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Singapore’s dependence on India and other countries for migrant labour will increase in the post Covid growth phase, says country’s PM

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: Will Singapore become an attractive destination for Indian labourers? (Pic-Facebook)

As Singapore focuses on economic growth in 2022 in the post Covid phase, the island nation will have to depend more on India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and China for migrant labour.

According to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report in 2018, there were over 30 million Indians overseas, with over 9 million of the Indian diaspora concentrated in the GCC region (now known as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf). Over 90 per cent of Indian migrant workers, most of whom are low- and semi-skilled workers, work in the Gulf region and South-East Asia.

For Singapore, which is targeting a gross domestic product growth rate of 3 to 5 per cent, the new year will mark a “time of transition.” Sources said the country could come up with new sets of norms for migrant labourers which would be attractive as well as productive.

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“We will also press on to bring in much-needed migrant workers and ensure international talents feel welcome and are able to complement Singaporeans,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said, adding that his government is already planning to achieve longer-term goals.

“As we brace ourselves for the impact of Omicron, we can be quietly confident that we will cope with whatever lies ahead,” he said.

“We will progressively phase out emergency support measures as businesses revive, though a few sectors will take longer,” the Prime Minister added.

He also underlined the need to expand cross‐border travel and reconnect with the rest of the world.

To position itself as an attractive destination for migrant labourers, Singapore has already chalked out a road map which will help in creating the right eco-system. Improved housing standards, remunerations and mental health support among others are areas that are being looked at.