Fewer granted PR status this year to ensure the quality of immigrants in Singapore
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Mr Wong Kan Seng has forecasted that there will be noticeably fewer number of Permanent Residence (PR) applications approved this year compared to 2009.
This is expected with the tightening of the immigration criteria implemented since the end of last year. ICA - Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, reported that out of the total of 132,200 PR applications received last year, and 115,900 of them processed, only 59,500 or 51 per cent were successful. And the majority of them qualified were under the Professional, Technical and Skilled Workers Scheme where they are contributing to the Singapore economy. Others who were granted PRs are either dependants of Singapore Citizens or are dependants of these economic PRs.
Despite the falling number of PRs to be granted, Mr Wong highlighted that the inflow of immigrants will help improve the old-age support ratio by increasing the number of economically active residents. Currently, Singapore has about 8.2 working adults in the resident population supporting 1 elderly person. If there were no PRs in Singapore, we would have 7.2 working adults supporting 1 elderly person. He added that Singapore still needs immigration to make up for the shortfall of babies and help ease the pressure of an ageing population.
In the recent National Day Speech, Singapore's Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong also addressed that Singapore needs more of immigrants and foreign workers. "We have very good people, but never enough," he said. Hence, there is the need to supplement our local pool of talent by drawing talent from all over the world as reinforcements to grow its economy and to create more jobs for Singaporeans. PM lee also touched on the necessity of immigrants to make up for Singapore's population shortfall. Despite the government's efforts to encourage more Singaporean couples to have more children, there were fewer babies in 2009 than there were in the year before.
Both PM Lee and DPM Wong emphasised that Singapore will continue to be stringent in its requirements for PR in order to carefully manage its numbers and ensure the quality of immigrants in Singapore. PRs will be issued to those who are able to contribute to Singapore and integrate well into society.