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Holders of Work permit required to attend Settling-In Program

November 2017, 28
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The SIP, which is compulsory for fresh foreign domestic workers, will be put in place for the construction sector workers before it is introduced in other sectors. 

The Ministry of Manpower, made an announcement, that all new holders of work permit, of non-Malaysian origin, arriving to work in Singapore, are required to take a Settling-In Program. It will be introduced in stages during the second half of 2018. The initiative will provide a safe and fair environment to foreign workers.

Around 2,000 overseas workers, in the construction industry, are likely to be present in the settling-in program each month.

Employers will cover the fees of this single day program, which has the aim of educating fresh overseas workers, regarding the regulations governing the employment, social norms and laws of Singapore, and also informing them of the areas to seek help.

The decision making it compulsory was announced by Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, after a Pilot Program was conducted in 2016, for 1,900 workers.

MOM said that based on the surveys, conducted after the course, 99 percent participants, said that they realized their privileges and responsibilities, and became confident to work and live in the country, and found great benefit in the course.

99 percent participants expressed their opinion that they would come up to the Ministry of Manpower, to seek support and felt that it can help the workers. A majority recalled the hotline of the Ministry correctly.

When the evaluation of the answers, was done, before and subsequent to the session, it suggested that the participants in the course had a better understanding of the rights. The issues concerned the passports remaining with the employers, or the agency fees should be refunded when the contract is terminated.

Kenneth Loo, Executive Director, Straits Construction, said that they had allowed 26 foreign workers to visit this Pilot Program, and had seen positive behavior among them. A worker having knowledge of his responsibilities was productive, and could communicate better, with the employer, he added.

The Settling-In Program initiative was a part of the goal of the Singapore Government, to give a secure and just environment, to overseas workers, and to take care of their welfare. Also, there were other ways through which, the Government, aimed to achieve beneficial goals.

An Alliance of tripartite nature for Managing Disputes was formed. It received 2,500 claims for salary, in the initial six months of its opening, and has helped in settling many claims, where cases had completed mediation process, to recover salaries which were not fully paid.

Measures to reduce too much charging by the agencies had helped to decrease these types of cases, to barely 17 in 2017, from 36, that was found in 2014.

Public complaints, regarding bad housing for overseas workers, also declined to 440 in 2017, from 580 for 2014.

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