Tag Archives: Economics of migration

Discussion: economics of labour migration

Paying over $3,000 in recruitment cost for a $477-per-month job? That’s the way it is

By Aaron Chua, based on an interview in November 2017 “Hello,” says Bhimol* to TWC2 volunteer Alex Au, just as Alex is arriving at The Cuff Road Project’s meal station. “I come back,” adds Bhimol. “Huh? Come back from where?” asks Alex. “[Last] Friday, I come back. New job.” “Ah,” says Alex, but before he  Continue Reading »

Experienced plumber lost, who cares about productivity?

FOREWORD: For years, Transient Workers Count Too has been speaking out against the revolving door practices behind Singapore’s foreign labour. At the slightest unhappiness, employers are quick to send workers home and recruit fresh new faces. Why do they do this? Because they can. Singapore law gives employers total discretion when to terminate employees, there’s  Continue Reading »

Despite injury, despite longing for home, a need to stay and work abroad

By Jiang Zhi Feng, based on an interview in October 2017 For ten years as a Bangladeshi migrant worker in Singapore, Hossain Awlad has only been back home three times. He misses home. He misses his wife, his mother, and his relatives. The last time he saw them was in 2013. He calls his wife  Continue Reading »

As Singapore goes cashless, dismantle structural barriers faced by foreign workers

In his National Day Rally speech on 20 August 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the need for greater efforts in migrating to cashless transactions. Subsequently, other ministers developed the point further. Transient Workers Count Too felt that it was important to ensure that whatever plans are drawn up, they should not inadvertently  Continue Reading »

Records of accidents are such a nuisance, aren’t they?

By Namgay Choden, based on an interview in July 2017 With me this evening is Howlader Mohammod Selim, and he tells me about what happened in September 2016. Selim had suffered an accident at work, and was brought to Ng Teng Fong Hospital in Jurong East. After treatment, the doctor asked Selim whether he needed  Continue Reading »

A leap of faith goes four metres down

By Liang Lei, based on an interview in June 2017 What would you do if you think that your job constitutes a breach of safety regulations? For foreign workers, even having a choice of action is regrettably often a luxury. The consequence of disobeying supervisors’ orders, however unsafe, can be the sack. As a result, many  Continue Reading »

Two men thinking of home

By Sun Hanchen Every day, tens of thousands of foreign workers begin their day in the wee hours of the morning. They are employed to do blue-collar work shunned by Singaporeans – construction, maintenance and transport amongst others – and are often treated as faceless economic factors. But they have families, and it is in  Continue Reading »

How the rich get richer, the poor get poorer: Mondol’s experience

One of the major themes when analysing the current crisis of neoliberal capitalism is the way economic rent has run amuck, exacerbating the rich-poor divide. Economic rent is the profit extracted by a party who has access to a resource that others do not have and which others feel they need. That party does not  Continue Reading »

Father injured, son’s college hopes in peril

By Poh De Sheng Perhaps the chief reason foreign workers come to Singapore is the comparatively higher salaries on offer. Men will endure the hardship of separation, crowded living conditions and abominable hours of physical labour in the hope, not just of helping their families at home get by, but of helping their children and siblings  Continue Reading »

Employer and agents quick to extract money, slow to provide injury compensation

By Poh De Sheng Moorthy, an Indian national, is the sole breadwinner for his family, which consists of his wife, young daughter and parents. He came to Singapore a year and a half ago after being promised a basic salary of $429 per month by a local recruiter in India. However, what seemed like a  Continue Reading »