Step up integration of immigrants at the neighbourhood level

Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of citizens and permanent residents surveyed by the Institute of Policy Studies and racial harmony advocacy group OnePeople.sg agreed there is "a lot to learn" from the immigrants' cultures.
Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of citizens and permanent residents surveyed by the Institute of Policy Studies and racial harmony advocacy group OnePeople.sg agreed there is "a lot to learn" from the immigrants' cultures.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Immigrants can add value to the well-being of our country (Good to have different nationals as neighbours, say Singaporeans, Aug 4).

It is heartwarming to know that most Singaporeans are showing greater interest in learning about the cultures of immigrants and welcoming them as neighbours.

However, it is important to find out why immigrants are not doing enough to integrate into society, and this issue needs to be studied in perspective.

Newly arrived immigrants usually face problems as they try to adapt to an environment that is different from their country.

It does not help if they have nobody they can confide in.

While the Singapore Citizenship Journey helps new citizens to integrate and adjust to life in Singapore, more can be done in an actual neighbourhood setting.

Residents' committees (RCs) are better placed to play the role of facilitator, helping newcomers to integrate within the neighbourhood.

RCs have been instrumental in community bonding by organising block parties, health screenings and other events to bring residents together.

Their skills and experience stand them in good stead when helping new citizens assimilate into the community.

Immigrants will definitely take a proactive approach to the integration process once they have developed a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2019, with the headline 'Step up integration of immigrants at the neighbourhood level'. Print Edition | Subscribe