Hosen Khalilur has had to fork out $3,500 in rent

Video by Jonathan Ang, August 2017 Hosen Khalilur’s experience is typical of the cases that come to Transient Workers Count Too. After sustaining a back injury at work and being placed on medical leave, company officials make it difficult for him to stay on in company accommodation. In Hosen’s case, he tells us in the...

What are the rules for housing injured workers?

The law as to who is responsible for workers’ accommodation is a dustball of words. The exact meaning is fuzzy and can be squeezed every which way. In practice however, the words are largely rendered moot. Employers have their own requirements for where to place their workers. Construction employers will want all their workers to stay...

When being unreasonable pays off

By Jiang Zhi Feng, based on an interview in October 2017 After Rana Masum approached a lawyer to lodge an injury compensation claim, he found his Work Permit cancelled by his employer. Not long after, his boss wanted him to move out of his current dormitory, Westlite Dormitory at Toh Guan in Jurong East and...

Injured Azizul given only $1,000 to live on for 15 months

By Philomène Franssen, based on an interview in September 2017 One thousand dollars is what Azizul received from his employer seven months after the June 2016 accident that took place at his work site. It was supposed to be his medical leave wages, but since he was on medical leave (“MC”) for those seven months, it...

Sumon has been five years in Singapore, never held his son before

By Nicholas Lee, based on an interview in September 2017 “Men die, company no thinking, only thinking money”. With words like that reflecting the treatment that Miah Md Sumon and his fellow compatriots receive, it is hard to imagine the lives they lead working in a far-away country away from their loved ones. I sit...

Caring for the caregiver: foreign domestic workers’ access to medical care

In a survey of 468 foreign domestic workers (“FDW”), TWC2 found that generally, their access to medical care for minor ailments did not seem to be impeded. Over 80% of FDWs were taken  by their employers to a doctor when they felt ill and requested for medical attention. Over 80% said they were “not scared”...

When an employer says a worker has ‘run away’, what really happened? Sumon’s story

By Liang Lei, based on an interview in August 2017 Sometimes, when it comes to foreign workers, it is both worrying and terrifying to realize just how much they are at the mercy of the employers, in an environment of lax enforcement and subdued consequences. Drastic measures can be taken at any time against injured...

Fraud committed using ministry letterhead

Sarowar (not his real name) approaches our help desk hesitantly. Despite being in his mid-thirties, he does not exude much self-confidence. Maybe it’s because he knows his English is weak, and what he has to tell us is fairly complicated. However, it didn’t take us long to grasp the nub of the problem: Someone had...

A mookata waiter’s tale

By Liang Lei, based on an interview in July 2017 The raid came. Subbas was on duty that night, and he was arrested. His luck had run out. He would spend a month in jail and, tied to a medieval rack, receive three strokes of the cane, cutting his flesh deeply and bloodily. It would...

Siddik and Rafique’s lives frozen as Freezeland Aircon & Electrical folds

By Jonah Foong, based on interviews in July 2017 In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the fictional land of Oceania is ruled by Big Brother, a man of ‘about forty-five’ with a ‘heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features’. While his face is plastered on hoardings, he is never seen in the flesh, and his...