New measure aims to moderate demand for non-dormitory accommodation, ensure workers have acceptable places to stay
Employers in Singapore's Construction, Marine Shipyard, and Process (CMP) sectors will be asked to obtain a new proof of acceptable accommodation before they can bring in their non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders (WPH) following a boom of WPH in the sectors.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that the new requirement will apply to new WPHs in the CMP sectors arriving in Singapore starting September 19. It will also be on top of the work permit approval.
"The documentary proof required should be in the form of tenancy or rental agreements, or contracts with accommodation providers," MOM said in a media release.
According to the ministry, employers planning to house WPHs in in Purpose-Built Dormitories, Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQ), Temporary Occupation Licence Quarters (TLOQ), or their own dormitories will obtain approvals within a week.
Approvals for those planning to house WPHs in private residential properties, hotels, or hostels should take around six weeks or longer due to additional checks, MOM added.
"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."
Employers who will bring in WPHs without proof of accommodation may see their work pass privileges suspended, MOM warned.
WPH surge in CMP sectors
The new requirement comes after the number of WPHs in the CMP sectors in July 2023 were up 19% than pre-pandemic levels, as employers seek to catch up on pandemic-delated projects.
"The increased number of WPHs has led to near full occupancy at dormitories and more migrant workers are being housed in non-dormitory accommodation," MOM said. "There is a need to moderate the demand for non-dormitory accommodation, and to ensure that workers have acceptable accommodation."
MOM said it has added nearly 17,000 beds since December 2022 to accommodate the number of entering WPHs. However, it noted that it is "not possible" to keep hiking bed supply at this rate.
To contribute to bed supply, MOM is asking employers to build their own CTQs, TOLQs, as well as Factory-Converted Dormitories to house their employees.
"We also urge employers to put in place productivity measures to reduce their reliance on foreign workers," MOM said.