Singapore’s economic growth slowed in 2019, still at 4.8%, which is 5 highs from a European perspective, but the Singaporean prime minister expected growth to slow between 1 and 3% in his New Year’s message. In 2021 due to the uncertainty in the external environment and the “debt problems in Europe”.
Both the economic outlook and domestic political pressures are leading the Singaporean government to consider immigration restrictions that have been operating at high levels for the past decade.
Economists cite the severe slowdown/deflation in the fourth quarter of 2019 as a backdrop to Lee’s projected growth levels.
Lee’s scope to ignore current sentiment in favor of immigration restrictions is limited by the small majority with which his ruling party holds office after last year’s election. This was the smallest margin since Singapore’s independence in 1965 and reflects the growing concern of citizens about the rising cost of living and competition with foreigners for employment and housing.
More than a third of Singapore’s population of 5.2 million is made up of immigrants (permanent residents and foreign workers). The government is looking to raise educational qualifications and salary requirements for new foreign workers.
The Lee government is also introducing an additional property tax for foreigners and corporate entities that will have to pay an additional 10 percent stamp duty, in part to address domestic dissatisfaction with the cost of housing.
However, the World Bank still ranks Singapore as the easiest place to do business. With its stable political system, first-class infrastructure, and transportation links along with its living and working environment, it’s an international, ex-friendly business. As the most westernized country in Asia, Singapore has a vibrant financial sector with great opportunities for professionals in finance/accounting, banking, information technology, insurance, and legal roles. English is the official language of Singapore and the main language of business. Singapore will continue to be an essential location for business operations, particularly in banking and financial services.
Update on new work permits
Updating new work permits should not deter highly skilled professionals from seeking to add a new international dimension to their careers. As a visit to specialized job search portals in Singapore shows, the demand for qualified senior professionals in banking, finance, accounting, law, and information technology continues at high levels.