Immigration should make nation culturally richer

Singapore continues to need foreign labour and immigration to fill the gaps left by the nation's low birth rate ("Govt 'has interests of citizens at heart'"; July 22).

Many would agree that the service industry needs foreign labour, as citizens are not taking jobs in this sector.

It is only cases where jobs Singaporeans can do are filled by foreigners that dismay citizens.

The Government has to consider this peeve of Singaporeans as it forms its immigration policies.

Having diversity among foreign labour and immigration can add richness to our nation.

My family has benefited from the many relationships we have built with residents from the Philippines, India, Britain, Vietnam, Hungary, Russia and others.

But often, they have to depart as their work visas are no longer valid or their permanent resident applications have been rejected.

I am puzzled as to why residents who have made their homes in the heartland and whose children are born here and attend local schools have their PR applications rejected.

They are no threat to citizens' rice bowls, and having been here for a while, they have a good understanding of the local culture and lifestyle.

Singapore was built on a few races that have their ancestry from various parts of the world.

This is why we now have a multiracial and multicultural society.

As the authorities look at the immigration policies, I urge them to consider how we can make our population culturally richer, and not just bigger.

Irene Louis (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Immigration should make nation culturally richer'. Print Edition | Subscribe