I have listed several reasons to prove that our government is increasingly leaning towards foreigners and neglecting our own local Singaporeans.
Many Singaporeans have also lamented at the foreigner-first policies dished out blatantly so that they can be enticed to become citizens and vote for the ruling party out of gratitude during the general election.
- 60% of registered doctors in 2010 are foreigners
We ran an article last year in November about how the registration of foreign doctors outnumbered local ones in 2010.
On 2010, 331 Singaporeans received full and conditional medical registration (aka registering to be a doctor) and for foreigner doctors, the number is a whopping 484. [see this].
The NUS School of Medicine faculty has being freezing medical students to 300 even though there is a huge demand for practicing doctors due to our fast-aging population. This quota number has being there for the past few years and not being raise.
Many Singaporeans, aspiring to be doctors, have to pay astronomical fees amounting to $400, 000 to study abroad due to the unbelievable quota imposed on local graduates studying medicine.
The Duke-NUS Medical School has been accepting medical students since 2007 but their in-take is limited to 56 only for the year 2009.
The new Imperial College-NUS Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine can take in 50 medical students from year 2013 onwards expanding to a final target of 150.
Singaporeans have all along being frustrated by the government’s refusal to expand tertiary places in our local universities and many have to pay huge sums studying abroad.
Many have speculated that by limiting university places for local Singaporeans, there will then be always vacancies available for foreign talents to enter our country – in the hope that our country can truly be called a globalised nation.
In fact, Transitioning.org has seen many job advertisements placed in foreign-based agencies looking for medical doctors to work in our many restructured hospitals:-http://doctor-jobs-in-singapore.info/
Having more foreign doctors in our country may be the norm in future as many local doctors have emigrated to Australia, US or UK as the pay is better and the work hours more humane.
The latest I heard is our government has relaxed it’s ruling and allowed foreign lawyers to practise here – the onslaught of the foreign contingent continues…
Moreover, our productivity rate has also dropped off with the recent new influx of foreign workers.
Used to boast one of the highest productivity in the world a decade ago, the Singaporean worker has now dropped to 17th place in productivity ranking though we have worked the highest number of hours in the world (more than 2,400 hours in 2010).
Many have blamed the slackening work attitude of our foreign workers for the slide and with the current trend of hiring more foreigners, the slide will still be there as workers from third world countries and even European ones have problem adjusting to our high work rate here.
- Bond-free scholarships given to third world countries cheaply
Lianhe Zaobao recently published a damning article on the problems faced by foreigners graduating from our state universities. The article was picked up by blogger Veritas.
Since early 2010, when our government tightens up the immigration policy, ICA ceased to send PR invitations to foreign students perhaps due to the outcry of such easy-to-get PR applications from many local Singaporeans.
The PR invitation letter serves as a proof to the employee of PR eligibility, and hence, company here often considered favourably somebody with such a letter. Otherwise, the students would lose considerable advantage in the job market.
In the article, one student was reported as saying: “Half of my batch of students have gone home one year later……”
Two years have passed and many have returned to their own country without serving their bonds…and so far no one has pay the penalty of wasting millions of tax-paying money funding tiertiary education for foreigners from third world countries.
They also do not serve a single day of their signed three-year bond making mockery of our talent-policy emigration system.
PRC Hubei’s Dong Zhihong (24 years old), graduated in 2009 from Shenyang Normal University in International economics law, came to Singapore the same year to take up a scholarship for 1-year study in IT masters degree in NTU.
It is puzzling why our government provided scholarship to someone from the most obscure provincial “teachers college”, depriving our own students of the priviledge of studying for the master’s degree..
Our higher education institutions have all along allocate places to foreign students and many undergraduates in both NUS and NTU have complained of their overwhelming presence in the campus grounds.
Not only do they fail to mix and integrate with our local students but they tend to clique together with their own kind.
The polytechnics also have at least allocated 15% of their faculties’ places to scholars originating from many third world countries. They just need to simply serve out their study bond by working in Singapore for three years.
There is also no penalty in place if they return to their own country without serving their work term here.
Allocating specific places for foreigners to study here on bond-free scholarship not only deny our local students of a precious spot in our limited tiertiary institutions but fuel the anger of many Singaporeans that the government is not really caring enough for the welare of it’s citizens.
The government’s first duty is to look into the educational needs of our people rather than going all out and advertise in foreign papers for bond-free scholarship programmes for foreigners to study here.
- Half of our marriages now involves a foreign spouse
Singapore has also attracted a lot of foreigners who wanted to settle down here.
In 2008, 24,596 marriages were recorded in the city state – a third were between Singapore grooms and non-citizens (Oct 20, 2009, Diva & The Daily Chilli)
Shockingly, the figure jumped to half our marriages in 2010 involving a foreign spouse as the open-door policy of allowing in more than 1.3 million foreigners into our small city island have attracted all kinds of romantic liaisions to blossom
Divorce involving Singaporean grooms and non-Singaporean brides represented 11 per cent of the total number of cases in 2008.
For too long, our men have being marrying foreign brides from neighbouring countries because they could not convince our women folks to settle down with them.
