Singapore— Workers Party’ chair Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) sought clarification on Tuesday (March 2) on the new regulations for staggering the entry of foreign workers into the country.
These additional measures implemented by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) require employers to obtain slots for their workers to enter Singapore on specific dates.
These were implemented in order to reduce the risk of imported Covid-19 cases.
Of late, the majority of Covid-19 cases in Singapore have been imported — detected in individuals who were already serving Stay-Home Notices (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore and were, therefore, isolated from the community.
For example, on Tuesday (Mar 2) the Ministry of Health reported that there were eight new imported cases. On the previous day, there were 12 imported cases. No local transmissions were reported on either day.
Ms Lim said she believes employers understand the rationale for this, since “Singapore has had a headache” in dealing with outbreaks of Covid-19 in foreign worker dormitories.
However, the issue she was bringing up in Parliament concerned the uncertainty it causes employers.
“Employers are advised by MOM to apply for specific dates, only to receive the reply that slots are full, and to re-apply on specific later dates, with the cycle repeating itself.”
This, she says, affects the timeline of competing work, making particular mention of infrastructure projects.
“For employers working on construction projects, not knowing when approved workers can enter Singapore renders them unable to plan when work can resume.
“Some are working on key infrastructure projects which promise enormous social benefits, such as MRT lines.”
Ms Lim also mentioned other employers waiting for domestic workers who would assist in “desperate family circumstances.”
The WP chair, therefore, is asking the MOM to clarify the number of daily slots available for entry of foreign workers into Singapore, and how these are allocated.
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