COS 2021: Entry of Approved Foreign Workers

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Sir, additional processes have been put in place for employers of foreign workers seeking entry or re-entry into Singapore. After getting MOM approval for the workers, there is now an additional requirement for employers to apply for slots for their entry into Singapore on specific dates. It was explained that there is a need to stagger the entry of foreign workers to reduce the risk of imported COVID-19 cases. I believe employers understand the rationale, especially since Singapore has had a major headache dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19 in foreign worker dormitories.

The issue with the implementation is the uncertainty it creates for employers. Employers are advised by MOM to apply for workers to endorse a specific date, only to receive replies that the slots are full and to re-apply on a specific later date, with the cycle repeating itself. For employers working on construction projects, not knowing when approved workers can enter Singapore, renders them unable to plan when work can resume. Some are working on key infrastructural projects which promise enormous social benefits, such as new MRT lines. Other employers might be waiting for new domestic workers to assist in desperate family circumstances.

Can the Ministry clarify how many daily slots are available for entry of foreign workers into Singapore and how these are allocated?

Ministry of Manpower
2 March 2021

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