The fall in the non-resident population occurred mainly due to decrease in foreign employment owing to the restrictions
Channel News Asia, citing the annual Population in Brief published by National Population and Talent Division, pointed out, the number of citizens fell by 0.7 per cent to 3.5 million, while PR numbers dropped 6.2 per cent to 490,000.
“Travel restrictions during the pandemic was the main factor affecting the size of the (citizen) and PR population in 2021, as more (citizens) and PRs were staying overseas continuously for 12 months or more, who therefore were not counted as part of the resident population," the National Population and Talent Division said.
Fewer people became new citizens or PRs last year, likely due to travel restrictions and operational limitations arising from COVID-19, it said.
For example, safe management measures resulted in limited slots to complete the final steps for PR and citizenship registration, which must be done in-person, it also said
“As a result, some applicants who were approved in principle had not completed all the required processes to be granted their permanent residency or citizenship by end-2020."