A letter by Christine Pelly on the subject of plans to bring in new batches of migrant workers was published in the Straits Times Forum on 20 July 2021. Christine Pelly is member of TWC2’s Executive Committee.
The letter, expressing TWC2’s views, was in response to a Straits Times story (15 July 2021, Pilot scheme to bring more maids to Singapore starts this month) about a pilot programme to bring in domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia under new infection-control measures. These measures, it was reported, would include multiple Covid-19 tests over a 14-day period at isolation facilities in their home countries before coming to Singapore. Even after arrival here, the workers would have to undergo another 14-day quarantine and further tests.
A week before the Straits Times story about the pilot programme for domestic workers, there was also a story about a similar pilot programme being prepared for workers from India.
Below is the published letter (link):
20 July 2021
Straits Times Forum
Plans have been announced to launch pilot programmes to bring in workers from India for the construction, marine and process sectors (Migrant workers from India to be brought in, but in small numbers, July 8) and migrant domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia (Pilot scheme to bring more maids to Singapore starts this month, July 15).
This is a necessary part of planning for the new normal. The pent-up need for workers in these industries has been the impetus for business associations to step in with these plans, which include on-boarding facilities and Covid-19 test protocols at isolation facilities in the workers’ home countries before they come to Singapore.
The usual stay-home notice and testing protocols will apply once they are here, before they commence work.
What is unclear is the nature, standard of management and oversight of on-boarding measures in their home countries.
Besides the Covid-19 testing protocols, would the workers have been vaccinated in their home countries? If not, will they be vaccinated after arrival and before starting work here?
Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang noted that many maids are coming from countries with a high incidence of Covid-19 cases. The same would apply to workers coming from India.
The Covid-19 situation in the various countries is constantly evolving and there is a high degree of uncertainty.
It would be prudent to reassure the Singapore community that these pilot programmes are well thought through and protected against lapses, and that the workers we let in are fully vaccinated.
We should also ensure that whatever measures we are putting in place here, or measures we expect to be put in place in the source countries, to manage the inflow of workers are protocols that are informed by our own infectious disease specialists.
Transient Workers Count Too