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Construction firms lament rising rental costs for foreign worker dorms

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Some businesses have postponed plans to bring in new foreign workers because of housing problems

SINGAPORE: A number of construction firms are lamenting the rising rents for foreign worker dormitories, with some dormitories more than doubling the rentals that they used to charge. Larger companies have reportedly resorted to putting their foreign workers in their own temporary accommodation while smaller firms are struggling to find new housing solutions.

One construction company that spoke to Channel 8 news said it employs 20 migrant workers who lived in a dormitory for eight years until rentals rose so sharply that they decided to move their workers into cheaper apartments.

Noting that this may not be sustainable in the long run, the company’s director said that industry players are wondering what to do because there appears to be no better way to solve the problem.

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Pointing out that workers are crucial to their projects, the director said that some firms face the possibility of closure if they cannot afford proper housing for their workers.

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Due to these accommodation issues, some businesses have reportedly postponed their plans to bring in new foreign workers.

To solve this issue, some large construction companies have chosen to build temporary dormitories on their construction sites. Business owners told Channel 8 that contractors want to rent rooms for their workers but cannot do so due to government regulations.

Dormitories in Singapore are closely regulated to ensure residents have access to appropriate living arrangements. One construction company owner said that the new regulations introduced by the Ministry of Manpower on the number of bedrooms and toilets workers must have made the issues they face “very difficult”.

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