Either make more babies or embrace foreign workers

In Singapore, long open to immigration, foreigners make up about a third of the workforce, be they be bankers, kitchen staff, bus drivers or mail handlers.(File picture shows foreign workers waving from the corridor of their rooms at the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol on April 6. - AFP)

FOR Asia’s most prosperous societies, Covid-19 has exposed a big vulnerability: People simply aren’t having enough babies to replenish their ageing populations. It’s foreign workers that make these countries function.

That’s why pulling up the drawbridge to halt further spread of the disease and protect domestic businesses would be perilous. Even Japan and South Korea, often seen as hostile to outsiders, have been coming to terms with their reliance on employees from abroad in recent years.

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