Collect security deposits from employers of migrant workers

Workers at a construction site.
Workers at a construction site.PHOTO: ST FILE

It's appalling that migrant workers who slogged for long hours without a day off have been deprived of their salaries by errant employers (Bosses of foreign workers ignore court orders to pay up, by Transient Workers Count Too, Sept 5).

After workers spend time and money to win claims at the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT), errant employers still refused to pay the earnings due, or even disappeared. What more can the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) do to enforce compliance after ECT claims are won?

Can MOM require a monetary deposit of several months' salary from employers each time it approves a migrant worker's employment permit? This would be similar to the security deposit required by utilities providers.

Migrant workers come to Singapore to find employment to provide for their loved ones back home. Just as we Singaporeans expect to receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, the same is expected for migrant workers.

The errant employers may not have it in their hearts to pay migrant workers who had borrowed thousands of dollars to come to Singapore to find employment, but our government agencies surely can do more to eliminate such cases.

Gerald Ang Joo Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2019, with the headline 'Collect security deposits from employers of migrant workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe