4 in 10 people in Singapore are migrants – and almost 1 million are from Malaysia: UN

The UN figures are based on public data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics. The Singapore Government has never published figures on the origins of migrants by country. Its official figures are only by region.
The Straits Times
  • Close to 40% of people in Singapore are migrants, UN figures show.

  • That’s over 10 times the global average.

  • Most migrants here are from Malaysia, numbering about one million people.

  • The second major source of migrants here is China, accounting for close to 400,000 people.

  • Rounding out the top five countries of origin are Indonesia, India, and Pakistan.

Surprise, surprise – the majority of foreign-born people in Singapore come from none other than neighbouring Malaysia, new statistics from the United Nations have revealed.

This group includes permanent residents, work pass holders and their dependents, students, and newly-minted passport holders.

The UN’s International Migrant Stock 2019 data shows that the percentage of migrants in Singapore tripled over the past three decades, growing from 24 per cent (727,000 migrants) of the population in 1990 to 37 per cent (2.15 million) in 2019.

This puts the percentage of migrants in the Republic’s population at over 10 times the global average of 3.5 per cent in 2019.

The number of migrants in Singapore tripled over the past three decades, peaking in 2015.
United Nations International Migrant Stock 2019

The percentage of migrants in the Republic’s population was over 10 times the global average.
United Nations International Migrant Stock 2019

The UN identified Malaysia, China and Indonesia as the top three origin countries of migrants in Singapore, with India and Pakistan rounding out the top five.

In particular, the number of Malaysian migrants here – close to one million – far exceeded those of other nationalities, with Chinese migrants numbering close to 400,000, and Indonesian, Indian and Pakistani migrants numbering below 200,000 each.

Malaysia, China and Indonesia were the top three origin countries of migrants in Singapore.
United Nations International Migrant Stock 2019

UN data also revealed that 60 per cent of the migrant population here is female, with the majority of the entire migrant population aged between 20 and 64. None are refugees.

The Straits Times (ST) reported that Malaysian migrants accounted for 44 per cent of the foreign-born population here, with Chinese and Indonesian migrants making up 18 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

ST added that the UN figures are based on public data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics. The Singapore Government has never published figures on the origins of migrants by country. Its official figures are only by region.

In its World Migration Report 2020, the UN said Singapore’s advanced economy made it a “notable destination” for migrants, with migrant labour in particular being “integral to the economy”.

On Sunday (Jan 19), Bernama reported Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran as saying that the country planned to introduce a scheme to protect the welfare of about 300,000 Malaysians working in Singapore, adding that they were drawn to the Republic by lucrative salaries.

The Singapore dollar is roughly three times the value of the Ringgit.

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