Singapore—News and media website Rice Media published an article on Friday (Oct 2) entitled “Why It Sucks to Be An Expat In Singapore Right Now” by staff writer Edoardo Liotta, which has gained traction online, with many Singaporeans sharing and commenting on it.
Netizens are pointing out that amid the unprecedented economic uncertainty of the pandemic, “It sucks to be an expat anywhere in the world.”
Rice Media’s piece focuses on the experiences of expats Callum, Kym, Rohit, and Kate as examples of the hardships foreigners who have lost their jobs in Singapore are going through.
As the government has had to protect more local jobs due to the economic fallout of the pandemic, statistics say that 60,000 foreigners lost their jobs in Singapore as of May of this year, with foreign employment falling by 5.7 per cent vs 2.7 per cent for local employment.
Additionally, the country’s population has fallen for the first time since 2003, and one major reason for this is because of the additional difficulties foreigners are facing in getting hired.
The article quotes Australian Kym Grieve as saying that contrary to many people’s thinking, expat packages do not come with the privileges and benefits they did a few decades ago.
And as for Ukrainian Kate Sotnychenko, a UX designer who lost her job in June, she says, “It’s very sad. We’re also a part of this country like everyone else. It’s a multicultural city. I want to work, I want to help and I want to be a part of the community. But they refuse me that, even if I’m doing everything I can.”
Singaporeans responding to the article pointed out that 2020 is hard on practically everyone everywhere, not just expats.
And Singapore is by no means the only country that is giving first priority to its citizens.
Some took particular notice of the first foreigner mentioned in the article, 22-year-old Callum, pointing out that while he’s had several job opportunities already, most Singaporean males his age are still doing National Service.
One netizen pointed out that losing employment during tough times is a risk a person takes in agreeing to work abroad.
Another said that if locals are being told to learn new skills and retrain, expats should also be willing to be similarly flexible.