Coronavirus: Long-term and student pass holders to require approval to enter Singapore

Applicants who are granted permission to enter Singapore will be issued an approval letter of entry by ICA or MOE that is valid for two weeks. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - All long-term visit pass (LTVP) holders, including those who have been granted in-principle approval (IPA) for an LTVP, and student pass (STP) holders must obtain approval from the Government before entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Sunday (March 29).

The Government announced the move on Saturday as additional precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19 here.

LTVP holders and those granted an IPA who are planning to enter or return to Singapore must obtain the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's (ICA) permission before they start their journey to Singapore by submitting their application for entry via e-mail.

Existing student pass holders and those who have been granted IPA for a student pass must obtain the Ministry of Education's (MOE) permission before starting their journey to the Republic.

MOE said it will take into consideration the course in which the student is enrolled and prioritise entry approval for those studying in publicly funded institutes of higher learning.

Student pass holders and those who have been granted an IPA for student pass should submit their application to their educational institution, which will then forward their application to MOE, the ministry said.

The entry approval measure comes on the heels of MOE's announcement on Friday regarding more home-based learning across educational institutions, in the light of the recent spike of Covid-19 cases.

From April 1, all schools will conduct one day of home-based learning a week.

Primary schools will do so on Wednesdays, secondary schools on Thursdays, and junior colleges and centralised institutes on Fridays.

On Friday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that this move will better prepare parents and students for more days of home-based learning if and when required.

Less than 10 per cent of students and staff did not return to school on March 23 - the first day back after the week-long March holidays - after being placed on a 14-day leave of absence or stay-home notice.

The leave of absence applied to students and staff of schools, pre-schools and student care centres who returned to Singapore on or after March 14.

In its announcement on Saturday, the Government said applicants who are granted permission to enter Singapore will be issued an approval letter of entry by ICA or MOE that is valid for two weeks.

Travellers must produce this approval letter of entry to airline staff upon checking in at the departure airport and to the immigration officer at the checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.

Applicants are advised not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been granted by ICA or MOE.

Those arriving in Singapore without the approval letter of entry will not be allowed to clear immigration and will be required to fly out of Singapore within 48 hours at their own cost, ICA said.

ICA said it will cancel passes or rescind the IPA of those failing to comply with the order to exit.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has also been requiring all new and existing work-pass holders, including dependants, to obtain the ministry's approval before beginning their journey to Singapore.

The entry approval applies to existing work-pass holders who are currently out of Singapore as well as those who have been granted IPA for a work pass and have yet to enter the country.

MOM said employers are required to apply for entry approval using the website.

Work-pass holders whose application for entry approval has been rejected are instructed not to enter or return to Singapore and advised to apply again for the required approval.

Those who do not comply and fly to Singapore will have their work pass revoked and barred from future employment in Singapore, the Government said.

MOM said it would restrict the number of entry approvals for work-pass holders to very small numbers.

The implementation of entry approval is in place to help agencies regulate the inflow of people to Singapore in order to mitigate the risk of the import of Covid-19 cases.

Travellers who are granted entry approval will be placed on a 14-day stay-home notice upon their arrival.

Travellers were also reminded to submit a health and travel declaration via the SG Arrival Card e-Service before their arrival.

Those charged with making any false or misleading declarations may be jailed up to six months or fined up to $10,000 under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Those charged for subsequent offences may be jailed up to 12 months and fined up to $20,000.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.