Country study: Singapore
The city-state of Singapore has some 4.99 million inhabitants, including 1.25 million non-residents.1 Singapore is not only deficit in natural resources but also suffers from a low birth rate which has made the nation of migrants dependent on foreign human capital. In order for Singapore to sustain its economic growth, the government has to attract foreign workers and talent. However, in times of economic contraction such as during the Asian financial crisis of 1998 and the global financial crisis of 2008, to keep attracting foreign talent for employment purposes when local Singaporeans are losing theirs has become a more politically sensitive strategy. Senior Minister (SM) Goh Chok Tong explained that Singapore’s talent strategy rested upon three simultaneous thrusts: (1) heavy and lifelong investment in developing local talent; (2) building a distinctive global city to attract and retain talent; and (3) transforming Singapore into a “cool and funky” place for creative and entrepreneurial talent to reside and establish their base.2 The aim of this chapter will be to examine the social and economic impact of Indian professionals in Singapore. This chapter will also examine the shortage of talented skilled workers and professionals in Singapore and the policy mechanisms that have been implemented to attract foreign talent.