This is one of several pages linking to information about the immigration and emigration policies and outcomes of specific countries, and implications for discussions of open borders.
Singapore is a small country (population about 5.4 million) located in South-East Asia, adjacent to Malaysia. You can get more basic information about Singapore as a country on Wikipedia. See also the Wikipedia page on immigration to Singapore.
Singapore is interesting in the context of the migration debate for the following reasons:
- Over half the population is foreign-born (this includes foreign-born citizens, non-citizen permanent residents, and guest workers). This is more than all OECD countries (the only country that comes even somewhat close is tiny Luxembourg), and among the largest for high-income countries with nontrivial population sizes.
- Singapore has an extensive guest worker program facilitating large-scale temporary low-skilled migration. Many features of the program are similar to the DRITI scheme proposed by Nathan Smith. This is significant because Singapore combines greater openness to migration with stricter enforcement of the restrictive provisions, and is therefore a living implementation of keyhole solutions.
- Although Singapore is a democracy, the country’s unusual political structure gives policy elites more leeway to implement politically unpopular policies. The public seems more deferential to the government in terms of accepting these policies in exchange for good overall levels of prosperity.
Below are some blog posts about Singapore and migration, arranged in decreasing order of importance.
- Migration levies and unskilled labor mobility in Singapore by Carl Shulman, May 7, 2014. This is a fairly detailed overview of Singapore’s migration policy and the outcomes for migrants and natives. In the post, Shulman makes some of the points above, in particular comparing Singapore to DRITI.
- Make More Singapores by Nathan Smith, Open Borders: The Case, May 13, 2014. This is a response to Shulman’s post.
- The Singaporean Path to Cosmopolitanism by Bryan Caplan, EconLog, February 26, 2014. This post makes the point that Singaporeans are more anti-immigration than Americans, but Singaporean policy still allows for more migration, because of people’s deference to elites in policy-making. See also the post Who favors open borders? by Nathan Smith, Open Borders: The Case, December 3, 2012 (Singapore is unfortunately not included in the World Values Survey data that this post is based on, but there is some related discussion in the comments).
- Singapore: 29% of the labor force is foreign by Nathan Smith, Open Borders: The Case, April 24, 2013.
- A DREAM Act for Singapore? Or, the arbitrariness of nationality-based residence laws by John Lee, Open Borders: The Case, April 9, 2013.