FOREIGNERS: FRIEND OR FOE?
In today’s globalised world, foreign workers and immigrants is a common sight in many counties now. There are an increasing number of foreigners in Singapore. In 2012, 40% of our total population consist of foreigners. They migrate from overseas to search for better career opportunities and better standards of living. There has always been a problem of the influx of foreign talent, and local Singaporeans feel that they are here to ‘steal jobs’ and are a looming threat to the economic and social stability. However, foreigners will increase the potential of labour workforce and boost Singapore’s economy. Hence, they gain more benefits than harm from the foreigners who are entering Singapore.
Firstly, with more foreigners entering Singapore, local Singaporeans feel that there is a threat to their job security and foreigners are taking up opportunities and better job prospects which are previously eligible to the locals. The jobs that the foreigners are taking up would have gone to the local Singaporeans. Also, there has been a rise of competition for the jobs available, in long run, it may exacerbate higher unemployment rates and a sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction among the locals and foreigners. Since job opportunities and promotions are not given to the locals as priority, Singaporeans will not feel a sense of belonging to Singapore. For example, in fast food restaurants, most of the workers are from Bangladesh, Philippines and India. Also, in a survey conducted by Straits Times, majority of the Singaporeans have an unpleasant impression of foreigners such as India and China as they are here to snatch their ‘rice bowls’. Thus, the threat of jobs being taken by foreigners is a serious problem in Singapore.
Secondly, with the influx of foreigners living and working in Singapore, there will be more social problems arising if the locals and foreigners are unable to cooperate and maintain a good relationship between them. Both sides maybe hostile to each other too. If the foreigners integrate into our society and mix only with their fellow people of the same ethnic group, there will be greater risk and tension between them and other racial groups due to isolation from the rest of the Singaporeans. Fights, quarrels and higher crime rates may occur which will disrupt peace and harmony in Singapore. Hence, serious effects will occur with more foreigners in Singapore.
On the other hand, skilled immigrants are beneficial to Singapore. Singapore is a small country and has limited natural resources so we depend heavily on our main resource, the people. With more foreigners coming in, our country will be able to increase our talent pool and improve the quality of labour workforce, making it industrious and highly efficient. Foreigners can also replenish the problem of low birth rate and ageing population in Singapore. Hence, our workforce will not deplete, having a deficiency, and instead will continue to strive. With foreign talent in Singapore, foreigners pass down the skills and techniques they learned back in their host countries, thus able to contribute and share ideas with the locals, upgrading their own expertise. This will lead to firms being able to prosper and bring about greater economic growth for Singapore. This will attract foreign firms and possible investors to invest in our properties in Singapore, and boost Singapore’s trade and economy. Hence, with more foreigners, it brings in more benefits than harms, improving labour workforce and better productivity.
Also, foreigners bring in social and cultural benefits to Singapore. They bring along their unique values and cultures here. The culture and traditions these foreigners have, helps to augment the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore, bringing us to be as the same level as other cosmopolitan cities such as London, France and LA. It also adds colour and liveliness. Instead of only the mixture of Chinese, Indian, Malay cultures, there will also be French, British, Italian cultures and traditions. There will also be a rise in tourism proportions, for example in Clarke Quay and Bugis, there are various restaurants and shops that comprises of different cultures which enhances unique appearance and style. Thus, Singapore is more well-known and people are being attracted to visit Singapore, the influx of Singaporeans brings more social and cultural benefits.
Lastly, these foreigners entering Singapore are not always here to snatch away job opportunities from the local Singaporeans. They are here to take up jobs which are low-skilled and jobs that local Singaporeans do not want to work as. For example, many of the foreigners hold low- skilled jobs such as construction workers, Maids and cleaners and they are mostly from India and Philippines. They take over some lower end jobs while most of the higher end jobs are kept for the locals. Hence the labour workforce is more trained and productive. Thus, the foreigners only filled up the available jobs which local Singaporeans do not want to take up so there are more paybacks than harm with foreigners entering Singapore.
In conclusion, foreigners bring more benefits than problems to Singapore as it has social and culture and economic benefits and a productive labour workforce. Hence everyone should work hard and create a peaceful and prosperous Singapore where everyone lives happily and feel a sense of belonging to Singapore.