Why no statistics on S’poreans returning to S’pore?


Why can we not find the statistics of returnees when so many Singaporeans have actually returned to Singapore?

I refer to the article “Commentary: For many overseas Singaporeans thinking of returning, what weighs on their minds?” (Channel NewsAsia, Sep 23).

It states that “Indeed, many Singaporeans who have moved overseas are keen to explore coming back after living away for a few years, for a variety of reasons.

We have seen a steady stream of overseas Singaporeans keen to return to Singapore in recent years.”

As to “Research at Robert Walters found that 82 per cent of overseas Singaporean professionals in our database is open to a move back home, if they can find a suitable job opportunity. Banking and financial services, and sales and marketing were the top two sectors that returning Singaporeans are keen to work in” – why are there no statistics as to how many Singaporeans have actually returned to Singapore?


With regard to “Returning Singaporeans may find plentiful opportunities back here.

Being a key business hub, many multinational companies continue to set up offices in Singapore and looking to use Singapore as a regional base for Southeast Asia” – why is it that the labour statistics indicate that hardly any of the jobs growth in the last two and a half years to June this year – went to Singapore-born true-blue Singaporeans?

31,050 new PRs and 22,102 new citizens a year?

In this connection, we granted 31,050 new PRs and 22,102 new citizens last year.

How many new PRs & citizens granted?

If the rate of granting new PRs and new citizens in the first half of this year is about the same as last year’s – we may have granted about 15,525 new PRS (31,050 divided by 2) and 11,051 (22,102 divided by 2) new citizens up till June.

How many of the “jobs growth” to S’poreans?

If this is the case (estimate) – how many of the 4,000 locals’  employment growth in the first half of this year went to Singaporeans?

If 26% of new PRs working = 0 jobs growth to S’poreans? 

To illustrate this with an example – if just 26 per cent of the estimated 15,525 new PRs granted were formerly foreigners with jobs – about 4,037 (15,525 × 26%) – perhaps very little of the 4,000 locals’ employment growth went to Singaporeans.

It has also been estimated that from 2015 to 2016 – very little of the 11,400 jobs growth to locals (37,300 foreigners’ jobs growth)  – actually went to Singapore born true-blue Singaporeans (61,005 new PRs and 42,917 new citizens granted in the same two-year period).

In respect of “Singapore is also likely to see continued demand for local IT and digital specialists, as companies focus on improving their IT infrastructure and service platforms for customers” – anecdotally, Singaporean PMETs in IT may have been the most affected by foreigners’ competition for their jobs.

“Information and Communications” highest unemployment rate 

In this regard, according to a MOM report in 2016 – “Information and Communications” had the highest unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent among all the categories.

So, don’t you find it rather strange that we keep hearing the rhetoric that this sector has a lot of vacancies and demand particularly for PMETs is increasing?

As to “Singaporeans stand to gain from continual investments in the local economy. Following the implementation of the Fair Consideration Framework, we have seen from our in-depth market analysis and client feedback that employers are increasingly focused on hiring local talent” – why is it that the Government has replied to queries that they are unable to provide statistics as to how many of the jobs in the National Jobs Bank (Fair Consideration Framework), actually went to Singaporeans?

“Overseas Singaporeans enjoy a huge advantage within Singapore’s job market, even as competition remains stiff. Not only do they add to the numbers of people who can take up new jobs, Singaporeans with overseas working experience often bring with them a global mindset and an in-depth understanding of Singapore’s local work culture.”

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.