Asean consensus on migrant labour: gaps between reality and Singapore’s commitments

In November 2017, Asean heads of government signed an ‘Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers’. The terms of the document were not binding, and every article within was made subject to national laws. Despite such inauspicious beginnings, Transient Workers Count Too has taken a microscope to the document....

MOM booklet sweeps forward, then stumbles

Arriving in our mailbox earlier this week was a new booklet published by the Ministry of Manpower, titled ‘6 Simple Steps to comply with Employment Laws’. This is indeed a good initiative; from here on, employers will have fewer excuses not to do things in accordance with the law. The six ‘simple steps’ featured in...

Rafa and the line between white and black

By Isaac Ong, based on an interview in November 2017 “This is my wrong but I don’t want pay [you] money. Even if I go jail, [even if] I no company, but I still don’t want pay money”, Rafa (not his real name) was told by his boss. 49-year-old Rafa is practically a veteran of...

MOM wrong to accuse us of ‘inaccurate’ and ‘untrue’ account

On 5 December 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) put up a note on their Facebook page accusing TWC2 of publishing an “inaccurate” account. This was in relation to the story we had posted on 12 October 2017 titled “Fraud committed using ministry letterhead“. We stand by our story. We consider MOM’s accusation against us...

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...