Paid for job. No salary. Pay again for new job?

By Ada Cheong, based on an interview in September 2018 Miah Younose takes his arm off the table and leans back into his chair, laughing to make light of his predicament. Unpaid for four months and bearing the sunken cost of $4,800 in agent fees, he is desperate to remain in Singapore to find new...

Transfer jobs for salary claimants and a minister’s bureaucratese

For several months in late 2017 and early 2018, we puzzled over a statement by the then-Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say that in the first half of 2017, only about 600 of foreign workers with salary claims indicated that they wished to find new employment (see footnote 1). We felt that 600 was an...

Durzey finds hospital bills unpaid, his belongings thrown into trash bin

By Megan Tan Min Chih, based on an interview in August 2018 Durzey did his best to remain calm after the call. It was a harrowing few minutes, in which he could barely make out what the hospital staff on the other end of the phone was trying to communicate. Eventually, he understood the gist...

Chand gets ready to prove he’s been injured in an accident

By Koh Jie Min, based on an interview in August 2018 Seeing Chand’s well-groomed face and clean clothes, it is hard to believe that he has been alone and out of a job in Singapore for ten months. Despite having been involved in a workplace accident in July 2017, his work injury compensation claim has...

Kader snared by the barbs of bureaucratic absurdities

By Darren Tan, based on an interview in August 2018 By July 2018, Munshi Kader was reaching the end of his temporary job with a chemical factory in the Pioneer district of Singapore. He had worked two six-month stints at this factory, and the boss liked him enough to want to retain him permanently. “MOM...

Short of information, Forhad worries while Mondal thinks everything’s going fine

By Ng Zu Xiang, based on interviews in July 2018 Workplace injuries are not an uncommon occurrence in construction, especially with the number of projects burgeoning across Singapore. As such, the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) is crucial and it has been used in regularly, but not all cases transpire the same way. Here are...

Robin’s story shows how corruption takes root in Singapore

By Joell Tee, based on an interview in July 2018 The fan whirs quietly overhead and the workers file in in an orderly manner to collect their tokens for dinner. Scattered laughter and chatter make for a warm and homely atmosphere. It is my second time at TWC2’s DaySpace and yet I do not feel...

Black and white: How do workers know the importance of the IPA?

By Nicholas Lee, based on interviews in July 2018 Today’s article takes a little step back to explore how variances in culture and social experience affect the way foreign workers understand and handle paper documentation, processes and rules in Singapore. As locals know all too well, Singapore is famous for its strict adherence to “Black...

Lack of functioning transfer market makes skills retention elusive

By Alston Ng, based on interviews in June 2018 About a month ago when Rifat (not his real name) showed up at TWC2, he was evidently distressed by the prospect of repatriation. Having resolved a salary dispute with his former employer, Rifat was left to his own devices as he embarked on a so-far unsuccessful...

Toes are cheap

Polash is well-dressed and carries himself with self-assurance. He’s been a responsible son for ten years, working in Singapore supporting his parents, brother and sister in Bangladesh. But now he’s in limbo, waiting for his injury compensation claim to conclude. Your writer looks at him more closely, but cannot tell where he’s been injured. “Three...