Forum: Foreigners working here also need help during this period

I have been living and working in Singapore on and off for the past 16 years. Four years ago, I started my own company. I am its managing director and sole employee and I hold an Employment Pass. My work is in project-based engineering services. The company hires local manpower on a project-by-project basis.

Three years ago, I started another company which employs Singaporean specialist staff. This company also hires additional local manpower on a project-by-project basis as required.

Now that the circuit breaker has been extended for a month, I am facing real financial hardship. I fully support the circuit breaker and understand that it is the only way to get on top of the coronavirus crisis.

I have received some support from the Jobs Support Scheme for my Singaporean staff.

I have committed to paying them full salary for as long as the company can afford to do so. I have to pay the balance of their salaries, plus rental and all other business costs.

As a foreigner, I am not entitled to any support for myself as a working director.

I agree that the government support during this crisis is unprecedented and extremely generous. But foreigners seem to have slipped through the net.

While I am not a Singaporean or permanent resident, I am working hard to support the Singapore economy and have been paying all my taxes, levies, fees and charges in the time that I have been working here. I have bills to pay just like everyone else but am unable to access support.

I have contacted all the government agencies that I can think of but have been told that there is no support for foreigners in my situation. The latest support for directors is again only for Singaporeans. Perhaps there is some support but I have been unable to find it. Can anyone provide further guidance?

Otherwise, I respectfully urge the Government to consider people in my position. It is very unlikely that I will be able to sustain my businesses without support for myself.

I would be forced to close both businesses, resulting in Singaporean job losses and the loss of the investments I have put into them over the past four years.

Ian Thompson