SINGAPORE — An average of about 22,100 new Singapore citizenships were granted annually over the past five years, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Wednesday (14 October).
This includes about 1,600 children born overseas, to Singaporean parents, each year. There were also about 31,700 new permanent residents, on average, each year from 2015-19. Furthermore, the total size of the PR population has remained at around half a million “for many years now”, said Indranee.
“New citizens either share family ties with Singaporeans or have studied, worked or lived here for some time. They are drawn from the pool of qualified PRs who eventually make the serious commitment to take on citizenship.”
The 57-year-old, who is also Second Minister for Finance and for National Development, stressed that citizenship and PR status are granted selectively to applicants who are committed to making Singapore their home, and who can integrate and contribute to the country.
Indranee was responding to a parliamentary question from Sembawang Member of Parliament Poh Li San, on whether the proportion of annual new citizens will remain at approximately 70 per cent of citizens by birth. According to United Nations data, the population of Singapore currently stands at about 5.85 million.
Poh also asked if the government would review its long-term population targets, given the increasing trend of outsourcing work overseas and the reduction in the employment of foreign workers in Singapore. Indranee noted that authorities had clarified in March and July that the country does not have a population target or seek to achieve any particular population size.
“In March 2018, we updated Parliament that given recent trends, Singapore’s total population size is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030. This outlook remains valid today.”
Indranee pointed out that the country’s population size is affected by many factors, including birth rates, life expectancy and global developments affecting immigration and employment. And in common with most developed economies, Singapore's resident total fertility rate (TFR) is below replacement.
With the resident TFR for 2019 at 1.14, unchanged from the year before, a “stable and measured” number of new citizens and PRs are minted every year to moderate the impact of aging and low birth rates.
Population trends and population policies, along with infrastructure and social development needs, will continue to be closely monitored and reviewed. “This will ensure that Singapore remains a cohesive society, and a good home for all Singaporeans,” said Indranee.
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