Thursday, June 09, 2011

PM Cameron on UK's immigration woes...

This is a well balanced speech on UK's immigration problems. Cameron acknowledges the contributions of immigrants to UK but feels that the 'high' influx has strained its infrastructure and the social fabric of the country. This is now a very big issue in UK right now and the Cameron govt has to answer to angry citizens.

I couldn't help feeling amused halfway through the video:

"I'm also clear about something else. For too long immigration has been too high. Between 1997 and 2009, 2.2 million more people came to live in this country than went to live abroad. This is the largest influx of people that britain has ever had. It has placed real pressures on communities up and down our country. Not just pressure on schools, housing and healthcare - those have been serious- but social pressures too" - Cameron, 3:47 into the video. a Singaporean, the numbers PM Cameron mentioned seems very small for a relatively big country like UK...yet they are so alarmed by it.

I double check the figures he spoke about and found this article about immigration in BBC [Link] about UK's 'alarming' rate of immigration - about 145,000 a year. - that is causing much hue and oitcry among the British people.

"Between 2005 and 2009, Singapore's population surged by roughly 150,000 people a year to 5 million—among the fastest rates ever there—with 75% or more of the increase coming from foreigners. In-migration continued in 2009 despite expectations it would collapse because of the global recession." - WSJ article "Singapore's Expat Surge Fuels Economic Fears"[Link]

UK has a population size of 61 million people i.e. about 12 times the size of Singapore. That makes UK's per capita immigration rate one tenth that of Singapore's. UK land area is about 350 times that of Singapore. The British are protesting against a foreign influx that is miniscule compared with the rate in Singapore.  Indeed PM Cameron is very serious about tackling a issue that is one-tenth the magnitude that of Singapore.

Very often PAP leaders accuse ordinary Singaporeans of being small minded and intolerant of immigrants. This is not true. The PAP's policy on the foreign influx borders on the extreme and in any other country the govt would have been voted out had their govt imported foreigners at such a high rate. The PAP is riding on some goodwill from a distant past and unfair elections which favors the incumbent. It should take this borrowed time for a hard reflection of this issue. Lets get this very clear. Singaporeans are very open and tolerant people - most of us lived in a multiracial and multireligious society all our lives. We tolerated 10 times the per capita immigration rate in Britain for years before it became a big issue when it affected our lives adversely.  It is hurtful and insensitive when the PAP calls us small minded and says we are unable to integrate with foreigners. Many of us have friends and relatives who are foreigners. That was never the issue. The real issue is the extremely large numbers the PAP govt permitted into the country.


Anonymous said...

Another problem with UK's immigration is most of the time they are not getting the kind of talent they need. Sounds familiar?

Anonymous said...

Population in 2011 is 5 million.

The total number of immigrants for the next 5 years is going to be
1.5 million which works out to be
300000 immigrants per year.

Let cheer that we reach the target of 6.5 million population in the year 2016.

Anonymous said...

really sinkapore boleh, still can survive so long after such insane policy for such a small country, lol

SG Girl Next Door said...

PM David Cameron recognises the problems as a result of UK immigration policy: illegal immigrants getting benefits; abuse of working visas and student visas; etc. The fact that he admitted that the immigration dept has lapses and is willing to come up with solutions to tackle them is applaudable.

However there's one thing he couldn't control is the unwillingness of the immigrants to intergrat with the locals. If you take a look at the comments at this youtube video, the locals had made this point (not excluding job shortages and housing issues).

hayek said...

The best way for a society to grow is to maintain slight shortage of worker. This is something that economist do not want us to know.

Immigration actually benefit the rich, because it creates unemployment and push down wages. Then, managers will be able to dominate the worker.

What happen if we have shortage of manpower? First, the society will find ways to solve the problem by using more automation, increasing productivity which will in effect creates more material well being for everyone.

LKY has destroyed everything.

Lye Khuen Way said...

It sure sounds familiar. Singapore has shown the world how resilient we are in coping for the last few years !
No ! We were lucky that there was no revolution.......

Anonymous said...

if only our government acknowledges the issues and confront them accordingly. The issues Britain face is similiar to ours but PAP have not only conveniently choose to ignore them, but have instead tried to justify for more immigrants. I dont know what to say.

Anonymous said...

Britain is now facing the same immigrant problem that Singaproe is facing. The immigrants largely refuse to integrate, aren't as talented as the British had hoped and have brought their undesirable customs and living habits to Britain.

Anonymous said...

The open door policy is the only issue that the MIWs have not officially addressed since the GE. This is the main policy that led to all the unhapiness of locals (think low wages, property/costs of living, transport etc). Besides workers n professionals, our children are also facing competition from foreign students, for funds and university places. I am still waiting for some official direction, if not, all the tears and apologises mouthed during the the GE is just fake.

