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...

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...

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...

Some days the skies are clear and problems float away

“Migrant workers volunteer to clean Pasir Ris beach on Saturday” said the headline in the Straits Times, 17 October 2018. Indeed, that’s what a large group of TWC2 clients did, led by Irene Ong and Marcel Bandur, joint leaders of our Discover Singapore team. This team organises activities for the workers under our care every...

Officials to clamp down on fake salary vouchers, but will it work?

The news site TodayOnline reported that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) “plans to clamp down on employers who abuse salary vouchers — such as by having employees indicate receipt of their wages before they are paid.” The news story was dated 26 November 2018 (Link). On the face of it, this sounds like progress. It’s...

Letters in Straits Times forum re light duties

Following a story in the Straits Times (see earlier article) about a circular jointly issued by the Ministries of Health (MOH) and Manpower (MOM) reminding doctors about their ethical responsibility to issue appropriate medical leave, a hand surgeon affiliated with Gleneagles Hospital wrote to the newspaper’s forum with his point of view. Dr Andrew Yam...

Ministries of Health and Manpower issue circular re medical leave. Again.

On 17 September 2018, the Ministries of Health and Manpower jointly issued a circular to doctors reminding them to abide by guidelines laid out by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) with reference to medical leave. The relevant guidelines cited were the 2016 Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines (ECEG): Guideline B4(4) – Medical Certificates. The full circular can...

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...

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...

Re attempts at salary reduction, MOM ties itself in knots

Based on details collected from casework in May and June 2018 When Rahman Safiar went to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to get his Work Permit processed, he was in for a shock. It was not even two weeks after arriving in Singapore for a new job with a promised basic salary of $1,600 per...