This is an investigative report by Jamie Lin Weirong, based on interviews with five S-Pass holders, originally from the Philippines. They work in different trades: retail, catering, and project design and management, but together they sketch out the issues faced by S-Pass holders. These include a difficult-to-understand hiring process, an opaque work pass approval process at the Ministry of Manpower, their vulnerabilities to exploitation, and the uncertainty of their future given the short-term nature of their employment arrangements and separation from their families.
There is also mention of kickbacks demanded by employers – an illegal practice.
The S-Pass is a work pass category meant for those in skilled trades and earning between $2,000 and $3,000 a month (as per current rules; may change).