Migrant Workers From India To Enter Singapore In Calibrated Pilot Programme
As the pandemic worsened in April, the authorities have been restricting the number of workers entering Singapore, especially from higher-risk countries like India.
On Wednesday (7 Jul), it was announced that small batches of migrant workers from India will be brought into Singapore starting July.
This is part of a pilot programme involving companies in the construction, marine, and process sectors.
Migrant workers from India will arrive in calibrated manner
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), “a few hundred workers” from India will enter Singapore in a “calibrated manner” from this month onwards.
However, the pilot programme will be carried out cautiously.
Before departure from India, workers will go through proactive testing at specified boarding facilities for 14 days.
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Once they arrive in Singapore, they will have to serve a stay-home notice (SHN) and follow safe management measures.
This tightened end-to-end process carried out on a small scale will allow risks to be managed.
However, these added processes will mean employers have to incur an increased cost of about $2,000-$3,000 per worker, not including quarantine costs.
Similar pilot programme carried out in June
The pilot programme is reportedly led by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL), the Association of Singapore Marine Industries, and the Association of Process Industry.
If successful, the same model will be used to bring in a steady flow of workers safely and securely.
Back in June, a similar pilot programme was carried out with batches of workers from Malaysia coming over to work in the marine sector.
So far, no Covid-19 cases were found in the hundreds of workers involved, reported CNA.
Construction and marine sectors badly hit by labour crunch
Since the pandemic, sectors heavily reliant on migrant workers such as construction, marine, and process sectors have been badly hit.
According to The Straits Times (ST), this was largely due to restrictions on the inflow of migrant workers.
Since end-2019, work permit holders in such sectors have fallen by over 15%, amounting to more than 60,000 workers.
This has reportedly led to project delays and a significant increase in labour costs, affecting countless businesses.
Manpower shortage also presented health and safety concerns for existing workers.
At the time of writing, those who recently travelled to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are not allowed to enter Singapore.
Hope pilot programme proves successful
Singapore is gradually recovering and navigating our way through our new normal.
As a small country, this will have to include resuming the inflow of workers to ease our labour crunch.
Hopefully, this pilot programme will prove successful while ensuring that the workers, as well as Singaporeans, are kept safe.
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