Singapore Interested To Bring In More Workers From Abroad

22 Jul 2010


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Singapore media during a week trip to US that Singapore government plans to allow more than 100,000 foreign workers into the city-state this year.

Singapore had declared a record economic growth some time back and is interested to bring in more workers from abroad to help keep inflation low, apparently backsliding on a commitment to bringing in foreigners. Earlier this year, the government has pledged to increase the inflow of foreigners as part of a policy shift towards boosting economic growth through higher productivity.

"If we don't allow the foreign workers in, you are going to have overheating of the economy,” Lee said in a Straits Times article posted Thursday on the prime minister's website. "We have to accept that."

Singapore’s boom has been fueled by foreign laborers who are willing to do jobs in areas such as construction and hospitality for lower wages than locals. Singapore also tries to attract what is known locally as "foreign talent" - educated professionals from abroad to work in the finance industry and other high-paying sectors. Foreign workers now comprise about a third of the island’s 3 million work force and about a fourth of the total population.

The government said on Wednesday that gross domestic product soared 19.3 percent in the second quarter, the fastest growth since the government began releasing quarterly GDP figures in 1975. Singapore expects the economy to grow up to 15 percent this year.

Singapore is seeking to diversify its economy towards tourism and foreign workers are playing a key role in building and staffing projects such as Casino resorts which have helped attract record visitors.


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