A foreign workers' advocate group backed by the labour movement has set up its first emergency shelter.
The Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), headed by labour MP Yeo Guat Kwang, has opened an emergency shelter that can house eight workers in its new premises at a two-storey shophouse in Serangoon Road.
Previously, foreign workers who needed temporary shelter were housed overnight at the group's offices at Geylang and Little India before being sent to workers' dormitories. This was the practice even though both offices were not officially approved by the authorities to be used as workers quarters.
Besides beds for up to eight workers, the new shelter also boasts counselling rooms and a recreational area for foreign workers to play board games. By March, the centre will also set up a 24-hour hotline to allow foreign workers to get round-the-clock help.
Mr Yeo said that the centre's proximity to the Manpower Ministry's office in Bendemeer Road - some 2 km away - will also make it easier for the ministry to refer foreign workers in distress to it.
He added that more foreigners had sought help from the MWC in the past few years on salary disputes and injury claims. The centre will step up its outreach to foreign workers so that they know where to get help for salary disputes and injury claims, said Mr Yeo.