Dear Editors

I refer to the article “Why is unemployment rising: 3 burning questions on jobs” (Sunday Times, May 7). It states that “The unemployment rate crept up from 2.2 per cent last December to 2.3 per cent in March, hitting the highest level since December 2009.

Back then, Singapore was recovering from the global financial crisis. This year, on the other hand, economists are upbeat about prospects after stronger-than-expected growth last year.” Why is there no mention that the unemployment rate for citizens was 3.5 per cent in March? Why is it that a two full-page Insight report on “why is unemployment rising?” makes no mention at all on arguably, the obvious (following) reasons that may be contributing to rising unemployment?

In 2016, employment growth was 10,700 for locals and 5,700 for foreigners. In 2015, employment growth was 700 for locals and 31,600 for foreigners. About 35 per cent (estimated) of the total undergraduate and graduate student enrollment in our public universities are non-Singaporeans. Most of the foreign students are required to stay and work after their graduation for at least three years.

Why do we allow practically anyone in the world to come as tourists – apply for jobs and stay when they find one? On the average – 30,000 new permanent residents (PRs) and new citizens have been granted per year. In this regard, according to the article “New citizens need to get involved in all aspects of local life: Josephine Teo” (Channel NewsAsia, Apr 13, 2016) – “There were 20,815 new citizens, and 29,955 new Permanent Residents (PRs) in 2015, as the Government kept its “calibrated pace of immigration””.

Compared to the 20,348 new citizens and 29,854 new PRs in 2014 – this is an increase of 2.3 and 0.3 per cent respectively. This brings the total number of new citizens and PRs granted from 2007 to 2015, to 174,166 and 378,740, respectively. It is already May now, and I believe the statistics on the number of new citizens and new PRs granted last year, have still not been released or reported in the media yet.

If it is still the average of 20,000 new citizens and 30,000 new PRs a year – does it mean that the estimated number of new citizens and new PRs granted from 2007 to 2016, may be about 194,000 and 409,000, respectively? As there were only 10,700 locals’ jobs’ growth last year – if the new PRs and new citizens granted last year was also about 30,000 and 20,000, respectively – how many of the 10,700 locals’ jobs went to Singaporeans?

In the two years from January 2015 to December 2016 – employment growth was 11,400 for locals and 37,300 for foreigners. So, with an estimated 60,000 new PRs and 40,000 new citizens granted in the two years from 2015 to 2016 – how many of the 11,400 locals’ jobs went to Singaporeans?

Leong Sze Hian

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