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SINGAPORE: MIGRANT WORKERS


Left to right: A settling-in programme for FDWs in progress;


Migrant workers with copies of the newsletter in their respective language;


Construction work taking place to build purpose- built dormitories


framework to ensure continued relevance in the constantly evolving employment landscape. For instance, in 2012, we amended our legislation to double the penalties imposed on employers who contravene the Work Pass (akin to a work visa) conditions for the employment of migrant workers.


More recently in April 2014, we also imposed further restrictions on authorized salary deductions which employers may make for accommodation and amenities provided to workers.


It is an unfortunate reality that migrant workers incur large debt in their home countries before leaving. Both sending and receiving countries have a role to play in eliminating such


undesirable practices. On Singapore’s part, we have enacted a legislation to limit the amount of money employment agencies in Singapore can collect from workers, including migrant workers, to a maximum of one month’s salary for each year of employment, up to a maximum of two months.


This limits the amount of debt that migrant workers can owe in Singapore. We regularly also work with authorities in source countries and their respective Embassies or High Commissions in Singapore to highlight instances of excessive debt practices and hope to work with them to eradicate such practices. As an attractive destination country, Singapore is also not immune


160 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


to acts of Trafficking in Persons (TIP). Singapore has therefore put in place a comprehensive framework, anchored by a multi-agency taskforce to combat this transnational crime. We have launched a National Plan of Action, whose centrepiece will be the enactment of a dedicated anti- TIP legislation. Mr Christopher De Souza, a fellow Member of Parliament in Singapore, is working with the taskforce to introduce a Private Member’s Bill on the Prevention of Human Trafficking in Parliament by the end of the year.


Housing and recreation Housing of migrant workers in proper accommodation is another area that involves close collaboration among


different government ministries and agencies. An ongoing priority under the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to speed up the construction of purpose-built dormitories that not only meets the basic living needs of workers, but also their social and recreational needs, like the provision of gymnasiums, mini-marts, television rooms, and computer and internet access.


To supplement this, we have also established dedicated recreation centres for migrant workers since 2009. These centres provide a wider range of amenities that individual dormitories might not be able to support, such as remittance services, supermarkets and other sports facilities. They are well utilized


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