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Expatriates looking forward to SG reopening, despite concerns of it not being “expat-friendly”

“It’s just one of many ways Singapore has shown that it is not very expat-friendly and that they will always prioritize their own citizens over foreigners,” they said.

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Singapore — With the promise of a possible resumption of travel next month, expatriates—many of whom have been waiting for months on end to start their jobs in Singapore—are looking forward to entering the country.

Singapore has had to walk a delicate balance between its policy of as few Covid deaths as possible, which has meant tight border closures, and its reliance on foreign workers to keep its economy going.

And while some expatriates have been able to enter Singapore for work purposes during the pandemic, others have not been so successful, according to a recent Reuters report. This means that the lives of some expatriates waiting to get into the country has been on hold.

However, in Parliament last month, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced the possibility of quarantine-free travel even as early as Sept, along with other relaxed restrictions, given that more and more people in Singapore are vaccinated. He added that the government expects 80 per cent of the population to have received both jabs by then.

The Reuters report says that the travel restrictions for many of Singapore’s expatriates have been a “nightmare”, especially for those who have been unable to enter the country in spite of having both jobs and visas, or those who have been afraid to leave as they may not be able to return.

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The report also cites the Ministry of Manpower and the Trade and Industry Ministry as telling Reuters, “As a small economy, Singapore must and will remain open and connected to the world. We cannot afford nor do we have any intention to close ourselves off to the world for longer than necessary.”

How exactly the country reopens will be scrutinized by other countries who have also embraced a similar policy of minimal deaths and tight restrictions, including China, Hong Kong, Australia, and Taiwan, the report adds.

A report in the Financial Times (FT) last month entitled “Fed-up expats begin drifting away from Singapore”, said that there have been expatriates who have given up on getting into Singapore, and have either decided to work in their home countries or relocate to other financial hubs such as Dubai, instead.

A consultant was quoted anonymously in FT as lamenting that Covid vaccinations had only been open to reservations for expats recently. 

“It’s just one of many ways Singapore has shown that it is not very expat-friendly and that they will always prioritize their own citizens over foreigners,” they said.

 /TISG

Read also:  Lawrence Wong: Quarantine-free travel, loosened restrictions lie ahead

Lawrence Wong: Quarantine-free travel, loosened restrictions lie ahead

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