Greedy, unlicenced job brokers: one down, many more to go

In a promising development, the Ministry of Manpower has successfully prosecuted a Bangladeshi worker who acted as a job broker and who had pocketed some $30,900 in illicit profit. Roy Tapon Kumar pleaded guilty and was fined $30,000. This was reported in a Channel NewsAsia story (Link) and on  the Ministry of Manpower’s (“MOM”) website....

After ten years, Asean reaches ‘consensus’ on migrant labour rights

Asean heads of government put signatures to an ‘Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers’ on 14 November 2017, at their recently concluded summit meeting in Manila. This document was ten years in the making, after Asean members first signalled their intention to arrive at an agreement of this...

Employer of ‘release’ workers sentenced to jail with caning

For the first time, a company director will be caned for offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Goh Eng Kiat, 33, was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining work passes for 30 foreign workers as construction labour. It was fraudulent because the company, Jasper Contractors, did not require them and did not have work...

Bridging the academic-NGO divide: Making research relevant to migrant workers and their front line supporters.

This is a speech given by Nicholas Harrigan, a member of TWC2’s research subcommittee, at the ‘Health of Migrants and Refugees Workshop’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 10 November 2017. This workshop was hosted by United Nations University – International Institute for Global Health. Attendees and speakers came from across South East Asia and included academics, civil society...

Basic salary stated in IPA is “prima facie” the applicable basic salary, rules the High Court

In a landmark judgment released 1 November 2017, the High Court has ruled that the basic salary stated in the In-Principle Approval for a Work Permit (IPA) “would constitute prima facie evidence” of the correct basic salary rate, unless the employer can prove otherwise. The bar for proving otherwise was also set very high. This...

TWC2’s top three recommendations

In late June 2017, Channel NewsAsia asked Transient Workers Count Too for a commentary article with the suggested theme of “whether we think migrant workers are an integral part of Singapore society, following reports of how many have to head back given the slowing economy.” The article we submitted (in early July) is below. After we...

Domestic workers shell out money to dress up for pageants

The Sunday edition of the Straits Times, 29 October 2017, featured beauty contests that attract domestic workers on their days off. It said that there are such pageants almost every week, run by about 20 private organisers. Each contest may have about 40 participants. But taking part in the contest came at a price. Jessica, 33, a...

Employer charged for taking money from workers

In a press statement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported that Chen Quan, director of Hong Lu Engineering Pte Ltd has been charged for kickback offences. Chen, 35, who is also managing director of Trusty Aluminium Pte Ltd, is accused of collecting more than $64,000 from 21 foreign workers, as a condition for their employment. He...

Straits Times: Help migrant workers stand up for their own safety

The commentary below was published in the Straits Times, 25 October 2017. John Gee For The Straits Times They form majority of workers in workplaces with high accident rates and deserve more targeted help measures Singapore has set itself the target of significantly reducing its workplace accident rate. The fatality rate alone last year was 1.9...

442 charges against two Singaporeans for taking money for non-existent jobs

“Terry Tan-Soo I-Hse, 39, and Clarence Lim Jun Yao, 30, face a total of 442 charges for operating and using three sham companies to collect fees from more than 300 foreign job seekers for jobs that did not exist,” said the Straits Times in a report 20 October 2017. The “sham employment businesses that fraudulently...