LIKE many young people his age, polytechnic student Muhammad Danial Norazman hopes to find a good-paying job when he graduates next year.

But the current buzz on Singapore letting in more foreigners to help boost the population worries the engineering student, who fears for his career prospects.

'I want to get a good job and be able to buy a house. But I'm worried my pay won't be high because there will be a lot of competition,' the 21-year-old told The Straits Times.

Competing with foreigners for jobs weighed heaviest on the minds of 40 young people interviewed yesterday about the Government's White Paper on Singapore's future population.

They were aged 16 to 23, the demographic group that will form the core of Singapore's workforce by 2030.

By then, the White Paper projects the population to reach 6.9 million, to ensure a vibrant economy that will provide jobs for a better-educated population.

But half of the young people polled rejected the idea of the population going up to 6.9 million, with another 14 saying they were unsure. Six supported the idea.

Most, however, acknowledged the need for foreigners to do the low-skilled jobs shunned by Singaporeans.

But they are anxious about having to compete with the cream of the crop from abroad for better-paying jobs, even though it is projected that two-thirds of Singaporeans will hold professional, managerial, executive and technical (PMET) jobs by 2030. Said 19-year-old Chia Xiu Bin, an Institute of Technical Education (ITE) student: 'I'm concerned about my future job prospects.

'My classmates and I already feel employers look down on us because of our qualifications, so what more with future employers who may want better-educated foreigners?'

Several suggested that the Government make into law the condition that Singaporeans be hired first.

Many also fret that homes may become unaffordable while public spaces and transport will be even more congested.

Said polytechnic student Shalyn Yong, 19: 'I will have children by 2030, and I hope they will not find it difficult to get a place in school and later, find good jobs.'

The six who welcomed the plan for more foreigners say they will help carry the future tax burden.

Said Hwa Chong Institution student Huang Weihon, 16: 'If we don't have more foreigners, next time the burden will be very heavy on us Singaporeans because of the ageing population.

'As long as there is not too much competition and we still have places in the workforce, I'm optimistic the plan will work.'