Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Saturday January 13th 2018

10 Problems Faced by Project Integration Foreigners

Problem 1: Foreigners making more money than locals

The future scene states that foreigners enjoy fine-dining in Marina Bay neighbourhood while locals lament the cost of increasing hawker food. (FACT) This could be problematic in 2032 because foreigners are making more money than locals which may result in local Singaporeans who are poorer despise the foreigners. Locals may loathe the presence of foreigners as they earn more money and may vent their anger on them and their dissatisfaction may be amplified through social media. (INFERRED PROBLEM) This may lead to discord in society’s harmony and prejudice against foreigners taking root in the society.  (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to the Evening Standards, expat british banker Anton Casey mocked the people in the MRT by calling them poor in a facebook post as well as calling a taxi driver a ‘retard’. This has caused him to be abused online by many and fired from his job.

Razaq, R., & Drummond, A. (2014, January 22). Expat banker who mocked ‘stench of poor’ on public transport faces fury of Singapore. Evening Standard. Retrieved March 8, 2016, from

According to Expat arrivals, for high wage earners, Singapore presents one of the most attractive expat destinations in the world. Key industries for expats in Singapore include finance (employing under a quarter of its expat population), construction and manufacturing.  This shows that expats working in Singapore are paid quite well for Singapore to be perceived as an attractive destination for them.

Salaries for expats in Singapore | Expat Arrivals. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to HRD Singapore, the latest ECA Expatriate Market Pay Survey, the average expatriate middle manager in Singapore earns an average of US$259,000. This is extremely high and is about 4 times the average earning of a local.  We are now the seventh place in Asia Pacific for highest pay package levels, as a new survey reveals.  Now, the rising cost of an expatriate package in Singapore will make some companies think twice about where they set up in the region.  This shows how much expats are earning in Singapore are making a lot more money than locals. This may also cause unrest amongst locals.

Top expat salaries in Asia revealed: Where does Singapore rank? (Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 2: Singaporeans wish to migrate.

The future scene states that 77% of Singaporeans harbour the desire to migrate. (FACT)  This may be problematic as it might lead to a shrinking workforce as Singapore will lose many local workers.  Singapore will also have a decrease and lack of people/manpower, ‘forcing the government to bring in more foreigners.  (INFERRED PROBLEM) In the long run, it may result in a smaller base of working citizens which may decrease the number of working adults supporting the elderly. (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to the U.S. news, owing to the aging population in baby boomers. more workers are leaving the U.S. workforce, causing the workforce to shrink.  What this means is that now, the US will have fewer workers and thus, affecting the economy.

Soergel, A. (2015, July 16). Unemployment is low but more workers are leaving the workforce. Singapore may also face these problems due to the aging population Singapore would have in 2030. Retrieved April 2, 2016, from

According to Issue paper 2012 Our Demographic Challenges and What These Mean to Us, the number of elderly would triple by 2030 and Singapore would have a smaller base of working citizens. It is estimated that there would only be 2.1 working citizens for each citizens aged 65 and above in 2030, compared to 2011 where there was 6.3 working citizens per citizens aged 65 and above. There would be a shrinking customer base in Singapore and there might be insufficient manpower. With an increasingly educated Singapore population, young people might leave Singapore for other more exciting global cities, worsening our old-age support ratio.

Our Population, Our Future. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

According to Asia One, a Mindshare survey carried out early this year found that 56 per cent of the 2,000-odd polled agreed or strongly agreed that, “given a choice, I would like to migrate”.  In June 2012, there were 200,000 Singaporeans living abroad for at least six cumulative months in the previous 12 months, a 27 per cent increase from nine years ago, says the National Population and Talent Division.  This shows that many Singaporeans actually harbour the desire to migrate which can really harm our country as we will lose a lot of people and manpower and thus, will have to take in more foreigners.

More than half of S’poreans would migrate if given a choice: Survey. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20121007-376116.html

Problem 3: Singapore is too dependent on foreigners

The scenario states that Singapore had replaced the Permanent Resident scheme with the Foreign Residence Scheme had offered foreigners benefits likened to the permanent foreigners now. (FACT) This may be problematic as this shows Singapore is providing these incentives for on foreigners to work and stay in Singapore and we are getting a little too dependent on them.(INFERRED PROBLEM) Foreign workers also have voting powers and other incentives in other countries, it may be very risky if another country provides better incentives or pull factors. If so, Singapore may lose a huge chunk of its workforce to other countries and its economy may crumble.(LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to website, the increase in senior citizens in Singapore may require more money spent on healthcare and long term care which may lead to higher taxes to support the aging population. This would cause Singapore’s economy and workforce to be weaker, resulting in the need for more foreigners.

