Home News Hot topic: Who should foot the bill for foreign workers’ needs?

Hot topic: Who should foot the bill for foreign workers’ needs?

Should it be the Government, which means taxpayers’ money? Should it be the employers of the foreign workers? Or should the dormitory owners foot the bill? Or should all parties contribute?

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Singapore—The issue of the poor living conditions of Singapore’s migrant workers has featured prominently in the news of late, especially since a vast majority of new cases of Covid-19 have been linked to the dormitories where these workers live.

Due to the country’s “Circuit Breaker” restrictions, many of the workers currently have no means of employment, and thousands have been put under quarantine.

The Government has stepped in with providing accommodations, medical care, and food, and private individuals have also helped out.

But the question as to who should be paying the bills for the foreign workers’ needs has become a hot topic debated online.

Should it be the Government, which means taxpayers’ money? Should it be the employers of the foreign workers? Or should the dormitory owners foot the bill? Or should all parties contribute?

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A Redditor going by u/ChinaWine_official posted early on Tuesday morning (Apr 14) that he believes it is the responsibility of the companies who own the dormitories where the workers stay to take responsibility for their needs at this time.

As of this writing, over a hundred responses to his post have come in.

The Redditor wrote that it was these companies that caused the spread of Covid-19 among the foreign workers, since they had been warned repeatedly that these dormitories were potential hotspots for the outbreak.

He added, “But these companies took the risk of squeezing foreign workers tightly so that they could make a bigger profit….But when their gamble failed, suddenly it’s the government and taxpayer who has to make all these costly arrangements…. They did nothing because it would have eaten into their profits.”

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He ended his post with saying that the affected dorm companies should be given the bill “for all the work our healthcare workers and govt workers put in.”

Others joined the call for the dormitory owners to be fined, since they had endangered public health.

However, other commented that dormitory owners had merely complied with existing laws, and therefore, “it is Singapore Government that needs to step up and mandate improvements by amending the prevailing law,” wrote Redditor v1p3rtooth.

Another person commented that what is needed in this situation is “regulations and oversight” and that foreign worker housing should be under Government control in the same way HBDs are.

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One commenter, asdfgMaster said that the one at fault in this situation is the employers of the foreign workers, writing, “I think paying them a fraction of what locals are earning is barely fair enough but they should at least provide more suitable accommodations at least.” -/TISG

Read also: Gold standard no more? Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak begins to tarnish

Gold standard no more? Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak begins to tarnish

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