SINGAPORE: Eleven workers have been banned since Singapore implemented entry approval requirements for work pass holders with travel history to mainland China, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a news release on Monday (Feb 24).
These workers had entered Singapore despite failing to obtain approval from MOM - a requirement announced on Feb 7 as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
All work pass holders with travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days and are planning to enter or return to Singapore, are required to obtain the ministry’s approval before they start their journey.
READ: New Stay-Home Notice with stricter measures for Singapore residents, long-term pass holders returning from mainland China
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.
The 11 workers had their work passes revoked and they were repatriated, said the ministry, adding they have been permanently banned from working in Singapore.
The ministry also suspended their employers' work pass privileges for a year.
Since the implementation of the entry approval requirements, MOM has approved on average 220 applications and rejected 500 daily.
This is a move to “manage their inflow into Singapore”.
READ: Manpower ministry revokes 4 work passes for Leave of Absence breaches, suspends employer privileges
Most companies have complied with the requirements, said Mrs Penny Han, divisional director in charge of MOM's Work Pass Division.
“The majority of employers have been compliant with our entry approval requirements, in spite of the short notice," said Mrs Han.
“They understand the need for such measures to help Singapore manage the evolving COVID-19 situation and we are grateful for their support.
“However, there remains a small minority who choose to blatantly disregard these safeguards. We would like to remind employers of the need to take these requirements seriously.
"The COVID-19 situation is still evolving and we cannot afford to be complacent.”
MOM reminded employers to seek approval for work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China to enter or return to Singapore using the online facility provided.
"Employers should inform their employees not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been obtained from MOM," said the ministry, adding that employees arriving in Singapore will be required to serve the mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice.
MOM said both employers and employees "have a joint duty to ensure that the employee behaves responsibly during the SHN" and that the ministry would not hesitate to take enforcement measures against errant players.