Ms Olivia Wang Mei's plea to consider making integration a key criterion for permanent residence and citizenship applications is, on paper, a sensible one ("Make integration a criterion for PR status"; Sept 11).
However, it is not possible to quantify integration or one's willingness to assimilate into the culture of the country.
People coming here merely to earn top dollar, without any desire to contribute to the community, are clearly not deserving of permanent residency or citizenship.
But how will the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) ascertain this? It is currently not in a position to know a foreigner's intentions in entering the country.
Perhaps the ICA could devise appropriate methods to screen an applicant, such as by posing questions on his long-term reasons for wanting to enter and reside in Singapore.
Willingness to serve national service, for example, would be a crucial determinant for an applicant for permanent residency.
The country needs people who are willing to integrate into the community and culture.
Only in this way can Singapore look forward to having a more cohesive and inclusive society.
V. Subramaniam (Dr), Reader
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