In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 2

Part 2: Salary terms Very few of the migrant workers from India and Bangladesh working in non-domestic sectors have written employment contracts. Contracts are more common with workers from China, but typically these contracts are signed in their home country between the agent and the worker. TWC2 noticed that Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officers often...

In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 1

Introduction This five-part series of articles throws a spotlight on the In-Principle Approval for a Work Permit (“IPA”), a key document in the import of foreign labour into Singapore. Behind the document is a process that, over time, has shown several weaknesses. What began as a document and process to better assure migrant workers that...

When medical leave wages take leave of the law

By Ada Cheong, based on interviews conducted in September 2018 Singapore is reputed to be a business-friendly place. A phalanx of blue-green skyscrapers — our central business district — rises up just behind the Merlion. The area is bustling with people in suits and work dresses, working for multinational companies and investors: banks, insurance companies, and...

Some days the skies are clear and problems float away

“Migrant workers volunteer to clean Pasir Ris beach on Saturday” said the headline in the Straits Times, 17 October 2018. Indeed, that’s what a large group of TWC2 clients did, led by Irene Ong and Marcel Bandur, joint leaders of our Discover Singapore team. This team organises activities for the workers under our care every...

To encash two cheques, Raju had to jump through hoops

For a long, long time, TWC2 has been calling for electronic payment of salaries to be made mandatory. Giving employers the option to pay in cash allows all sorts of abuses to happen and seriously disadvantages workers when salary is not paid or only partially paid. Workers are left with no evidence as to how...

Protected: Baseline report for Singapore’s signing of Global Compact on Migration

On 10 December 2018, Singapore is expected to join nearly all other member States of the United Nations in adopting the the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). Transient Workers Count Too applauds Singapore’s decision to sign the agreement. We believe that it signifies our country’s commitment to international cooperation, transparent regulation of migration, and both...

Does MOM pay work injury lawyers?

By Debbie Fordyce Does the Ministry of Manpower pay lawyers to handle work injury compensation claims? “Lawyers always exciting to take case.” At least some injured workers certainly think that MOM does. They say that they’ve heard that MOM pays lawyers $300 a month to file and manage work injury compensation (WIC) claims. Newly injured...

Costs of low-waged labour migration: Difficulties, implications and recommendations

Unlike other studies that tend to be more focussed on a particular issue, e.g. recruitment costs or access to healthcare, this study takes a more inclusive approach, to look at the various costs of migration, as surfaced by migrant workers themselves in face-to-face interviews. It therefore reveals issues that may be missed by other studies,...

Recruitment cost in some cases about 20 times monthly salary

In this article “$” represents the Singapore Dollar unless we specifically say otherwise, e.g.”US$”. It’s been some time since we last wrote about recruitment costs. It’s not a topic we should lose sight of. No progress is being made on this front, and high costs remain the chief reason why migrant workers cannot exert their...

Sweaty, busy night at our roadshow

Seven volunteers from TWC2 manned our stall at a migrant worker roadshow on Sunday, 18 December 2018. The humidity was high and everyone was sweaty, more so when workers crowded around our stand, but it was well worth it. We must have given out hundreds of fliers — maybe a thousand — all in their...