Singapore: Singapore will allow in fewer foreign workers this year than previously announced in a bid to quell a growing backlash among locals against foreigners, the Prime Minister said on Sunday.
About 80,000 foreigners will enter Singapore this year, fewer than the more than 100,000 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last month, he told a National Day Rally.
About 150,000 foreign workers have entered Singapore per year since 2007, and they now make up about one-third of the island's three million work force.
"I think we should consolidate, slow down the pace," Lee said. "We can't go on like this, increasing our population 100,000, 150,000 a year indefinitely. We should give Singaporeans time to adjust."
Lee acknowledged that Singaporeans are concerned foreigners are crowding public transportation and boosting competition for jobs and housing.
"I understand these sentiments because these are legitimate concerns which we take seriously," he said.
Singapore's decades-long boom, which has made it one of the world's wealthiest countries, has been fuelled in part by foreign labourers willing to do jobs such as construction and hospitality for lower wages than locals.
First Published: Monday, August 30, 2010, 09:25