Most of these men are probably in the lower income group and after a long while of searching, have to make do with simpler foreign brides from third world countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and of course China.
Shockingly, half our marriages in 2010 here involved a foreign spouse as the open-door policy of allowing in more than 1.3 million foreigners into our small city island have attracted all kinds of romantic liaisions to blossom.
A 40-something female friend of mine has recently announced to me that she is marrying an Egyptian man from Cairo.
They have met online and tied the knot after a whirlwind trip in Egypt.
She is currently trying to apply for permanent resident (PR) status for her foreign husband.
Not many foreign spouses managed to attain the coveted PR status as the authorities will firstly look into the qualification and work experience of the person.
Many foreign spouses also have to stay here on long term dependent passes which they have to renew every few months.
They are also not allowed to work here. Ironically, their children however will be listed as Singaporean citizens
There are tragic cases of foreign spouses having to travel back to their host countries because their dependent passes could not be renewed due to various reasons and the husbands have to raise their children all on his own.
The influx of foreign spouses not only disrupt the population composition of the country but also brought about much social problems for families here.
Cross-cultural marriages have brought along much stresses to our country as many couples belonging to his group divorced a few after marriage.
I have also known of Singaporeans women jumping on the bandwagon of ang mohs so that they can emigrate with their foreign husbands.
I hope that our Singaporean women will give our local men the first choice when it comes to settling down as if not, we will see a nation of mixed cross-cultural marriages with many eventually struggling to hold their families together due to the differences.
- Employment opportunites given to foreigners easily
As Singapore continues to open wide its door to foreigners for employment purposes, Singaporeans are feeling the effects of the unbalanced globalisation syndrome. One in three workers now is a foreigner.
Warned by several ministers that the economy will suffer if we do not welcome foreigners to our shore, Singapore faces all kinds of discrimination at the job front.
Without a proper vetting system on what kind of foreign talents we require, multi-national companies (MNC) have a field day hiring their own people to staff positions in Singapore.
From employing low-end positions such as personal assistants to high-flyer bankers, MNCs continue to shun locals preferring to hire their own kind – without really having to justify why such positions could not be filled by our locals.
In Australia, employers have to show proof that they have try their best to try and hire locals before they can make an attempt to hire a foreigner.
That is why employers over there will only hire PRs and citizens as it is so troublesome and time-consuming to bring in a foreign talent.
The opposite scenario happens here when it is so easy to hire a foreign worker – regardless of the fact that local Singaporeans are capable of performing the job.
The employer only needs to submit the relevant documentation for the right kind of work permit and if he meets the criterion, he is most likely approved for employment purposes.
The Employment Pass (EP) work permit system is the number one enemy for our local workers as there is no quota to how many EP holders a company can hire.
If the company can pay the EP holder a minimum of $3000 and has a degree to boot, there is every chance that his work permit will be approved.
In Europe and US whereby employment opportunities are at it’s dismal worst, many foreigners have harass their high-ranking business friends to pull them over.
To make matters worse, many expats who work here are paid double the salaries of local workers – performing about the same work scope.
According to HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2010, 45% of expats earned more than $265, 000 (US$200, 000) in Singapore.
According to the survey report, Singapore is ranked 1st by the proportion of expats who make more $200k USD a year. Bermuda is 2nd with 40% of its expats in the same income bracket. Hong Kong is 3rd with 36%, and Saudi Arabia a close 4th with 35%.
According to the report, 29% of expats in Singapore works in the finance industry.
Many companies are also staffed mainly by foreigners especially those that require solid IT software skills.
Companies such as HP, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citibank and many other foreign-based MNCs continued to hire thousands of Indians to carry out programming work – paying them at least $5000 for a junior programmer position.
A employer has recently asked me to supply him programmers for some work in his company but I told him that Singaporeans have long lost out on our programming skills.
During the semi-con boom few years back, our IT staff have all turned into managers and soon they have forgotten how to carry out simple programming stuff.
Singaporean tertiary students have also shun away from studying IT as they know that they will not be able to compete well with a foreign Indian who is seen to be more articulate in his programming skills.
Nevertheless, the Singapore worker on the other hand, continues to suffer from a lack of minimum wage legislation and our wage merely grows 0.3% for the past decade.
In a survey done in 2009 on the hourly compensation cost for the manfacturing sector, Singapore lagged behind in 21 place for paying it’s workers US$17.50 an hour. Norway tops the compensation cost by paying it’s manufacturing workers US$53.89 an hour whereas Philippines bottoms the list at US$1.50 an hour.
Young graduates, especially those from the arts faculty, could receive a job offer with a starting salary of around $2000! Only the government sector can be counted on to adequately pay their fresh grads close to $2500 for new entry positions – making the civil service the top most sought-after sector for young graduates fresh out of universities.
Employers from the small and medium enterprises have no choice but to hire PRS or foreign workers using all kinds of work permits to staff their positions as they are often the ones who pay poorly and demand the most work.
The average local household income of a typical Singaproean family was a surprising massive $7,440 – surveyed for the 2007-2008 period – but less than 60% of Singaporean hoseholds earn that figure (singstat.gov.sg).
