Report on Impact of colonialism and war in the migration and settlement of South Asian communities in Singapore

Report on Impact of colonialism and war in the migration and settlement of South Asian communities in Singapore


The migration from South Asian communities dramatically increased in the year 1970 and 1980. Asian migration is a westward movement which helped in shaping the history of European in the middle ages. Among all the south Asian communities, Indian migration happened back centuries. During the time of the colonial period, many indentured workers were recruited by force. The impact of the war and colonialism made the migration of communities of South Asia such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives very troublesome and challenging.  This report is an attempt to get a deep insight into the impact of the war and colonialism on the migration and settlement of South Asian communities in Singapore. The report will make efforts to come up with an overview of the history of migrants of South Asian communities and the obstacles that arose during their migration to Singapore.  


In the 20th century, migration was very low from Asia due to stringent legislation, and prohibitive policies of colonial powers. Movement within Asia including South Asian communities was often connected with political struggles. As per the recent, figures, Singapore has a huge part of the population as immigrants from South Asia communities which is consisting of India, Pakistan, Maldives etc (Rahman. and Kiong, 2013). The movement to the west started to grow in the year 1960 for haphazard reasons. There were many discriminatory rules faced by the South Asian communities but with the increase in foreign investment and trade helped in a better communication network which was needed for migration. The military of the US which was present in Asian countries forged transnational links which bought the Asian brides home.
The Vietnam War resulted in a large refugee movement. The primary movement of family migration to Singapore started during the Vietnam war where this cause gave rise to the future entries of permanent settlers. There was a complex experience shared by the South Asian countries for migrating to Singapore (Mohammad and Sidaway, 2012). The refugee movement has been a peaceful stay for the countries in East Asia and the Pacific in comparison with the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. In the year 2008, the war-torn Afghanistan under which more than a million people fled after the invasion of the Soviet Union was the biggest source of refugees with more than 2 million population globally. Pakistan hosted most refugees in the year 2008 from Afghanistan which restricted the people of the country to migrate to Singapore. The refugee situation in Afghanistan occurred when the end of the Vietnam War took place in the year 1975. During this war, more than 2.5 million people fled by boat people covering long distances in small boats which were at the risk of pirate and shipwreck attacks. During this period, Singapore was unwilling to accept the settlers whereas the Chinese accepted around 250000 refugees. For a certain period, South Asian communities suspended the recruitment program for migrant worker. This war also leads the country to lay off some migrant workers. This step made the migrant workers to reluctant to return to their place or seek a different country to move to. 
In late 1830 and 1910, there was the following of the indenture system in India. Under this system, government used to place the order for a specific number of workers under Indian licensed agencies. After signing the indenture agreement of three years, the workers were allowed to move to Singapore (Huang and Yeoh, 2011). This system was a kind of abuse to both countries. India recruiters for immigration to Singapore often used to procure labour under fake pretences. The system was also considering the recruitment under the same caste under which the immigrant country recruits the person from India under the same caste and locality. There was a huge power Kangana which wield over the workers. Though, the system was abolished in the year 1938. There was an increase in repatriations when the height of the world economic depression was going in between 1930-1933. Indian government ban the immigration of unskilled workers. 
In Singapore, the Chinese were dominant which led to the migration of South Asian communities very difficult. During the time of the British, Singapore transformed into a multi-ethnic also called a plural colonial-style meeting the same major ethnic components as Chinese and Malay (Kaur, 2010). There was a different proportion of meeting of ethic components with South Asian communities. The strength of the Chinese was the most pivotal in the politics of Singapore. In 1959, Singapore achieved internal self-rule. Singapore started knowing with its dominated labour and was exclusively utilised by the three straits of colonies for the work of construction such as railways, bridges, buildings and so on. Singapore then created mercantile opportunities which enhanced the migrants from South Asian communities. South Asian are particularly wretched with the circumstances like untouchable caste which is called as Adi-Dravida or Dravidians. In the decade 1911-1921, there was huge class diversity and ethnolinguistics which completely limited the migration of South Asians. 
