New pre-departure video that informs migrant workers of their rights here launched

Migrant workers enjoying the vegetarian briyani meal at the event. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Migrant workers enjoying the vegetarian briyani meal at the event. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Lim Swee Say (left), who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, speaking with migrant workers at a Deepavali feast at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road on Sunday. Mr Lim also helped distribute food to the 5,000
Labour chief Lim Swee Say (left), who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, speaking with migrant workers at a Deepavali feast at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road on Sunday. Mr Lim also helped distribute food to the 5,000 workers who were at the event. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

SINGAPORE - About 5,000 migrant workers were treated to a vegetarian Deepavali feast as part of festival celebrations on Sunday evening.

But before they tucked into a meal of briyani (rice), curried vegetables and papadam (Indian crackers) at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road, the workers were brought up-to-speed on their rights and entitlements in Singapore, and what to take note of to avoid getting duped by rogue agents and employers.

This was done through the screening of a new pre-departure video, produced by the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) and the Manpower Ministry (MOM), that contains information such as the common recruitment malpractices and workers' rights and entitlements in Singapore.

Sick and paid annual leave entitlement, typical employment agency fees in Singapore, and reminders to get a receipt for any payment made to agents, were just some of the issues raised during the roughly 14-minute long video.

It also contained behavioural advice and tips on Singapore's social norms, such as not smoking in public places like bus stops and not littering.

This will be screened for workers in their native tongues before they depart their home countries to Singapore, when they still have avenues to seek recourse before they lose that opportunity after boarding the plane, the MWC said in a statement.

"MWC hopes to eventually screen the video on a compulsory basis at as many departure points as possible, including overseas Construction Skills Testing Centres," it added.

The video comes at a time when foreign workers are facing issues such as overcharging by agents, said MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang, who launched the video on Sunday. It will empower migrant workers to make informed choices even before they hop on a plane to Singapore, he said.

During the event, the workers were joined by labour chief Lim Swee Say, who dished out briyani rice. Local and foreign worker volunteers were also part of the event to facilitate traffic flow and aid in the distribution of six dishes.

The event was jointly organised by MWC and the Hindu Endowments Board, and aims to promote social integration between the local and migrant community.

The video is available on MWC's website and on YouTube at bit.ly/MWCpredeparture. MWC is also working with MOM to make the video available on its website in the future.