The average monthly income of 60 per cent of the households was 5,480 Singapore dollars — nearly 2,000 Singapore dollars less than the national average household income.
The big difference is in how much the rich can save. Compare the average monthly incomes and expenditures of all the income groups. Apparently, the bottom 20 per cent live hand to mouth. Others can save. The top 20 per cent on average can save twice as much as they spend. You can see the difference here. All the figures are from the survey (pressrun.net)
|Income quintile||Average monthly household income||Average monthly household expenditure|
The number of millionaires in Singapore is also expected to more than double by 2016 to 408,000, Credit Suisse said in a recent report.
There are currently 183,000 millionaires in Singapore, the second richest country in the Asia Pacific region with an average wealth of 285,000 U.S. dollars.
Nevertheless, it is unknown how many of these millionaires are foreigners who have stashed away their unseen millions here to escape detection in their own countries.
More worrying. our high Gini coefficient means that there is gross inequality in terms of wages earned between the top and bottom 20% of income earners.
Mr Tharman, our DPM, said in his address at the Insititute of Policy Studies’ Singapore Perspectives 2012 Conference this week: “We have a higher Gini coefficient in Singapore compared to most larger countries because we are a global city. Hong Kong, London, the key American cities, and the leading Chinese and Indian cities in fact have somewhat higher inequality than Singapore. We can”t resign ourselves to widening inequality. Unlike these other cities, we are a country. We have to try to contain inequality and ameliorate its effects on our society.” (Straits Times, 21 Jan)
Strangely, our government does not seem to allow minimum wage legislation to contain the growing inequality problem here flaming suspicion that the business community has enormous influence over the country compared to the voters.
Thousands of MNCs pulled out from Singapore citing growing wage costs as one of the main reason for doing so during the semi-con meltdown in 2008. Many MNCs relocated to cheaper countries such as Vietnam, India or China.
Moreover, with an average inflation rate of around 2.5% for the past few years, we are effectively receiving negative growth for our wages – with far less disposable income to spend compared to our foreign friends who received almost double the amount in wages.
It is no wonder our expensive pubs and fine restaurants are mostly patronised by foreigners who have a fat wallet to spend.
Our F1 formula events and artistic concerts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium are also mostly attended by rich foreigners who have money to burn – leaving us locals struggling to pay for all the utilities and town council bills.
It is also a mystery why MNCs prefer to spend an enormous sum on wages when they could hire a local worker at almost half the cost.
Foreign talents cost at least double that of local workers due to the expensive rental allowance here and many could not also match the productivity level of our more hard -working locals.
When I lunched recently in Asia Square foodcourt, I was saddened to see so many foreigners working there.
More than half of the office workers lunching there are either ang mohs, Indians or Filipinos – our local workers represented a far second in this new financial hub whereby all the big business boys congregated.
Are we so short in talent? Do we have to bring in so many foreign talents to make up for the shortfall in our local workforce?
Is there then also something deficient in our tertiary educational system which continues to limit the intake of higher-education students to about 23% of the primary school cohort?
Many netizens have speculated that it is a sinister plot designed by our government to allow in more foreign talents as there will always be this shortage of workers if we limit the number of tertiary places for Singaporeans.
Foreign talents are then welcome to become PRs and subsequently citizens as most foreigners-turned-citizens are loyal and most likely will vote for the ruling party out of gratitude.
As many as 130, 000 foreigners have became citizens during the past decade and this represented about 7% of the total electorate size of 2.2 million voters.
Some have also speculated that a number of constituencies would have been lost to the opposition camp during the last election if not for this huge contingent of loyal foreign-breed citizens.
It is with this self-centred reason that the ruling party will continue to bring in large number of EP work permit holders with the hope that more foreigners will become citizens in preparation for the next election in 2016.
There is no other way to turn against the tide of anti-government onslaught which has increased with the popularity of online social media and a younger group of antagonistic Singaporeans yearning for political change.
The last I heard is 50, 000 Singaporeans remained jobless though this figure represents less than 2.5% of the total unemployment rate. The US unemployment rate stays at close to 5%.
Transitioning.org continues to speak to PMETs – many at the wrong age group of between 40-55 years old, staying on the sidelines while the country churns along with high GDP growth.
They agonised over years of experience chalked up when they were much younger and now the country has spew them out of their mouth when they are older.
Many have became cab drivers or property agents in order to survive.
The current high influx of foreign workers have also brought in all kinds of social problems as we have seen more dead bodies turned up in the island state.
There is also a lack of integration programmes with the foreigners and many prefer to keep to themselves.
Foreigner issue will figure largely on the minds of Singaporeans especially when there is a financial crisis looming.
Many will also want to know which kind of workers the employers will lay off when the crisis bites later on.
All hell will break loose if the employers retain a majority of their foreign workers and retrench local ones.
Transitioning.org assures our readers that we will be the first to gather a protest at Speakers’ Corner if we hear of such stuff going on in our country.
Singapore for Singaporeans!
Written by: Gilbert Goh