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TOC reader questions policy on foreign immigrants

The following is a letter sent to us by a TOC reader.

Source: transitioning.org

Me and my wife had a conversation a few days ago. I was telling her that with the current government policies on importing foreign workers from abroad, our children (age 4,6), ourselves (age 31,35), our parents (ages 50s to 60s) will be facing many challenges ahead. My wife asked me to explain.

Our children - they will face more competiton from their peers in school. As demand for more places come from children of Permanent Residents (PR), places in school will be affected and whether or not our children will be left out is still unknown. Pressure on the parents to make sure their children do well will arise. I am not saying that competition is bad but for some good primary schools or secondary schools, there are limited places available. With the influx of PR children, in one way or another, our Singaporean children will be affected. My wife agreed.

Ourselves - working adults having spent 10 years in the same company. With our gradual increase in salary annually, we will be deemed more expensive compared to the new foreign workers.

When will such government policies affect us? I am not sure but after reading many stories in the news, many Singaporeans are being displaced and adults in their 40s are having difficulty securing jobs. Why? Simply because employers have more options to employ cheaper and younger workers. This is where our government should do much more to protect the jobs of Singaporeans.

Recently, two families of Philippines PRs moved in next door. The mother of one of the families was working as a sales co-ordinator at a retail shop and the father working odd jobs. The second family was a larger one, with members - I suppose - working entry level jobs. I thought to myself: what the hell are they doing here? Are they the "foreign talents" mentioned to us by our government?

By the way, I read somewhere (need to clarify) that PRs can rent out their flat immediately whereas Singaporeans need to stay for a few years before renting out. Is this true?

Our parents - they face competition even more than us. They are old and are easily replaced by their employers. The same issues occurs. Employers can easily get cheaper, younger foreign workers to do their work. Again, the government CAN and SHOULD do more for our elderly citizens. How? As long as our government wants to do it, they CAN do it.

One interesting observation from me. Everyday I see old PRCs (I assume they are parents of Chinese PRs) collecting old cardboards and cans in my estate. So it seems even our own Singaporean garung gunis are facing competition.

I really think our government should see what is happening on the ground.

Alvin Ho