Shortpaid, indebted and repatriated

By Jiang Haolie Molla Shohid will be put on a flight back to his village of Bhouria Challa in Bangladesh any day now. He does not know if he will be compensated for the promised wages that never materialised. He is not even sure of the day of the flight. His boss has kept him...

Employers should purchase more insurance, salutary lesson shows

We’ll call the worker ‘Byoghu’ in this story. He had worked before in Singapore and quite successfully. But when he returned for a second job, he soon fell ill. In the first two weeks on the job, he had a fever and was given medical leave. The employer decided to cancel his Work Permit on...

Sujel’s agent charged him 26 times his basic salary for placement fee

By Teo Yi Ning It is not often that we get to meet a migrant worker that has been working and living in Singapore for more than 20 years. Subramaniyan Peramaiyan first came to Singapore from India in 1995 as a construction worker, He paid $5,500 in agent fees to get his first job, a...

Average recruitment cost hit $15,000 in 2015 for first-time Bangladeshi construction workers

After hearing anecdotal reports of ‘agent fees’ in the region of $17,000 or $18,000, Transient Workers Count Two carried out a pilot survey to determine if these were rare cases, or if recruitment costs have risen dramatically. An earlier research report published in 2012, Worse off for working? found that Bangladeshi workers needed to work...

“Please change the system, and I will come again to work”

By Gek Han “Please Singapore government, please change the system, and I will come here again to work.” When Hossain returns to Bangladesh, he will try to find work in South Korea, rather than Singapore. Before coming to Singapore in 2013, Hossain tried to find employment in South Korea, because the South Korean system of...

Was there no prosecution in 2016 for non-payment of salaries?

As 2016 came to a close, TWC2 trawled through the website of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to see what prosecutions have been listed there through the year. MOM issues press releases whenever an employer has been sentenced in court. TWC2 found twelve mentions in MOM’s website through 2016. The list is shown further down. What...

Worker unable to collect injury compensation; MOM says he must be “realistic”

Just like Islam Rafiqul’s case which was told in the Straits Times last week, Sujan Ahmed too is unable to collect the Labour Court award he has been given. Sujan’s employer is simply refusing to pay up and the Ministry of Manpower suggested that he should apply to the State Courts for a Writ of Seizure...

Straits Times: Labour Court can’t make employer pay

Islam Rafiqul’s case was highlighted in a full-page story in the Straits Times 19 January 2017. Headlined “Labour Court can’t make employer pay”, it described this Bangladeshi worker’s plight, having been owed over $7,363 in unpaid wages. His case went through the usual channels at the Ministry of Manpower, resulting in him winning a Labour...

Wahed’s problem with medical leave wages had a Siamese twin

By Isaac Ong In April 2016, 36 year-old Wahed M A was in hospital recovering from a left eye surgery, hoping to return to work to support his wife and three children back home in Bangladesh. Unbeknownst to him, his worries were far from over. In the coming months, he would be refused payment for...

TWC2 survey: starting salaries for migrant workers flatlined for the last 10 years

Starting basic salaries for first-time workers from India and Bangladesh have remained more or less static since 2006, averaging slightly under Singapore dollars 600 per month. However, when adjusted for inflation, a downward trend is seen, and thus, in terms of Singapore purchasing power, average basic salaries have declined about 20% since 2006. The above...