Your Letters

Make it easier for foreign mums to stay

The report on April 10 ("Left to fend for themselves") highlights a pertinent social issue on transnational couples, particularly foreign wives whose Singaporean husbands abuse them, abandon them, end up in jail or die.

I was struck by the case of the Chinese national who gave birth to triplets after her Singaporean husband left her. The three girls were stateless until they were granted citizenship last month.

There needs to be a constructive discussion on how foreign wives who face such predicaments can be granted permission to stay for a longer period because of their caregiving roles to their children, who are Singapore citizens.

Currently, long-term visit pass holders can stay here for up to a year. Renewals of these passes are not guaranteed. Therein lies the main problem.

The Association of Women for Action and Research and other social organisations can spearhead this call to the authorities.

More can be done for foreign wives who give birth here. We should consider granting such mothers the privilege of extending their stay in Singapore, for the sake of raising their children.

Mothers play a vital role in their children's early years. It is best that young children remain with their biological mothers.

Singapore's fertility and birth rates can be gradually restored if one considers foreign wives with children born here.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline 'Make it easier for foreign mums to stay'. Print Edition | Subscribe