Wooing overseas S'poreans: Sustained effort required

The Government, through Contact Singapore, is stepping up efforts to woo overseas Singaporeans back to the country ("Govt taps recruiters to lure overseas S'poreans home"; March 3). I applaud this aim.

Many Singaporeans living overseas are well-educated, experienced and skilled. So, just as we welcome experienced or skilled foreigners to work in our country, we should also encourage our own people to return home after their studies or work stints abroad.

There are various reasons why many Singaporeans have chosen to live abroad.

Some have married foreign spouses and entrenched their families in their host countries.

Even though they may still hold Singapore passports, it may be more difficult for them to return.

The resident status of their foreign spouses and children needs to be made clear for them to relocate to Singapore.

Then, there are those who may wish to come back if they can find suitable employment.

It is important to reach out to as many of them as possible, maintain continual contact with them, and help them find suitable employment here.

To be effective, this has to be a sustained effort and not a periodic exercise. Using professional headhunting firms may be acceptable for a particular recruitment exercise, but how these firms can contribute to a sustained effort is another matter.

As a tiny country with a small local population, Singapore has to make every effort to encourage overseas Singaporeans to return at some point in time to contribute to their home country, and to be with their parents, relatives and friends.

After all, human resource is our most precious resource.

Chua Yong Hai


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