How does the shrinking local workforce affect Singapore’s economy. (2012, October 29). Retrieved April 02, 2016, from

According to Our Population, Our future website, there are 0.54m PRs and 1.46m non-residents. This means that a whopping 38% of Singapore’s population consist of non-locals.  What this means is that it shows us that we, Singapore, are in real need of foreigners now.  This is evident from the number of foreigners as it shows that if we are letting so many of them in. It shows that we really need them, otherwise, we wouldn’t be letting so many of them into Singapore for no reason.

Our Population, Our Future. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to a government policy paper called for the population to increase a further 30 percent by 2030, to 6.9 million, at which time immigrants would account for 2.5 million people. This was written not long ago and shows the dependence and extreme need for foreigners.  The government was and is using foreigners to curb many problems in Singapore, this shows our reliance for foreigners.

Singapore’s Foreigner Problem. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 4: Individual Cities are becoming more important than countries

The future scene states that roamers find loving a city much easier than loving a country and individual cities are becoming more important than countries. (FACT) It may be problematic as this might lead to a lack of national pride.( INFERRED PROBLEM) Which may lead to disputes in between cities of the same nation, and  may cause more disputes and rivalry in between cities of the same nation threatening a nation’s harmony. (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to the Journalist Resource, today, a majority of the world’s population lives in cities.  This means in 2050, two-thirds of all people on the planet are projected to call urbanized areas their home. This trend will be most prominent in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America: More than 90% of the global urban growth is taking place in these regions, adding 70 million new residents to urban areas every year.  This proves and shows that cities are getting more popular and populated, leading to an increase of importance of these cities.  Another evidence is that for the many poor in developing countries, cities embody the hope for a better and more prosperous life.  The 750 biggest cities on the planet account for 57% of today’s GDP, and this share is projected to rise further. This clearly shows that cities are now emerging and growing rapidly.  What this can potentially cause is that it will now cause citizens of the world to really become “cityzens” instead of citizens of a country.


Economic growth and developing world cities: The benefits of urban clustering – Journalist’s Resource. (2014). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

According to the Independent website, the government said it wanted to introduce more foreign workers to offset Singapore’s notoriously low birth rate.  However, if lesser locals leave Singapore, there will be more workers and lesser foreigners will have to migrate here to offset the ‘notoriously low birth rate’.  While the plan was broadly welcomed by business leaders, the proposals triggered a rare outburst of political anger in a country better known for quiet stability and political apathy. Thus, this means that is this issue is tackled, lesser unhappiness among locals will be prevalent.

The age of the city-state: which cities most dominate their countries?

Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to the guardian tells us that the largest 300 cities, from New York to Guangzhou, account for nearly half (48%) of world economic output yet contain only 19% of world population.  Some cities are so powerful economically that they dwarf the rest of their country. The number of jobs they house and GDP they generate can account for almost half of their nations’ output, if not more. They are no longer just cities: they are approaching the status of city-state.  London, for example, produces more than 30% of Britain’s entire GDP. Neither is it the most extreme example: it is just 30th on the list of cities that most dominate their countries .  This shows that cities are now rising which poses a huge risk to real countries.

Michael, C., & Mead, N. (2014). The age of the city-state: Which cities most dominate their countries? Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 5: Ailing public transport disrupts local worker’s lives

The future scene states that the foreigner who wrote the scene said he that does not need to take the ailing MRT with the locals.(FACT) This may be problematic as the mrt is a major transportation system and if it is ailing, it may break down more often and disrupt the lives of many locals that take the MRT. It could cause a lack of trust in the reliability of our public transport and may spark anger towards transport companies.

According to the Today’s online newspaper, when in what could potentially be the worst MRT breakdown to date, services on the North-South and East-West Lines came to a complete halt for several hours during evening rush hour, there were many angry people complaining about SMRT not being effective enough to tell them there was a train breakdown on the circle line. There were also commuters that complained about the shuttle buses not being clear enough, causing mass confusion.

MRT breakdown: North-South, East-West lines down for hours. (2015, July 8). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to the LTA, more than 2.5 million people ride the MRT everyday in Singapore. If there were to be a MRT breakdown, a large number of people will be affected, 2.5 million, almost 50% of Singapore’s population. In the future, there would be even more people taking the MRT and a MRT disruption may disrupt a greater population of people.

