The Lives of Others – an investigation into the issues faced by S-Pass holders

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Articles, Facts, research, analysis


This is an investigative report by Jamie Lin Weirong, based on interviews with five S-Pass holders, originally from the Philippines.  They work in different trades: retail, catering, and project design and management, but together they sketch out the issues faced by S-Pass holders.  These include a difficult-to-understand hiring process, an opaque work pass approval process at the Ministry of Manpower, their vulnerabilities to exploitation, and the uncertainty of their future given the short-term nature of their employment arrangements and separation from their families.

There is also mention of kickbacks demanded by employers – an illegal practice.

The S-Pass is a work pass category meant for those in skilled trades and earning between $2,000 and $3,000 a month (as per current rules; may change).

The full report (10 pages in PDF format) can be downloaded by clicking here: donwload_button



TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our

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