Tag Archives: Economics of migration

Discussion: economics of labour migration

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  Continue Reading »

Transfer was a sham, settlement agreement was dubious, only the paddyfield was real

By Yasha S based on an interview in January 2019 For 47-year old labourer Motaleb Abdul, seeking justice for what he is owed seems like a never-ending game of disappointment. Despite having a salary settlement agreement drawn by Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), he has yet to be paid by his Singaporean boss —  Continue Reading »

MOM claims great effectiveness in a case when the facts point otherwise

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) responded to our 20 Feb 2019 article ‘Rahman and employer agree to settle salary claim… then nothing happens‘ with a statement on their website. That statement amplifies their ability to help, and implicitly accuses the worker of not seeking help when help was (said to be) available. The worker’s misery  Continue Reading »

“Money finish,” and “everything selling” while waiting for a new job opportunity

Most foreign workers in the construction industry are in their twenties. Volunteer Jeremy Xiao met a older man in January 2019, who spoke to him about the weight of his family responsibility and the struggle to land a job. Yet, some experiences are all the same whether for younger workers or older ones — salary  Continue Reading »

Are foreign workers abusing WIC claims?

By Debbie Fordyce The first graph (below) suggests that a disproportionate number of Indian and Bangladeshi migrant workers lodge injury claims within the first six months of starting a job. Moreover, TWC2’s observation is that many of these injuries are minor and result in little compensation or will heal completely, thus meriting no disability compensation  Continue Reading »

Debt, jail and “no future”: an overstayer’s story

By Darrell Foo, based on an interview in November 2018 At TWC2’s Cuff Road Project where free meals are distributed to destitute foreign workers, almost all the men’s “makan cards” (meal eligibility cards issued by TWC2) state “injury” or “not paid salary” as their problems. My guess is that 99% of them have one of  Continue Reading »

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  Continue Reading »

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  Continue Reading »

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  Continue Reading »

For men from a poor country, choice is a mirage

In June 2018, TWC2 volunteer Alston Ng went around asking Bangladeshi workers, “Why did you choose to come to Singapore to work?” The words “neoliberal capitalism” are rarely heard in Singapore, but its message has nonetheless found a faithful following among Singaporeans. Markets are best optimised when left to run by itself, because the exercise  Continue Reading »