MOM visited workers' countries

PHOTO: MOM visited workers' countries

SINGAPORE - Officials from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have visited China, India and Bangladesh in an attempt to understand the concerns of migrant workers.

They asked foreigners who were due to come to Singapore for work how they felt about issues such as salaries and overtime, and conducted pre-departure briefings.

The pilot scheme, which was carried out last year, could lead to a new programme to better educate migrant workers in their home countries before they set off for the Republic.

Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, director of the ministry's joint operations directorate, spoke about the trips on Saturday during a panel discussion about migrant workers. He said the officials had gone to the three countries to conduct pre-departure briefings for workers at overseas testing centres.

Currently, foreign workers due to come to Singapore are given an in-principle approval or IPA letter in their native language. The letter includes information about salaries and allowances. Mr Kandhavel said the ministry was studying what more could be done to provide workers with useful information.

Saturday's discussion, held at The Hub Singapore in Somerset Road, was organised by three young Singaporeans who have produced a documentary and photo exhibition on Bangladeshi workers.

In addition to Mr Kandhavel, civil society group Transient Workers Count Too's executive committee member Debbie Fordyce and Mr Joses Kuan, one of the three people behind the documentary, also participated in the panel discussion.

The panellists fielded a range of questions on topics including staff being blacklisted for reporting errant employers and compensation for work injuries.