Riding a Train. (2015, June 17). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to Today, some SMRT staff were upset as they felt that SMRT cared more about getting the problem fixed more than the worker’s safety. One commuter, technician Timothy Hoong feel that when the train is operational, nobody should be on the tracks for safety reasons … It’s all right to delay the train service than to just go ahead with the maintenance to avoid in somebody getting killed. Many people had offered condolences to the dead staff.

Kamil, A., & Lee, C. (2016, March 22). Some SMRT staff upset over apparent disregard for workers’ safety. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 6: Singaporeans unable to accept foreigners

The future scene states Singaporeans use their pidgin language to spit unkind and rude messages to foreigners who are in Singapore.  Locals had also organised a Ang Mo out movement at Hong Lim Park(Fact stated in scenario) This could be problematic as Singaporeans are expressing hatred toward foreigners causing foreigners to feel hurt, worsening the foreign local relations. (Inferred problem)  This will give foreigners a bad impression of our country and be a disincentive for potential foreign talents to come to Singapore. (Larger consequence)

According to a Straits Times newspaper article posted in 2013, the writer, a foreign talent himself, shares his views on how it feels like to be a foreigner.  He said that it stings to see some of the online comments about “FT scum” – a less-than- flattering term for foreign talent.  He said that  we were a “ nation grappling with an intense debate about how many newcomers to allow in and what role they should play in society.”  He also felt that “even foreigners who do not sink roots are hardly bandits who simply take without leaving anything behind”.  He mentioned that he was quite hurt and disturbed by the comments posted online.  This shows how a foreigner feels about Singapore. We are concerned that this can potentially lead to more harm as these foreign talents actually work very hard and contribute immensely towards our economy.

  1. C. (2013). Don’t hate me because I’m a foreigner. Retrieved April 09, 2016, from

According to Transitioning .org, they have conducted a poll on their blog in March and out of the 1010 respondents, 873 or 86.44% have indicated that they are uncomfortable with the idea of mass-importing foreigners to solve our low birth rate problem.  They feel that our infrastructure has also suffered under the severe strain of new immigrants as they all know that there isn’t enough housing to house the 200,000 over new foreigners that flood the country in the last five years which has incidentally caused the housing price index to skyrocket alot recently.  This causes locals to have a prejudice and hatred against foreigners.

Singaporeans – do you feel like you are being replaced by foreigners in your own country? | Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed. (2012). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

According to Dr NTU, based on a sample size of 237 Singaporeans, results suggest that nationalism and education level were correlated to xenophobia, while income level, gender and macroeconomic knowledge were not correlated to xenophobia.  Malaysian foreign talent are the least resented by Singaporeans, while PRC foreign talent are the most resented by Singaporeans. Results further suggest that overcrowding issues contributes to xenophobia the most, followed by economic issues, government perception issues and lastly, cultural issues.  This shows that xenophobia is actually prevailing in Singapore and is happening.  This survey tells us what are the causes of xenophobia and that it is real in Sinagpore.

Xenophobia in Singapore : A study on foreign talent. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 7: Foreigners taking over Singapore’s political system

The future scene states that Singapore had replaced the Permanent Residence Scheme with the Foreign Residence Scheme and offers foreign residents who had stayed for 3 years to vote in and run for general elections (FACT).   This may be problematic as foreigners may take advantage of the voting rights and vote in favour of their own candidates (INFERRED PROBLEM).  Singapore may end up having to suffer the consequences of selfish decision that may be made by foreigners who can choose to leave anytime when a problem arises (LARGER CONSEQUENCE).

According to the Election Department Singapore, as at now, in order to vote, one needs to be a citizen of Singapore, at least 21 years old and an ordinarily resident or deemed to be ordinarily resident in Singapore at an address that is in that constituency.  Voting is an exclusive privilege unique to citizens.  By taking this away, we are actually taking away one of the Singapore’s exclusive benefits.  Voting may be taken lightly by locals if their voices lose out to that of the foreigners’.  Their vote will not be solely the one deciding the outcome of the General Elections.   This may anger them resulting in irrational voting decisions.

WHO CAN VOTE? Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to The Telegraph, MigrationWatch said that there are now 960 000 Commonwealth citizens that could vote in Britain’s elections. However, the Labour government is doing nothing about it although black and minority races make up a good amount of Commonwealth citizens living in Britain and are more likely to vote for Labour than Liberal, Democrat or Conservative.  This relates to our problem as it also talks about how foreigners are allowed to vote and what will happen if they are allowed.

