Parliamentary reply by Minister Indranee Rajah on Decrease in PR Population in Singapore
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
TUESDAY, 2 NOVEMBER 2021
Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim:
To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the sharp decline of 6.2% in the Singapore permanent resident (PR) population is mainly due to extended stays by PRs in their citizenship countries abroad; (b) if so, whether there is any indication that the majority will return or relinquish their PR status; and (c) what impact this decline will have on job formation.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
From June 2020 to June 2021, the Permanent Resident (PR) population in Singapore decreased by 6.2% to 0.49 million. As explained in the Population in Brief report published on 28 September, the main reason for the decrease is because more PRs remained overseas continuously for 12 months or more due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
We do not have sufficient data to ascertain whether these PRs are in their citizenship countries or elsewhere. It is also too early to conclude if these PRs will return or relinquish their PR status. In general, PRs who are overseas require a valid Re-Entry Permit (REP) to return to Singapore as PRs. The REP is renewable based on considerations such as whether the PR is gainfully employed and contributing to Singapore, or has family roots here.
Our PR population has remained stable at around half a million for over a decade and short-term shifts in the PR population are unlikely to affect resident employment trends, as citizens consistently make up about 85% of our resident workforce. Resident employment numbers and unemployment rates have been improving since 3Q 2020. The Member can refer to the latest data on the Ministry of Manpower’s website. We will continue to closely monitor the changes in our PR population as COVID-19 travel restrictions are steadily lifted.