Global Immigration Thesis

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Global Immigration -- the Immigration Problem in Singapore

The modern society is the result of numerous processes of change at all levels of the everyday life. Globalization represents one of the most notable mechanisms that generated a multitude of effects upon virtually all parts of the globe. The fact that cultural, political, economic or technological values could transcend boundaries from one region to the other materialized in wider access to resources, better informed populations, but also a threat upon local cultures or a widening income gap between countries or social classes. Another outstanding effect of globalization translated into a greater ability for populations to circulate across the globe. Numerous immigrants search for better lives in other global regions, and this often means that additional support to economic welfare is offered or that processes of cultural enrichment are commenced. Despite these benefits however, immigrants are often perceived as a negative force upon the host country as they take the jobs of the native born population or reduce their standards of living. Furthermore, illegal immigration often materializes in larger federal costs with healthcare, education or imprisonment. Immigration is a growing problem not only within the United States of America, but in most developed countries that have raised the interest of foreigners. One example is Singapore.

2. General Information on Singapore

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According to the Central Intelligence Agency (2009), Singapore is the 46th largest economy of the world in terms of measured GDP, with a gross domestic product for 2008 of an estimated $240 billion. It follows an ascendant trend, with the specification however that the growth rate has decreased due to the internationalized financial crisis. The situation is similar in terms of the income per capita, with a total of $52,000 per individual. This means that the living standards within the country are increased, even more so when the income per capita in the United States is of a lower $47,000 and the global average is of only $10,400.

Thesis on Global Immigration Assignment

The country was initially founded by the United Kingdom to serve as a trading colony and gained its independence in 1965. Singapore benefited largely from its trading operations under British occupation for, by the time of its independence, it had already established fruitful trading operations in all corners of the globe. The ability to sustain international trade turned into a highly prosperous country, with a GDP comparable to those of the highly developed countries in Western Europe.

As of this year, the population in the country located in the south of the Malay Peninsula is of 4,657,542, with the largest majority of individuals being of ages between 15 and 64 (76.7%); 14.4% are under the age of 14 and 8.9% are over the age of 65. The population grows at a rate of nearly 1% and the migration rate is of nearly six in 1,000. The increased living conditions have led to significant growths in the life expectancy at birth, this registering a value of nearly 82 years, in a context in which the global average is of 66 years.

Singapore has a labor force of 2.96 million individuals, out of whom 77.4% work within the services sector and 22.6% work in industry; agricultural activities are barely existent. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest at a global level, measuring only 2.3%. Singapore's main trading partners are Malaysia, the United States, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea (Central Intelligence Agency).

3. Immigration Facts within Singapore

As pointed out in the previous section, the population in Singapore grows at an annual rate of almost one percent. The largest majority of this increase is attributed to the growing number of immigrants, followed by an increase in the population's life expectancy at birth. Immigration is generally encouraged within the country through the permissive legislation which imposes few to none restrictions on foreign individuals becoming residents. Otherwise put, the authorities in Singapore encourage immigration as a primary means of increasing the state's population figures (Ng, 2007). Most of the immigrants come from China and as a direct result, the most commonly spoken language is Chinese, with its Mandarin dialect; emphasis is however being placed on the familiarization with other Chinese dialects. Aside language, the Singaporean cultures, traditions and architectural structures are also influenced by immigrants, mostly those coming from India and Arabia. With the technological revolution of the twentieth century, the Singaporean authorities made extensive use of IT advancements to better organize immigration while in the same time ensure the safety of the local population. Statistical information on immigration in Singapore reveals the following:

as percentage of the entire state population, 42.6% of the Singaporean residents are immigrants; they account for an estimated 1,843,000 individuals relative to the totality of immigrants throughout the world, the immigrants in Singapore account for nearly one percent (more specifically, 0.9878%)

net migration accounts for 200,000 individuals, a rate of 6.88 migrants in 1,000 individuals

Singapore hosts three individuals seeking political asylum and 137 individuals that have won visa lotteries (Nation Master, 2009)

4. Problems with Immigration

Unlike most global regions, immigration in Singapore is welcome and even encouraged by the state as a means of increasing the country's population and consequently increasing economic prosperity. But in spite of the positive approach taken to immigration, fact remains that the processes raises some difficulties as well.

Impact on Education

Generally, extensive rates of immigration increase the costs of education within any given country (Brimelow, 2005). This is also true in Singapore, where the expenditure associated with educational programs and institutions has increased as a direct result of growing numbers of students. The fact that the federal government has to allocate larger amounts of financial resources for the education of the native born and the immigrants could soon translate into increased financial pressure. Otherwise put, due to the larger fares with education, the national authorities could increase the taxes perceived from the population, which would negatively impact the population's living standards.

Impact on Healthcare

Similar to education, immigration also generates financial impacts on healthcare through an increase in its costs. Most of the effects are felt by the public healthcare facilities. A final conclusion is however difficult to draw mostly since large numbers of immigrants benefit from medical insurance, but these depend on a multitude of forces, such as the immigration status or the employer's policies (Guide Me Singapore, 2009). Generally, increased levels of immigration translate into increased costs for the healthcare industry and increased working pressure as a need to serve more customers. It could materialize in a reduced quality of the services offered, as well as increased fiscal pressure.

Housing

Immigrants in Singapore have affected housing structure in that many legal immigrants decided to run small family businesses. As a direct result then, high numbers of buildings have transformed their first floors in facilities that host these types of businesses (Abet, 1994). In terms of financial pressure, this increased as the growing demand for houses and flats to purchase or rent has increased, generating as such an increase in the retail prices within the real estate industry.

Language Accommodation

As it has been mentioned before, the majority of the immigrants come from China and the most commonly spoken language within Singapore is the Mandarin dialect of Chinese. This basically means that the immigrants find it relatively easy to adjust and that the language barriers are limited. Difficulties are being imposed when Chinese immigrants come from regions that use other dialects or when the immigrants are from other countries. They still can manage as English is the second most commonly spoken language (Central Intelligence Agency).

Criminality

Just like within the United States and other developed countries hosting large number of immigrants, criminality rates in Singapore have increased. A 1999 report revealed a 5.2% increase in crime rates, out of which 0.8% was associated directly with immigrants. Wong Kan Seng, the Minister for Home Affairs stated that "the increase in the crime rate was due in part to a sharp rise in immigration offenses. The crime increase would have been lower at 4.4% if immigration offenses are excluded" (Singapore Window, 1999). As the number of foreign citizens that could not find jobs grew, these people turned to illicit activities in order to make a living. The most common crimes involving immigrants referred to slave trading, abuse of coolies (Asian low workers) or the creation of secret societies that encouraged a multitude of social vices, the most prominent of these vices being prostitution, gambling and the smoking of opium (Slide Share, 2009).

5. Conclusions

The forces of globalization have opened the door to population circulation, which has generated both positive as well as negative impacts. The highly developed countries are the largest hosts of foreign citizens, who generally go to these regions in search for better lives. With an income per capita larger than $52,000, Singapore has often been seen as a favorable location towards which to migrate. This perception has furthermore been enhanced by the local authorities, who stimulated immigration… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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