The growth rate of foreign workers in Singapore has shrinked to one fourth over the last two years, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in parliament on Monday.
Excluding construction and domestic workers, the foreign worker growth rate was halved from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 4.6 percent in 2012, and halved again to just 2.3 percent in 2013, according to Tan.
Tan made such remarks when speaking in parliament responding to the report on Little India riot, which was released on June 30 by the Committee of Inquiry. The report has given eight suggestions to better manage congregation areas and improve the living situation of foreign workers.
Stressing the importance of the recommendations, Tan also pointed out that "even as we undertake to more effectively manage the foreign workers in our midst, the broader lesson is that growth in foreign worker numbers cannot go unabated."
"We have taken deliberate and progressive steps to raise the quality profile of our foreign workforce and help businesses reduce their reliance on low-cost foreign labor," Tan added.
Singapore has been axing on the number of foreign workers in recent years. Figure from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) shows that Singapore is home to over 1.3 million foreign workers as of June 2013, accounting for 24 percent of its total population. Most of the foreign workers come from China, South Asian and Southeast countries such as India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
While those with high academic qualifications are recruited to large-scale enterprises, the majority are engaged in low-income jobs such as primary construction workers, lorry drivers and cleaners, with the monthly salary at between 1,500 Singapore dollars (1,204 U.S. dollars) to 2,500 Singapore dollars (2,006 U.S. dollars).