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25 Jul 2019
Out of the box
Suggestion View - 271
Allow foreign spouses to be permanent residents

Singapore has a low birth rate for several decades. In spite of efforts by the government to encourage families to have more children, the results have continued to be disappointing.

The key factor is the high cost of living which require both spouses to work full time to earn enough to meet this high cost. Most women are not able to cope with full time work and the demand on their time to raise children.

Many families have decided that they cannot afford the high cost of raising children. They opted for one child or none at all. 

What can be done to change this situation?

I suggest that foreign spouses of Singapore citizens should be allowed to be permanent residents.  

At present, the government will allow permanent residents to foreign spouses if the Singapore citizen earns a high income, or if the foreign spouse is able to work in a well paid job.

I suggest that this requirement be changed. The government should give permanent resident to a foreign spouse who is willing to be a home maker and to work part time in any suitable job.

There is a large number of Singapore citizens who are not well educated. They have to marry a foreign spouse from a low income country who are willing to be home makers. 

By changing the government policy to grant permanent residents to these foreign spouses, these lower income citizens can afford to raise the children.

To avoid abuse, the permanent residency of the foreign spouse can be revoked if there is a divorce within the first five years of the marriage. If the family has produced two children, the foreign spouse can be granted citizenship after five years.

We have to recognize that our society requires people of different levels who are willing to carry out different jobs. We cannot be a society only for well educated people. 

I hope that this suggestion can be considered. It can help to boost the birth rate in Singapore. 

Tan Kin Lian 

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