From 19 September 2023, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require employers in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) sectors to provide proof of acceptable accommodation before they are allowed to bring their new non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders (WPHs) into Singapore. This is on top of the work permit approval.
MOM has been facilitating the entry of workers into Singapore to enable employers to catch up on projects delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the number of WPHs in the CMP sectors in July 2023 was 19% higher than pre-COVID levels. At the same time, the Government has been working with the industry to increase dormitory bed supply. Nevertheless, the increased number of WPHs has led to near full occupancy at dormitories and more migrant workers are being housed in non-dormitory accommodation. There is a need to moderate the demand for non-dormitory accommodation, and to ensure that workers have acceptable accommodation.
From 19 September 2023, MOM will require proof of acceptable accommodation before workers are allowed to enter Singapore. The documentary proof required should be in the form of tenancy or rental agreements, or contracts with accommodation providers. Once the necessary checks are done, we will provide employers the approval to proceed. Onboard Centre bookings will also be checked to ensure that the workers registered have had their accommodation details verified. The requirement will apply to new WPHs in the CMP sectors (i.e., In-Principle Approval holders) arriving in Singapore from 19 September 2023.
Employers should factor the time needed for the checks into their recruitment plans. Those who are housing their workers in Purpose-Built Dormitories, Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQs), Temporary Occupation Licence Quarters (TOLQs), or their own dormitories, will obtain approvals within a week. Others who are housing their workers in private residential properties, hotels or hostels should expect the approval process to take around six weeks or longer due to additional checks.
Employers who bring their workers into Singapore without the required proof of accommodation may face suspension of their work pass privileges.
Employers Encouraged to Contribute to Bed Supply
The Government has worked with the industry to introduce various measures to increase dormitory bed supply, which have added nearly 17,000 beds since December 2022. However, it is not possible to keep increasing dormitory bed supply at this rate. Employers are encouraged to contribute to bed supply by building their own accommodation such as CTQs, TOLQs, and Factory Converted Dormitories (FCDs) to house their workers. This will also expedite approval for these workers as the verification process will be quicker. We also urge employers to put in place productivity measures to reduce their reliance on foreign workers.