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HOME welcomes Little India riot COI recommendations

The migrant worker help group says Singapore needs to go beyond the recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry for the Little India riot by introducing systemic changes.

SINGAPORE: Migrant worker help group, the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), said it welcomes the recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry for the Little India riot.

Executive director Jolovan Wham on Tuesday (July 1) said HOME is glad the committee - in its report released on Monday - acknowledged the important role that low-wage migrant workers play in contributing to Singapore's economy and community. However, "Singapore needs to go beyond the recommendations laid out by the committee by introducing systemic changes in order to fully realise the rights of low-wage migrant workers", he said.

In particular, HOME recommended:

  • More oversight and enforcement in the area of recruitment, to ensure that Singapore only approves work permits of workers who have gone through legal channels in their home countries, and to prevent employers and recruiters based in Singapore from getting large kickbacks
  • Better legal protection to prevent wage discrimination by nationality
  • Changes to policies and laws that make it difficult for migrant workers to defend their employment rights and file cases of abuse
  • More training of law enforcement officers to be sensitive when dealing with foreign workers
  • Improvements to accommodation of foreign workers, as large numbers continue to live in cargo containers, factory-converted dormitories, and even construction work sites
  • More resources be poured into establishing welfare groups and that employer groups consider setting upand funding support communities for migrant workers

Home added that there is a need for better independent representation of migrant workers by unions, with only 11 per cent of all foreign workers in Singapore unionised.

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