Long Open to Immigration, Singapore Is Getting More Restrictive

Long Open to Immigration, Singapore Is Getting More Restrictive
A police officer watches over migrant workers as they wait for shuttle buses to take them back to their dormitories, Singapore, Feb. 9, 2014 (AP photo by Joseph Nair).

Amid a growing perception that immigrants are taking away jobs and eroding the city-state's cultural identity, immigration to Singapore has emerged as a hot-button political issue.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world.

Between 300 and 400 people organized a rare public rally in Singapore last month to protest the government’s immigration policies, which have historically been welcoming. But many Singaporeans blame immigrants, who make up 40 percent of the city-state’s population, for driving down wages and raising the cost of living. In an email interview with WPR, Leong Chan Hoong, an associate professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, explains why immigration has become such a hot-button issue in recent years and how it might factor into the next general election, which could be held next year.

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