Barrett, D. (2013, August 28). Million foreign voters could sway result of next general election, warns report. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

According to the Straits Times, it has projected in project white paper that there would be around 2.5 foreigners in Singapore. With this much foreigners in Singapore, coupled with the Foreign Residence scheme, the 2.5 foreigners would be able to change the outcome of the elections by a huge margin and can definitely have to potential to sway the election results as Singapore’s population is projected to only be at 6.9 million in 2030.

Sustainable population for a dynamic Singapore. (2013, January 30). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 8: Singapore’s economy might take a hit from transient foreigner talent workforce

The future scene states that the writer feels that 3 years is a really long time to be in a city these days and that locals are just as transient as his life. (FACT)  This could be problematic as foreigners play a huge part in maintaining the Singapore’s economy and if they feel that they are transient, they may leave when other countries provide better incentives. (INFERRED PROBLEM)  Thus, it would be very risky if the foreigners leave as it  may upset the management structure of the companies in Singapore as it may not be easy to get a replacement for their specialised positions which may in turn cause Singapore’s eecoomy to fall. (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to  TODAY’s interviews with 15 foreigners from a range of occupations and who have spent some time here, some felt that although Singaporeans treated them well when with them but discriminated them behind their back through social media.  They also felt that they were being tolerated rather than welcomed.  They felt left out and looked down upon and thus many of them tend to put their heads down, take their salary, pay their taxes, and are grateful for their lifestyles and try not to create ripples.  Further, foreign talents come to Singapore because of the incentives given by the government.  This means that foreigners do not have the obligation to  stay in Singapore as their heart will still be with the country they origin from.  If the incentives were taken away due to reason such as changes in government policy, foreign talents may just leave.  Thus, this can affect the economy as they can leave anytime and this will cause harm to our economy.

Laura Elizabeth Philomin (Apr 2015). Are Singaporeans anti-foreigner? Not in the real world. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from

According to Our Population, Our Future, foreign workers can be found in different sectors of the economy. They benefit Singapore in several ways.  First, access to high-skilled foreign workers facilitates economic upgrading and restructuring by helping to anchor new industries in Singapore, and complement Singaporean workers.  Second, foreign workers provide businesses the flexibility to respond to fluctuations in economic conditions, and to seize growth opportunities when they emerge.  Third, foreign workers complement the resident workforce in certain sectors, such as the construction and marine sectors, by taking on lower-skilled jobs that support higher-tier professional jobs held by Singaporeans.  Thus, if they leave Singapore, we will lesser experts and workers to help us during a crisis or improve our economy.  This can hurt and cause a tremendous amount of damage to our economy.

Our Population, Our Future. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to, Foreign workers not only helped the Singapore economy to grow but also helped raise the median income of Singaporeans, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said. By some estimates, a third or more of Singapore’s 6.8% average annual growth from 2003 to 2008 came from the expansion of its labour force, primarily expatriates, allowing Singapore to post growth more commonly associated with poor developing nations.  This is how much the foreigners has helped us.  As such, if they leave, Singapore’s economy will be in hot water.

Foreign workers boosted economy and wages: Tharman. (2010). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Problem 9: Loss of culture

The future scene states that foreigners know little about Singapore’s history and cultural heritage.(FACT) This could be problematic as Singapore’s cultural heritage and history might be forgotten and practices and culture may be discontinued.(INFERRED PROBLEM)  This may lead to a dilution of Singapore’s culture by foreigners who come into Singapore and influence locals into adopting a differnet culture.. (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to Janice Lim, although China national workers are just one part in Singapore’s fast growing foreign population, they are the largest group of expatriates in Singapore, and even crossed the 1 million mark, boosting the overall population to about 4.5 million in an otherwise ageing society.  According to government statistics, Singapore citizens currently make up 63% of the population, down from 86% in 1990.  The influx of Chinese national foreign workers to Singapore, has contributed to the dilution of Singapore’s cultural identity, due to the use of their own language, mainly Chinese. Many of them are Chinese-speaking monolinguals. The emphasis of Singapore’s education system on the Chinese language also results in Chinese nationals not seeing the need to speak English in Singapore, and hence do not conform to Singaporean norms.  This makes our cultural identity less distinct through the transfer of foreign China cultures to Singapore through globalization.  This is how foreigners has indirectly shaped our culture.

