Shanmugam: S'pore doesn't release PR data by nationalities due to ‘negative sensitivities’ they create

It could dissuade some from coming here if they know what their chances already are.

Belmont Lay | July 07, 2021, 05:56 PM

Singapore does not release breakdowns of its permanent resident population by nationality as it can lead to bilateral sensitivities with the country of origin of these PRs, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on July 5.

Shanmugam's written parliamentary reply was to respond to questions by Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh.

Request for breakdown of numbers

Singh had asked for the numerical breakdown of Singapore's PRs from each of the top 20 countries by nationality, as well as the gender proportion.

His query also requested for details on how many who were PRs for 10 and 20 years, but have not applied for citizenship at least once.

Not all figures provided

In response, Shanmugam did not provide all the figures asked for, but said a large number of the PRs come from Singapore’s “geographically nearest” neighbours.

The rationale for keeping the details opaque is to not dissuade the inflow of PR applications from any country.

He said: “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.”

Shanmugam added: “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.”

Singapore immigration policy "calibrated"

He also said Singapore’s immigration policy is “carefully calibrated”.

Such an approach 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.

According to the Population in Brief 2020, which does not provide any breakdown according to country but region, about 60 per cent of the persons granted PR were from Southeast Asia.

Another 34 per cent come from other Asian countries, and the remaining 6 per cent from other countries.

This proportion of PRs is based on the PR grants in 2019.

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

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