Forum: Integration promoted through a whole-of-society effort

We thank Mr Albert Ng Ya Ken for his letter (Have concrete plans to integrate foreign-born residents, July 3), and agree that everyone plays a role to support integration in their daily interactions.

On average over the past five years, there were around 31,200 new permanent residents (PRs) each year.

Citizenship was granted to 22,100 individuals each year, mainly to existing PRs. A small percentage were not PRs, such as children of Singaporeans born overseas. Last year, the majority of our citizens - about 87 per cent - were born in Singapore.

The National Integration Council (NIC) promotes integration through a whole-of-society effort. We work closely with partners in the community, schools, workplaces and the Government to help newcomers appreciate Singapore's unique multicultural context and norms, and build ties with the local community.

Our partners organise programmes around community service, sports and cultural activities.

The NIC works closely with our partners to set measurable goals, such as the number of local and foreign participants, and improved understanding of Singapore's common values. This helps enhance social mixing and deepen intercultural understanding.

For instance, NIC and our partners developed learning tours of heritage institutions and community tours that help participants better appreciate Singapore's different neighbourhoods.

Integration and Naturalisation Champions, who are grassroots leaders from the People's Association, also reach out to new immigrants and help them settle into the neighbourhood.

New citizens complete the Singapore Citizenship Journey within two months of being granted in-principle approval. Under this initiative, new citizens attend specially curated visits and volunteering programmes, and meet their grassroots leaders.

Through the Community Integration Fund, the NIC supports ground-up initiatives that help newcomers connect with locals in their neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. We also have settling-in guides for newcomers to help them learn about Singapore's cultural norms and values.

We encourage all newcomers to appreciate and participate in the Singapore way of life, and expand their social circles by befriending locals.

Singaporeans can also play their part by reaching out to newcomers. Small gestures like greeting your neighbour or sharing a meal with your colleague help strengthen the ties that bind us.

We welcome suggestions on how to better support our integration efforts, and invite more Singaporeans to partner us at the NIC.

Just as our immigrant forefathers worked hard to build a harmonious and multicultural Singapore, let's work together to build an inclusive and cohesive Singapore.

Tracey Ho

Member

National Integration Council