Authorities ease entry restrictions for new foreign workers to address labour crunch

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Migrant workers doing landscape work along Robertson Quay. (Photo: Rachel Phua)
Migrant workers doing landscape work along Robertson Quay. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

SINGAPORE: The Government is easing restrictions to allow new work permit and S Pass applications across all sectors into Singapore in order to alleviate the manpower shortage faced by businesses.

“The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Trade and Industry, will adjust its processing of new work permit and S Pass applications of workers across all sectors to better support businesses,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 15) in response to CNA’s queries.

Previously, the ministry said it was processing new work pass applications from countries with lower health risks such as China. It is now processing applications from all approved source countries, with workers from certain countries and regions working for specific industry sectors, CNA understands.

MOM said it now has “more room” to accommodate the entry of work pass holders to ease the manpower shortage, citing Singapore’s “stable” COVID-19 situation, “strong public health measures” and testing capacity.

Applicants and employers must adhere to current border measures, which include seeking entry approval from the authorities, undergoing pre-departure tests, and completing their stay-home notice in Singapore.

MOM has also begun allowing existing work pass holders to return to Singapore.

Employers in the construction industry, a sector that heavily relies on foreign workers, particularly those from India and Bangladesh, have been struggling to cope with the lack of workers.

The food and beverage industry has also faced difficulties filling vacancies, CNA reported in November.

Source: CNA/rp