  1. L. Influx of foreigners diluting Singapore’s cultural identity. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to PMC, migration has contributed to the richness in diversity of cultures, ethnicities and races in developed countries.  Migration involves the loss of the familiar, including language (especially colloquial and dialect), attitudes, values, social structures and support networks.  In order to be accustomed to our society and environment, some foreigners might try implementing and bring some of their culture or beliefs into Singapore.  This can and will affect our culture and can cause us to lose some of the uniquely Singapore things(eg. Singlish).

Bhugra, D., & Becker, M. A. Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to the Straits Times, Singapore is not ethnically homogeneous or have some kind of concept that is uniquely Singaporean. It also states that many singaporeans fear that the Singapore identity will be diluted by foreigners. One example is in 2011, a mainland chinese family complained about the smell of curry that their Indian neighbours were cooking and wanted the town council to stop them from cooking curry. This is an example of how foreigners can dilute the Singapore Identity.  Thus, we feel and bring to you through this example that foreigners have changed our culture in one way or another.

Problem 10:  Rise in cost of living

The future scene states that a plate of Char Kway Teow costs $15 dollars.(FACT) This could be problematic as this means is that in the future (2032), the cost of living will be really high, almost triple.  Currently, Singapore is already one of the most expensive city in the world. Which means that cost of living would be very high in the future.(INFERRED PROBLEM)   This may cause expats or foreign talents who are essential to SIngapore’s economy to go to countries where it is cheaper to live in.  (LARGER CONSEQUENCE)

According to CNBC, the rising cost of living in Singapore, one of the world’s richest countries, is a major concern for the young population, a survey conducted by Singapore Polytechnic has found.  In the last three weeks of June the Mass Media Research survey interviewed 825 people between the ages of 15-35 living in Singapore, and found that nearly 100 percent said financial stability was among their top three aspirations, along with strong family relationships and work-life balance.  Nearly all participants also said they hoped to see Singapore as an affordable place to live in five years’ time.  Singapore was recently ranked as the world’s seventh most expensive city in Expatistan’s Cost of Living index, while its property market is among the world’s top ten most expensive, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Now, this means that Singapore one of the most expensive cities in the world, thus, rapidly increasing the cost of living and thus, locals may not be able to adjust to such a spike. This may create a push factor for locals to migrate and leave Singapore for a ‘cheaper’ country.  This research tells us that locals feel that Singapore is getting too expensive and and this may cause more locals to be broke and not able to afford living here.

Cost of living a major worry for young Singaporeans. (2014). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from–a-worry-for-young-singaporeans-survey.html

According to another of CNBC’s article , Expats are being drawn by cheaper costs in Singapore’s neighbouring countries. For example, Darika Suter, who has lived in Singapore for 24 years, is re-locating her antiques business to the Thai island Phuket in March. She says that while higher costs are not the only reason for the move they certainly make it no “fun” to do business in Singapore any longer.  Paul Dodson, who works for an international bank and lives in Singapore with his wife and two children said: “When I moved here in 2004, I used to think that everything was cheap especially because the (British) pound was stronger against the Singapore dollar,”

However, he feels that not just that prices have gone up, but because sterling has weakened, it has felt like there is a double-whammy effect.  Singapore is also one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a car, with permits to buy new vehicles called a certificate of entitlement (COE) adding to the cost of buying a car in Singapore. A Honda City for example costs about US$120,887 in Singapore and about US$29,000 in neighboring Malaysia.  This evidently shows that Singapore’s cost of living has risen by a lot and Singapore has been more expensive to live in.

  1. D. (2013, January 30)Singapore’s High Cost of Living Comes at a Cost. (2013). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

According to  Todayonline, out of a list of 25 issues, three consistently registered as concerns among participants of a survey* on the Government’s work since the 2011 General Election: Cost of living, housing affordability and the inflow of foreigners. However, let’s concentrate on the cost of living.  There was a survey done on approximately 2000 people and the dominant sentiment was that pay increases have not kept up with rising expenses.  A significant proportion (71 per cent) acknowledged that things for middle-income earners and those most in need had been made easier by the Government. Still, more than eight in 10 (87 per cent) said they have had to “make financial compromises in their everyday life” in recent times as a result of the rising cost of living.  Now, this issue of the cost of living through this survey has been proven, by this survey, to be real and legitimate.  We recognise this as a problem as more people will now not be able to afford living in Singapore which can lead to detrimental effects such as mass migration.  Thus, we feel that this should be addressed.

Cost of living a worry for many. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from

Editor’s note: This article is retrieved from projectintegrationforeigners.

Number of View: 2094

Leave a Reply