(Quintessential)SIIA (Singapore): Foreign labour and long-term care for the elderly

“Although Singapore has committed to reducing its dependence on foreign labour, it must consider the impact of this policy on the vital industry of long-term care for the elderly,” said Therese Leung.

“Foreign workers are the majority of long-term caregivers in this country, as they occupy low paying, labour-intensive jobs that are not particularly attractive to many locals. Thus, we need to find a way of balancing between public sentiment that is resentful of foreign workers occupying jobs, and caring for our elderly.”

”In the long term, Singapore needs to create incentives for local workers to enter the long-term care sector, combining a series of structural changes to these jobs, in the form of wage increases, career development, and supervision opportunities. These changes cannot come fast enough; today, one in twelve Singaporeans is at least 65 years old, and by 2030, that number will be one in five.”

”The government has done well to prepare for this demographic shift by building more infrastructure to care for the elderly, such as the Agency for Integrated Care and the Community Silver trust, but there is still a significant way to go if we want to develop a local, sustainable long-term care workforce.”