During the Japanese occupation of Singapore(1942-1945), the regular contact between Singapore and South Asian communities was terminated. The immigration trend slowed down but that did not impact the overall proportion of immigrants in Singapore from South Asian communities. South Asian was found to bring linguistic diversity with them to Singapore. Indian workers in Singapore were typically provided with the accommodation facility and domestic units, and thus there was the use of estate workers, coolie lines etc.  At that time, Singapore does not seem to promote the ethnic traditions toward the ideological supremacy of India (Hussain, 2017). There was an increase in demand for female domestic workers in the year 1990 in Singapore. But Asian countries did not allow females to settle permanently in Singapore and bring their families. 
Illegal migration was another issue faced by the South Asian communities and the growth of the same was increasing. The government was unwilling to effectively manage illegal migration. The employer's desire for exploiting workers increased due to such a tendency. The insecurity and rightlessness increased with the legal migrants of South Asian communities in Singapore. Singapore builds a blind eye on terms of illegal workers which lead to the mass expulsion of downturns in the economy (Tan, 2010). From 1997-1999, irregular migrants were leading to crime and disease in the country. Singapore's government then decided to combat the trafficking and terrorism happening out of illegal immigrants. Multilateral cooperation was entered by Singapore for the prevention of illegal immigration. One of the steps of getting engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was adopted as a plan of action for resolving issues such as illegal immigration. This action is aimed to promote skilled immigration, facilitation of legal movement between countries under ASEAN and combat people trafficking and smuggling. 
From 1979-1999, there was rapid growth which resulted in a strong demand for labour in the new industrial economies such as Singapore. In the first of 1990, labour migration policy exponentially increased. But migrants have to return in the year 1997-1999 due to financial crisis but migration of labour resumed quickly. There was the flow of mainly low-skilled workers but the demand for health care workers during the days has increased which also increased the opportunities for the South Asian communities to enhance their migration to Singapore (Sandhu, 2010). South Asian workers were found to create less dominance than any other worker in Singapore. With the ease in the migration policy of Singapore, the migrants could cover 15% of the population from South Asian communities.  
Singapore has always been global-oriented and an open economy where transnational migration happens very much. On the back of immigration, Singapore built an economic strength and its migration policies are testing the politics and society. In the last decade, the people's republic of India emerged as a major source of new migrants in Singapore. Colonialism leads the country with a large stake in the Chinese community which persist today (Raman, 2015). Singapore's historical count and its regulatory regimes which govern the policy of immigration lead to social tensions for the contemporary flows of the people's republic of India into Singapore in an uncomfortable manner.   
History says that Singapore has always been intertwined with the policy of migration. With the fledging of the colonial economy, there were a large number of labourers from India, China and other South Asian communities such as the Malay Archipelago drew there. During the occupation of the Japanese, from the year 1942 to 1945, Singapore went into self-governance in the year 1950-1960 and passed a new ordinance that limited immigration and imposed the laws for India in the year 1965.  
Singapore has been a rapidly growing economy which led to the movement of both highly skilled and unskilled workers to the country. Now the immigration from South Asian Communities to Singapore is growing rapidly (Rahman and Rahman, 2017). At the same time, immigration is also leading to the high price of property and cost of living which made the country the most expensive city to live and work in. The population of immigrants in Singapore is so high which was a few hundred back in 1819. The country is also having a huge population of young people from south Asian communities. The survey has stated that the migration from South Asian communities will pull the large workers in the future which can reach far from social and political consequences. The 21st century can be said to be the dubbed pacific century which is surely gonna make the rapid growth in the migration growth and diversity in Asia.   


From the above, it is concluded that the immigration of South Asian communities to Singapore was complex. There were many restricted policies on migration and the negative impact of the war. The movement of South Asian communities has been shaped by the frequent change of decisions of government in their own country and Singapore. Illegal migration seemed to be very high, yet the Singapore government has had good control over it over the years. After having all the challenges and difficulties, South Asian communities are well settled in Singapore and become a part of the growth of Singapore and the global economy. The immigration policy has always been a major agenda of government every time. 
A conclusion can be made from the above report that there a the more negative impact of war and colonialism on the immigration of South Asia communities to Singapore. Yet the positive impact was also huge which lead to the permanent settlement of South Asian communities in Singapore country. Comparing the past figures of immigration of South Asian communities to Singapore there has been a huge increment and contribution to the betterment of the global economy.  The report has developed a complete understanding of the history of immigration to Singapore.