Anonymous said...

The issues we faced are exactly what John Howard in Australia faced in 2007:-

4 terms elected, longest serving PM - tenure coincided with the longest period of prosperity and GDP growth in Australia. He got thrown out because the peasants did not get to share in the rising standard of living but were actually poorer trying to service the escalating primary asset - the HOUSE.

The Liberal party is still wondering why the Australian public rejected them despite the wonderful economic statistics and full employment and the great situation they thought they engineered.

The best summary is:
"We had a wonderful 10 years and we have been paying for it since."

Learn from the Aussie model, most market economies have similar issues......

see Steve Keen on increasing household debt (house and cars) and impact on society...."houses are too expensive and there is nothing to rent...."

watch and learn and hopefully avoid the pain......

Anonymous said...

Developed countries like UK, Canada and Australia have high standards, transparent systems of qualifying immigrants under skills and other categorisations according to the requirements of the country beocs of their long history of imm. policies. For example, there are distinctions between the choice of well bred and skilled PMETs from Taiwan, HK and Singapore compared to ordinary subjects from dangerous places where people carry handguns, shotguns and machineguns in broad daylights, the likes of the Ampatuan family of the philippines.

The people we have let in, can they really integrate with our people who were disciplined by courtesy and fines campaigns from birth? The officials who let in millions of third world subjects to brand them as our Foreign Talents, have they been stringent enough with their selections?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 9/6/2011 11:17
I think that a lot of those so-called FT imported into Singapore are more like FW (Foreign Workers), made to work for the value of the money they are paid, at a lower price than Singaporeans' wages and so on. Whether they even deliver is another thing altogether, since as I have heard enough from various friends, most of these people can even be placed in higher executive positions and get away with the fact that they do not really work hard or even delegate the duties to subordinates (who are Singaporeans) to do the work. The sense of entitlement floating amongst these foreigners who come in riding on that wave of the open door policy is one factor to account for why they can even so blatantly refuse to integrate, but it appears that the government has not been answering for it. As it is, I hear that theory from many people who say that the immigration department can just convert these new immigrants into new citizens readily, so as to give the ruling party more votes in the name of gratitude. Whether or not this theory will hold true is one thing, but that it can and might happen is disturbing to contemplate.

Anonymous said...

Part of Cameron's rhetoric also talks about taking money from hardworking taxpayers to those who refuse to work, and this difference is somewhat startling when we see that productivity has fallen in the light of the sudden import of foreign workers en masse. The GDP might have risen, but did the productivity rise per se? Not really, as stats reveal, and it does become hard at that point to account for the shortfall in Singapore's case. Also, the inherent problem with the "screening" of new immigrants is also a case of the system being flawed to begin with. How can people actually become Singapore citizens in just a matter of a few months????? That boggles me when even in developed countries, it takes years for people to earn their permanent residency and then their citizenship.

Ghost said...

Most of your points are valid Lucky and I agree with most of them but let's not kid ourselves. Cameron said what he said because he want to shore up support for his government, not because he "recognise the problems of UK's immigration policy".

Anonymous said...

Soon enough, What happens in Singapore stays in Singapore. And that includes all the foreign thrash, and our ever-rising flood water it seems.

If you look at the article, SG still has plan to import 20% of Population? Is that a freaking scary thoughts. We need our Immigration Dept to come clean on their "masterplan", and not like our President who claims "he does his work quietly"..

We also realize that (see slide 12) SG has a profit plans to make moneys from other cities on using all the high tech apps. That explain why the earlier saga on other bus apps that they are determined to dampen local creativity and innovation. Instead, they seek to monetize it for we are connecting the dots! As usual, only AFTER the fact..

This govt deserves another serious booting if they remain clandestine with all their policies decisions.

Anonymous said...

And how is it that with the leaping jump from 68th ranking to 36th ranking in our cost of living index, people are still coming here? Clearly, is the only the rich and famous. Pity the ordinary singaporeans and the cheap foreign workers who are being abused.

Kok Ken-ji said...

If anybody is interested, this is the actual published data, courtesy of the Dept of Statistics.

What made it bad is that most of the increase this decade (800k out of 1m increase) happened post-2006 elections in 2006-2010.

