More Singaporean Men Are Marrying Foreign Wives
For the past ten years, the number of Singaporean men marrying foreign women has been on the rise at a rapid rate. This development has seen community workers become apprehensive because most of the men are poor, old and their families live in abject poverty. Additionally, they are victims of human rights abuse, and securing the Singapore entrepass has been difficult.
Numbers don’t lie. For instance, statistics show that, in the year 2012 alone, there were approximately 5600 marriages between Singaporean grooms and foreign women. These number represented a 40% increase from the 3900 recorded in 2002.
In the past decade, an excess of 50000 Singaporean citizens have married foreign brides who are neither permanent residents nor citizens. Of the foreign wives, 95% of them are from neighboring Asian countries. The majority of the women, who are between 20 and 30 years old, hail from Indonesia, India, China, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The number of foreign women crossing Singapore’s borders for marriage is increasing with each passing year. A large number of these women have been reaching out to Singaporean husbands via their friends already married to Singaporean men.
Social workers report that the majority of the Singaporean men who marry foreign women are already in their 40s, seeking a second wife, or have a low level of education. With these said traits, these men find it hard to lure local wives. Therefore, they opt for foreigners because the Singaporean men feel they are less demanding.
A group of university researchers also noted that most men from Singapore who marry foreign women are searching for lower paying types of care work. The work may involve taking care of elderly parents, emotional and physical company, or household chores.
Community workers are helping these couples and families, who in more cases than not have a lot of problems. Most of the men in these marriages either earn too little from casual labor or are too old to secure a permanent job. To make matters worse, their wives cannot seek employment because they lack official documents.
Other than financial hurdles, the women also remain in constant worry about how long their stay in Singapore will last. Most of these women hold a Long-Term Visit Pass that is valid for only 3 to 12 months. In certain cases, some are given a social visit pass, and they have to travel in and out of Singapore the moment the pass expires. As a result of this, most families fail to stay together for long, and their kids may skip school as a result of the frequent travel.
Social workers also note that the foreign women find it extremely hard to seek permanent residence within Singapore. To help curb this problem and enable foreign spouses to reside for a longer time, the government of Singapore alongside relevant authorities introduced the Long-Term Visit Pass Plus. There are calls by various lobbyists for the government to make sure that social welfare groups and families work together to help strengthen the rights of these foreign spouses because they are viewed as no more than temporary visitors.