SINGAPORE: The immigration office of Indonesia said early last month that between 2019 and 2022, 3,912 Indonesians obtained a Singapore passport.
The main reasons these young people have availed of Singaporean citizenship are scholarships and better career opportunities, as reported by The Straits Times on Thursday (Aug 10).
Most of them are between the ages of 25 and 35 and are degree holders, which has stoked fears of a brain drain of some of Indonesia’s brightest youths. And some Indonesian authorities feel that losing talent could thwart the country’s hopes of becoming a developed nation by 2045.
ST quoted Silmy Karim, Indonesia’s director general for immigration, as acknowledging that each person has a right to pursue better chances in life but noted that a potential brain drain situation should be given attention.
“I believe it is legal for Indonesian citizens to change their citizenship for a better standard of living as long as it is done legally. Those who move are of productive age, with potential,” Mr Karim said in July,
But he also said that “This serves as an alarm for us to make efforts so that our excellent human resources continue to stay in Indonesia. We need them in the areas of technology, finance, digitalisation and others as required by a country to compete with others. We don’t want to face shortage of experts in some fields.”
Indonesia-born Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Sulfikar Amir, a faculty member in the Sociology Programme at the School of Social Sciences NTU, said in a July 30 South China Morning Post article that many Indonesians would opt to live in Singapore if they were given a change, regardless of whether they obtain citizenship.
Assoc Prof Amir added that this is a sign that they are dissatisfied with conditions in Indonesia, which could motivate the Indonesian government to improve the situation for the country’s youth. /TISG