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

Introduction Accompanying this introduction is a six-part series of that spotlights 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 with a laudable aim — ...

In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 6

Part 6: where we are now And that’s where we are at this moment. The In-Principle Approval for a Work permit (“IPA” — explained in footnote) has travelled a long way, beginning life as a simple document that merely informed prospective migrant workers that a legitimate Work Permit awaited them in Singapore, together with basic...

In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 5

Part 5: the Section 6A requirement The long name for this rule is “Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, Fourth Schedule, Part IV, Section 6A”. The clause in the subsidiary legislation says: 6A. (1)  The employer shall not — (a) Reduce the foreign employee’s basic monthly salary or fixed monthly allowances to an amount less...

In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 4

Part 4: MOM begins at last to respond to changing circumstances In Part 2 of this series, we described how workers with salary claims often pointed to the stated salaries in their In-Princple Approvals for Work permits (“IPA”) [footnote 1] as the basis for their claims. However, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) itself took the...

In-Principle Approval: uses and abuses 2011 – 2018, part 3

Part 3: Getting around IPAs in salary disputes Part 2 of this series described the uneven way in which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officers and the ministry’s Labour Court [footnote 1] handled salary claims. Sometimes, the In-Principle Approval letter (“IPA”) [footnote 2] was admitted as the basis for adjudicating claims. When that happened, employers...

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...

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...

Policy brief 2018, no. 4: Free up labour mobility, do more to retain skills and experience

In the fourth of our policy briefs for 2018, Transient Workers Count Too recommends that foreign workers should be free to change employer without needing to get the permission of the existing employer. There should also be a clearer time frame for workers to get new jobs should their existing employers terminate their Work Permits...