More of here, less of there: increase in repeat workers and fat profits for the underground job broker in Singapore

The recruitment landscape for non-domestic Work Permit holders has changed dramatically in just a few short years. About 80% of these workers are ‘repeat workers’ i.e. they have had a job here before their current ones. This is a big change from only four years ago when we found a slight majority on their first...

Foreign construction workers continue to reduce, no improvement in productivity

The number of Work Permit holders in the construction industry has gradually declined since a peak in 2015. Last December (2018), there were 280,500 Work Permit holders in this sector, fourteen percent below the 2015 figure of 326,000. To a large degree, the fall in the number of foreign construction workers mirrors the contraction of...

27% fewer foreign worker claims at ECT in 2018 compared to 2017, why?

On 6 March 2019, Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong asked the Minister of Manpower to supply figures for 2017 and 2018 respectively regarding … (a) how many salary claims were filed by (i) local employees and (ii) foreign workers at the Employment Claims Tribunal; (b) how many court orders were issued to errant employers...

Rights don’t mean squat without accessible avenues of redress

The photo is of an illuminated billboard along Bukit Batok West Avenue 3. It seeks to inform workers of their employment rights, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) the Central Provident Fund and TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices). The smaller words in the poster say: Get paid for...

Global Compact for Migration: how far off its standards is Singapore?

The United Nations’ Global Compact for Migration (GCM) was adopted by a great majority of UN members on 10 December 2018 at a conference in Marrakech, Morocco. It was endorsed by the General Assembly on 19 December 2018, where 152 countries voted in favour. Five countries voted against — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and...

The Cuff Road Project in 2018

TWC2’s Cuff Road Project (TCRP) serves the immediate needs of South Asian male migrant workers. Specifically, these are workers who are awaiting resolution of claims, complaints or investigations they’ve lodged with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and have no access to paid work from their employers due to injury or salary problems or other disputes...

Fewer immigration offenders arrested in 2018

  There were 8.9% fewer immigration offenders arrested in 2018 compared with 2017.  However, there was a 13% increase in arrested of harbourers and employers of immigration offenders. These numbers were reported by the Straits Times on 28 Feb 2018, and they remained small. The numbers were: Singapore’s Immigration Act Section 15 specifies strict penalties...

Average ECT order on employers to pay salaries in 2017 estimated to be around $3,500

At a Parliamentary sitting on 12 February 2019, Nominated member of Parliament Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Manpower this question: What was the value of unpaid salaries in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, according to the orders made by the Employment Claims Tribunal on employers to pay owed salaries. Mrs Josephine Teo, Manpower minister...

TWC2 comments on proposed amendments to WICA

In January 2019, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) sought public feedback on some proposed amendments to the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA). As TWC2 sees over a thousand cases a year of work injury among foreign workers, this matter is germane to our work. MOM’s proposals centre chiefly around these themes: 1. Medical leave wages...

Are foreign workers abusing WIC claims?

By Debbie Fordyce The first graph (below) suggests that a disproportionate number of Indian and Bangladeshi migrant workers lodge injury claims within the first six months of starting a job. Moreover, TWC2’s observation is that many of these injuries are minor and result in little compensation or will heal completely, thus meriting no disability compensation...