No PR data by nationalities as it would create ‘negative sensitivities’: Shanmugam

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - DECEMBER 12: Crowds, in the hundreds, thronged Singapore's shopping belt in preparation for the festive season despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which has recorded a total of over 58,000 confirmed cases and 29 related deaths in Singapore on December 12, 2020. (Photo by Zakaria Zainal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Crowds at Singapore's Orchard Road on 12 December 2020. (PHOTO: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore does not publish breakdowns of its permanent resident population by nationality as doing so may have implications on specific groups of PRs and create bilateral sensitivities with their country of origin, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (5 July).

Shanmugam was responding in a written parliamentary reply to questions by Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh on the numerical breakdown by nationality of Singapore's PRs from each of the top 20 countries and further sub-divided by gender, and how many who were PRs for 10 and 20 years have not applied for citizenship at least once.

Singapore's PR population is about 45 per cent male and 55 per cent female.

Shanmugam said that a large number of the PRs come from Singapore’s “geographically nearest” neighbours.

“Given our history, it has been our assessment that releasing the data of country of origin of our PRs will both create negative sensitivities with other countries; and may affect the flow of PRs from such countries,” he added.

About 60 per cent of the persons granted PR were from Southeast Asia, followed by about 34 per cent from other Asian countries, and the remaining 6 per cent from other countries, according to the Population in Brief 2020, which was based on the PR grants in 2019.

Singapore’s immigration policy is “carefully calibrated”, and it has kept the size of its PR population stable at around half a million for a number of years, Shanmugam said. About 58 per cent of them have been PRs for 10 years or more, and 18 per cent have been PRs for at least 20 years.

“PRs contribute to Singapore’s economy and society in many ways. Many are also spouses of Singaporeans and parents of Singaporean children. Many go on to apply for our citizenship, and some are eventually granted. We are very strict to whom we grant citizenship,” Shanmugam added.

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