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Current Situation of Chinese Overseas Students in Singapore

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Population and scale of Chinese overseas students in Singapore at present, Singapore receives the applications of about 4,000 Chinese students every year. With the development of economic globalization and the improvement of living standards in China, this number will keep increasing in the coming years. Of the 60,000 international students studying in Singapore in 2004, Chinese students accounted for 50%, as many as 30,000, and the population keeps rising.

According to the internal documents of the Singapore Economic Development Board, the total population of Chinese students in Singapore is more than 30,000, of which nearly 10,000 are from government university institutions (3,500 in National University of Singapore, 2,300 in Nanyang Technological University, 50 in Singapore Management University, 300 in Singapore Polytechnic, 400 in Temasek Polytechnic, 800 in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 500 Nanyang Polytechnic and 80 in Republic Polytechnic. Approximately 10,000 students are in governmental primary and secondary schools in Singapore. The rest 10,000 students are distributed in nearly 100 private schools.

Types of Chinese overseas students in China and the current situation and tendency of Singapore immigration. Graduates of Chinese universities who come to Singapore for long-term study and obtain the academic certificate. These overseas students mainly include students who study at various colleges, departments and graduate schools of National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, and Singapore Management University, who study in private English schools and computer schools, and who study in the Singaporean schools of Australian and UK universities. These universities have a high admission threshold, and so all these Chinese students who come to study in Singapore are highly qualified and talented people who have a high comprehensive quality in Chinese universities. In the case of the National University of Singapore, students must have a TOEFL score of 600 or above and an IELTS score of 6.5 or above in order to be enrolled. The students study diligently in Singaporean universities and become the most popular overseas student group in Singapore.

Therefore, they are also the main force for conversion of overseas students to new immigrants.

Short-term training students. The students mainly include some officials and business executives who come to Singapore to study English and management methods. Most of them come to Singapore for short-term training and hold key positions in Chinese government institutions, state-owned and private-owned companies, some of whom are also the CEOs of listed companies. These students are less likely to immigrate to Singapore because they have a better working environment and higher social status in China. They come to study in Singapore with the sole intention to improve their professional quality.

Study visits and overseas training. The personnel is mainly deployed by schools and public institutions to study and exchange in the corresponding institutions in Singapore for a certain period of time. The personnel mainly include visiting scholars or senior visiting scholars and students in cooperative research, study or training, visiting professors and cooperative exchange students. These students are all sent by national institutions or agencies and have close ties with the original institutions and schools. Therefore, their rate of returning to China is high, and it is very unlikely that they will settle in the country.

Overseas students in secondary and primary schools, the population of whom has shown a rising trend in recent years in Singapore. According to statistics, since the Reform and Opening-Up Policy, about 20,000 to 30,000 people each year have come to study abroad at their own expenses, of which primary and secondary school students account for 50%.

Because of their younger age, they are more receptive to the new environment and they spend longer time on studying in Singapore (4-5 years in secondary schools and 3-4 years in universities). Therefore, in the future, they are very likely to become new immigrants. Although it is difficult to have exact statistics concerning Chinese students who settle in Singapore, based on the statistics of some overseas students, we can estimate the tendency of students who convert into new immigrants. In 2002, Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao and Chinese overseas student website “Huaxinwang” jointly conducted a survey on Chinese students who received scholarships. A total of 105 individuals were surveyed, all of whom were the winners of the first scholarships. These individuals have completed undergraduate programs at Singaporean universities and are currently executing the contract for six-year local employment. 51% of surveyed respondents said they plan to remain in Singapore within three to five years while 30% said they are ready to return to China, and the rest 19% said they are interested in seeking further development in other countries. In this survey, more than half of the students chose to immigrate to Singapore. According to statistics, in every nine students on average who graduate from the National University of Singapore, three will stay in Singapore, three will choose to return to their home countries and the remaining three will go to the United States for further studies.

It can be estimated that among the 30,000 Chinese overseas students in Singapore, at least 10,000 students will immigrate to become permanent residents of Singapore. As Chinese students keep coming to study in Singapore, the group of overseas students who become new immigrants will also grow larger and larger.

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Current situation of Chinese overseas students in Singapore. (2018, September 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
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