SINGAPORE – About 15,000 firms in the construction, marine and process sectors will get higher foreign worker levy rebates between May and December, given the manpower shortages and increased costs brought about by Singapore’s tightened border measures.
The rebate for each worker will be increased from $90 to $250 per month, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) in a statement on Saturday (May 8).
These sectors play an essential role in Singapore’s development, it said, adding that government agencies are working to transform these businesses and reduce their reliance on manpower through the industry transformation maps. This will help the affected sectors become more resilient to future shocks.
“However, these efforts will take time to bear fruit,” MOM said. “In the immediate term, the increased costs continue to weigh heavily on these firms.”
This is why the higher rebates are being given out.
The first round of higher rebates for the month of May will be paid out in June. Employers can consider using these rebates to retain existing workers and bring in work permit holders from lower-risk countries or region, the ministry added.
The Government will decide closer to December if there is a need to further extend the rebates.
The rebates are part of a broader package of measures to support the affected sectors. For instance, it recently made it easier for employers to hire workers from China by easing a skills-certification rule.
The authorities have also provided further contractual relief for prolongation costs for public sector construction contracts.
The news comes after MOM’s move late Friday (May 7) to stop accepting new entry applications for work pass holders from higher-risk countries or regions.
Also, work pass holders from higher-risk places who were approved to enter Singapore before July 5 will no longer be allowed to do so.
However, exceptions will be made for workers needed for key strategic projects and infrastructural works, such as those from the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors and migrant domestic workers.