SINGAPORE, May 8 — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that it will be revising the entry dates of work pass holders from higher-risk countries or regions who have already obtained entry approval, and it will no longer be accepting new entry applications.
These entry restrictions will also include the dependants of work pass holders, the ministry said in a news release yesterday.
MOM defined higher-risk areas as all countries or regions except Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
It added that the decision to impose the new entry restrictions was in view of the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in several countries and emergence of new coronavirus variants.
In this period of heightened alert, it said that it would be making the following changes to the entry of work pass holders who have earlier gotten approvals to arrive from higher-risk countries or regions from May 11 onwards.
Work pass holders from the construction, marine shipyard and process industries will be allowed entry as approved, except for a small group with planned arrivals in June who will be rescheduled to arrive at another date
Migrant workers here to work as domestic workers will be allowed entry as approved, except for some with planned arrivals before June 7 who will be rescheduled to arrive at another date
Other work pass holders who got approval to enter before July 5 will not be allowed to enter Singapore for now. MOM said that it will inform employers on when to re-apply for entry when the situation has stabilised and will prioritise them for entry approval then
In view of the need to postpone the entry of work pass holders who had already received approval to enter, MOM said that it will no longer be accepting new entry applications from higher-risk countries or regions with immediate effect.
It will, however, continue to allow the entry of workers needed for key strategic projects and infrastructural works.
From Friday onwards, MOM will be reaching out to affected work pass holders and their employers to inform them of the changes.
The ministry stated that these changes will not affect work pass holders already given or are seeking entry approval to enter Singapore from lower-risk countries or regions, those under the Government’s Periodic Commuting Arrangement, Reciprocal Green Lane and other approved travel lanes.
The announcement by MOM comes at a time where construction companies have reported facing a foreign manpower crunch due to earlier border restrictions.
The Singapore Contractors Association told TODAY previously that the ongoing labour crunch has already caused projects to be pushed back by up to 12 months.
The Building and Construction Authority said on April 26 that it will allow construction companies to recruit workers from China from May 7 to help them cope with the tighter restrictions of travellers from India that were imposed on April 22.
Construction bosses told TODAY that while the move to temporarily relax requirements for construction workers from China is a step in the right direction, it is still challenging to bring in workers from a new source country and they will also have to incur more costs to hire a Chinese worker. — TODAY