Year Total Total % Absolute
Population Residents Ch Change
2000 4,027.9 3,273.4 1.75% 69.20
2001 4,138.0 3,325.9 2.73% 110.10
2002 4,176.0 3,382.9 0.92% 38.00
2003 4,114.8 3,366.9 -1.47% -61.20
2004 4,166.7 3,413.3 1.26% 51.90
2005 4,265.8 3,467.8 2.38% 99.10
2006 4,401.4 3,525.9 3.18% 135.60
2007 4,588.6 3,583.1 4.25% 187.20
2008 4,839.4 3,642.7 5.47% 250.80
2009 4,987.6 3,733.9 3.06% 148.20
2010 5,076.7 3,771.7 1.79% 89.10
Source: Singapore Department of Statistics

But guess what? They did it in the 90s too!

There was a similar 1m increase in the 90s from 3m to 4m with even higher % increases. I would say the PAP's policies (population & allowing CPF to be used to sell flats) had a big part in creating the property bubble of 1994-1997.

Year Total Total % Absolute
Population Residents Ch Change
1990 3,047.1 2,735.9 3.96% 116.20
1991 3,135.1 2,794.7 2.89% 88.00
1992 3,230.7 2,849.8 3.05% 95.60
1993 3,313.5 2,904.5 2.56% 82.80
1994 3,419.0 2,959.4 3.18% 105.50
1995 3,524.5 3,013.5 3.09% 105.50
1996 3,670.7 3,068.1 4.15% 146.20
1997 3,796.0 3,123.4 3.41% 125.30
1998 3,927.2 3,180.0 3.46% 131.20
1999 3,958.7 3,229.7 0.80% 31.50
2000 4,027.9 3,273.4 1.75% 69.20

They never learn. Like the 90s, this is not going to end nicely. We gonna have a balance sheet recession (homeowners in negative equity) like the US is having right and the one we had in 2000-2004.

Ps. Sorry if this is too long. One thing led to another.

Anonymous said...

Some of the newly minted Singaporean is a digrace with their weird & selfish culture. I felt disgusted seeing them carry the same passport as me.

Chong-Yee said...

Note that what accounts for most of the apparently high net inward migration figures is immigration from the rest of the European Union, whose people the UK as a signatory of the Treaty of Rome is obliged to accept.

There's not a jot the UK Government can do about this. The huff and puff about tighter controls is only that.

Note also that there are other voices from industry and within the Cabinet (e.g., Vince Cable) who defend the need for skilled labour from overseas.

Anonymous said...

India has been creating a huge immigration problems for the world!

Having no control to its population and unable to create jobs for its own people, emigration is the only way out for many Indians... and their ability to speak English and talk, UK, Singapore and other English speaking nations are their ideal destination.

As it is, Singapore is already overwhelmed by Indians!

Anonymous said...

OPEN DOOR POLICY is the mother of all the problems we, Singapore Citizens have been suffering from and are still staring at the problems helplessly and hopelessly now. We expect these problems to get worse over the next 5 years. These problems are

unemployment of Singapore Citizens,

under-employment of Singapore Citizens,

low wage/salary of Singapore Citizens,

sky-high HDB and property prices,

overcrowding of MRT and buses,

overcrowding of polyclinics and hospitals,

inability to to be allocated appropriate primary 1 places for Singapore Citizens children,

high proportion of university places given to permanent residents and foreigners,

high proportion of scholarship given to permanent residents and foreigners,

high crime rates due to large number of permanent residents and foreigners,

high inflation leading to high cost of living as permanent residents and foreigners have push up the prices for scare and limited supply of resources,


Kojakbt said...

If this FT influx continues in Singapore, matter of time a big riot or brawl is going to break out between Singaporeans and FTs. And who do you think we should blame for this?

Anonymous said...

immigration problem is everywhere in all first world countries especially english speaking ones. cannot blame the immigrates but the problem is the inability of leaders of some countries to attract their own people to stay. moving to another country always involved a lot of hardship.

Anonymous said...

9/6/11 23:06
Blogger Chong-Yee said...
"Note that what accounts for most of the apparently high net inward migration figures is immigration from the rest of the European Union, whose people the UK as a signatory of the Treaty of Rome is obliged to accept."

I think if you watch the clip, it says most of the inward immigration are NOT coming from EU nations.

Anonymous said...

It is very odd that we hear news about how India & China are the powerhouses that keep the economy afloat, and yet, their workers are leaving their homes to work here in Singapore

So, who is lying?

Anonymous said...

"UK land area is about 350 times that of Singapore. Indeed PM Cameron is very serious about tackling a issue that is one-tenth the magnitude that of Singapore."

That's only partially correct because the vast majority of immigrants tend to live in London, where one third of the population is of foreign origin. It's really a case of comparing the cities of London and Singapore.

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uk immigration solicitors said...

UK come up to the idea of having restricted policies for immigration to control the number of people in their nation and to provide them the proper and right service they needed.

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