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...

Arrivals and change in vocation of Bangladeshi workers

After 2015, new arrivals of first-time Bangladeshi workers appear to have fallen off quite dramatically — this was the main finding of a study done in August and September 2018. Interviews were conducted with 106 Bangladeshi workers and each was asked the year of his first arrival in Singapore. We found unusually few who first...

Policy brief 2018, no. 3: Require standard employment contracts

In the third of our policy briefs for 2018, Transient Workers Count Too recommends that it should be mandatory for work permit holders to first sign a Standard Employment Contract (SEC) even before a work permit application is made. The SEC should set out all the key employment terms, and these should be in accordance...

Policy brief 2018, no. 2: Require mandatory reporting of injuries to MOM by healthcare providers

In the second of four policy briefs for 2018, Transient Workers Count Too recommends that healthcare providers should have a duty to report to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) when a migrant worker is issued more than three days medical leave or is hospitalised for 24 hours or longer. This should be in addition to...

89% of salary disputes arise from cash-payment employers, confirms MOM

In a parliamentary reply to a question by MP Melvin Yong, Manpower minister Josephine Teo said in July 2018 that only 11% of work permit holders lodging salary claims were paid electronically. (Scroll down for full reply). This factoid supports TWC2’s urging that electronic payment of salaries should be made mandatory. In our Policy Brief...

Bangladeshi workers’ perception of Singapore, choice of Singapore as work destination and journey here

Intern Roy Lim was with TWC2 from late April to early June 2018. Among his tasks were to complete a research project, a smallish one in view of the limited time and that fact that it had to be done single-handedly. The attached paper is his report. In his paper, he found that Bangladeshi workers...