returned from abroad because the pandemic unfold globally.

“These trends were largely due to COVID-19 related challenges, brought about by weak demand and travel restrictions,” the report mentioned, citing job losses in companies, a sector closely reliant on low-paid international labour.

As the economic system faces the deepest recession in its historical past — an financial decline formally estimated between 5%-7% for the 12 months — the federal government has been elevating limitations for international hiring to protect jobs for locals.

But authorities within the low-tax company hub, house to the Asian headquarters of many multinational firms, have additionally warned {that a} populist flip may harm enterprise.

“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 mentioned in a speech earlier this month, after an election by which opposition events criticised the federal government’s immigration insurance policies as too slack.

Singapore’s non-resident population has greater than doubled over the past 20 years, powering population development in a city-state with one of many world’s lowest beginning charges.

This has prompted recurring issues about competitors for jobs and the strains on public infrastructure, which once more got here to the fore on the July 10 poll, by which the ruling People’s Action Party ceded a report variety of seats to the opposition.

“As activities ramp up there may be a manpower shortage again down the road,” mentioned Selena Ling, head of treasury analysis and technique at OCBC Bank.



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