All workers with travel history to China must seek approval before entering Singapore: MOM

All workers with travel history to China must seek approval before entering Singapore: MOM

Foreign worker dormitories have started preparing isolation facilities for residents returning from China, who will have to take a mandatory leave of absence and stay home when they are back. Vanessa Lim reports.

SINGAPORE: All work pass holders with travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days will have to obtain approval from Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before they enter Singapore. 

This is regardless of nationality and applies to both existing work pass holders currently out of Singapore as well as In-Principle Approval (IPA) holders who have yet to enter Singapore, said MOM in a press release on Friday (7 Feb).

Employers are responsible for seeking approval from MOM and should inform their workers not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval is given, said MOM. 

Employers will be required to send the MOM approval letter to their employees, who will have to show it to the airline staff upon check-in and then produce it at the ICA checkpoint when they arrive in Singapore.

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Employers must apply for approval through an MOM online form three days before the intended arrival date of their employees.

This will apply to all workers planning to enter or return to Singapore from Feb 9.

"This will enable the entry (and) return of work pass holders to be carried out in an orderly and well- managed way," said MOM of the new stipulation.

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On Thursday (Feb 6), Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced that it will be mandatory for all workers returning from mainland China to be placed on a 14-day leave of absence (LOA), as Singapore steps up measures to contain the coronavirus situation.

Dependents of work pass holders are also subject to the same requirements. 

After getting MOM's approval, employers will have to declare to the ministry that they have arranged for suitable premises to house returning employees for the duration of their LOA. 

They must either obtain the worker’s landlord’s confirmation, book a hotel room or secure a dormitory room for the worker, MOM said.

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Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, employers are responsible for the workers’ accommodation. Those who need help housing their employees can contact MOM at 1800 333 9999 or mom_qops@mom.gov.sg.

To make sure that workers keep to their LOA, MOM said it will revoke the work pass of the employee and take measures against the employer if the authorities find that the employee breached the LOA requirements.

Members of the public can also report to MOM if they find someone flouting the LOA requirements via mom_qops@mom.gov.sg or 6438 5122.

According to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, people on LOA must keep to rules such maintaining a record of people they have came in close contact with during the LOA leave of absence, and minimise time spent in public spaces.

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Source: CNA/rp

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