Mainland Chinese (or “PRC Chinese”) make up one of the largest migrant groups in Singapore today. Following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1990, the Chinese have arrived continuously and in increasingly significant numbers to pursue work, business, study, and settlement. Despite the notable presence of Chinese migrants, it is not publicly known how many of them there are exactly in the city-state, due to the perceived sensitiveness of issues around immigration and race/ethnicity.

Contemporary Chinese migrants in Singapore (xin yimin) are scattered across a wide spectrum of socioeconomic/occupational categories, and their stay in Singapore can be temporary, permanent, or something in between. Drawing on published research, this talk touches on the experiences of a variety of types of Chinese migrants in Singapore today, including migrant laborers, student(-turned)-migrants, “study ma mas”, and professionals/“foreign talent”, etc.


YANG Peidong is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Division of Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Having first come to Singapore from China in 2002 on a Singapore government-funded scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies, Peidong was himself a “foreign talent” student, and is currently a migrant academic.

He obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford with a dissertation on the Singapore government’s China-oriented scholarship schemes that aimed at channeling in talented Chinese students as immigrant human resources. This work will be published in book form by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016 with the title International Mobility and Educational Desire: Chinese Foreign Talent Students in Singapore.

Singapore – ‘The Experience of Contemporary Chinese Migrants in Singapore’ with Yang Peidong of Nanyang Technological University
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