Singapore would have been hard hit by a shortfall of at least 100,000 workers and 30,000 domestic workers if foreign workers had not been allowed to enter after the circuit breaker period last year, the Ministry of Manpower said on Tuesday (May 18).
MOM said that the Republic would have had a labour shortage of 70,000 service sector workers, 30,000 construction workers and 30,000 domestic workers if Singapore had closed its borders last year.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed this in response to recent calls by members of the public to shut Singapore’s borders entirely in order to bring down the number of imported Covid-19 cases.
It noted that it has, since May 2, “completely stopped entry of all from South Asia”.
“At the same time, businesses have been appealing for more workers to be allowed to enter Singapore to address manpower shortages,” it said.
MOM said that the outflow of migrant workers has exceeded the inflow over the last year, and as a result of border restrictions to mitigate importation risks, Singapore has not been able to adequately replace those who have left.
It did not say how many migrant workers have arrived here since the circuit breaker last year.
“Border restrictions will impact Singaporeans’ daily lives and this will be felt more keenly in the coming weeks and months,” the ministry said in its statement.
“Our restrictions on inflow of workers from higher-risk countries will also likely persist for some time, until the situation improves. This is the only way we can ensure the safe inflow of workers, while managing the risk of transmission in the community.”