Singapore not barring entry to all work pass holders: MOM

Some work pass holders who had earlier obtained entry approvals will have be rescheduled to arrive in later weeks.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Singapore is not closing its doors to all work pass holders and their dependants, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Saturday (May 8), following surges in Covid-19 cases in several countries.

It is reducing arrivals from higher-risk areas, meaning that some work pass holders who had earlier obtained entry approvals will have to be rescheduled to arrive in later weeks.

The ministry issued this clarification following social media posts inaccurately alleging that no work pass holders would be allowed entry from next Tuesday.

"Work pass holders needed for key strategic and infrastructural works will still be allowed to enter Singapore," it said in a Facebook post.

This includes most foreign domestic workers and workers in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors who had earlier obtained approval.

Other work pass holders who obtained approval to enter prior to July 5 will not be allowed to enter.

On Friday, MOM announced that it would also no longer be accepting new entry applications for work pass holders from higher-risk areas, given the resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in several countries and the new viral variants that have emerged.

However, the changes do not apply to people from lower-risk areas who are seeking, or have already been given, entry approval, as well as those under the periodic commuting arrangement, reciprocal green lane and other approved travel lanes.

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All countries and regions are considered to be at higher risk, except Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

The ministry has started to inform affected work pass holders and their employers of the changes to their entry.

Here are some of the recent steps taken to deal with the impact of Covid-19 among foreign workers:

April 26

- The Building and Construction Authority announces measures to help the construction sector cope with the manpower crunch, such as the temporary easing of a skills-certification rule for workers from China.

- The public sector will grant construction contracts an additional 49-day extension for delays caused by the pandemic, meaning contractors get a total of five to six months more to complete projects.

- The Government will foot 0.1 per cent of the awarded contract sum for every month of delay under cost-sharing measures, to free up cash flow for contractors. This applies to eligible public sector projects with a contract sum of up to $100 million.

May 7

- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announces that Singapore has stopped accepting new entry applications for work pass holders from countries or regions with a higher-risk of Covid-19.

- MOM says it will reschedule entry for those who had earlier obtained approval, with the exception of those from the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors and domestic workers.

May 8

- MOM announces higher foreign worker levy rebates, from $90 to $250 per month, between May and December, for firms in the construction, marine and process sectors.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.