Singapore—A report commissioned by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and released on June 9, Sunday, shows that the country’s foreign workers are generally satisfied with working conditions in Singapore.
Furthermore, the foreign workers who participated in the survey said they would also recommend Singapore as a working place for their relations and friends.
MOM’s report involved 2,500 work permit and 500 S Pass holders who were randomly polled in a 2018 study made by Blackbox Research.
The survey’s respondents said that the good pay and living conditions and the safety and security of the country are the vital reasons why they expressed general satisfaction concerning their working conditions in Singapore.
The survey’s results are slightly lower than from 2014 when the same study was last conducted. In 2014, 87.7 percent of work pass holders and 90.7 percent of S Pass holders expressed satisfaction with working in the country, whereas in last year’s study, 86.3 percent of work pass holders and 87.5 percent of S Pass holders said they were satisfied working in Singapore.
The results are similar in the case of recommending Singapore as a place to work. In 2014, 85.7 percent of work permit holders and 93.4 percent of S Pass holders said they would recommend Singapore as a place to work, while in 2018, the results were 84 percent and 91 percent respectively.
Good pay, a safe and secure country, good living conditions, good working conditions, and good prospects were the top five reasons given as to why they would recommend Singapore as a place to work to people they know.
However, the study also highlighted areas of possible improvements, such as there being a higher number of non-Malaysian work permit holders who did not receive their in-principle approval (IPA) letter before coming to the country than there had been in 2014.
In 2014, only four percent of foreign workers did not receive their IPA letter before coming, while last year, the number rose to 15.4 percent.
Employers who fail to provide foreign workers with an IPA could face fines as high as S$10,000.
It is mandated that employers mail IPA letters to workers, which are issued after the approval of work permit applications before foreign workers come to Singapore. The terms and conditions of their employment, including their basic salary, are outlined in the IPA letters.
This means that some workers arrived in the country last year without full knowledge of the specifics of their employment.
From October 2018, MOM introduced a Settling-In Programme (SIP) which makes it necessary for foreign workers to have their IPA letters when they arrive in the country. The ministry has said that 97 percent of foreign workers were in possession of their IPAs when they showed up for their SIPs earlier this year, from February to April. Individuals who did not have their IPAs were furnished copies by the Migrant Workers’ Centre.
According to MOM, “MOM will also investigate and take enforcement action against any employer and employment agency who does not send the IPA letter to the worker prior to his departure to Singapore.
Failure to send the IPA letter is an infringement under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations, and carries a maximum financial penalty of S$10,000.”
One noteworthy improvement is that almost half of the respondents in the study reported that their IPAs had been worded in their native language, as opposed to only 21.3 percent in 2014. And while 74.7 percent reported having received their letters in English five years ago, only 36.3 percent of respondents reported this in last year’s study. -/TISG
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