App makes foreigners' work-pass checks easier

Checking the validity of a foreign worker's work pass will be possible with just the touch of a button from next week.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is rolling out in phases new work passes with a QR code and a mobile app that can instantly bring up a worker's personal particulars. The move is useful for people such as landlords or contractors, who need to check the validity of a worker's work pass before letting him stay in rented property or into a worksite.

The new app, called SGWorkPass, is free and will be available for download from Apple's app store and Google Play. It will display information such as the validity and expiry of a work pass, the worker's occupation and his employer's name.

A work-pass card is an identification for foreigners working here, and contains their employment information. People currently use the date of expiry printed on work passes as proof of a worker's status. This, however, is not always up to date as the pass is sometimes cancelled before it expires, such as when a worker resigns or is laid off.

A more accurate check can be done on MOM's website.

The new system, said the ministry, provides "a more reliable and convenient way to check the most updated status as well as to verify variable information such as date of expiry and occupation".

The MOM said it will issue the new work pass in phases, starting with work-permit holders from the marine shipyard and construction sectors from Sept 15. Work-permit holders - except domestic workers - from other sectors will be issued the new pass from January.

Domestic workers, S-Pass holders, Employment-Pass holders and those on related dependant's passes or long-term-visit passes will get theirs from next March.

The MOM said it would stop printing information like the expiry date on new work-pass cards.

Singapore Contractors Association's president, Mr Kenneth Loo, said big contractors will benefit as they often need to check permits of workers entering worksites to ensure no illegals are among them.

Property agent Jack Palanisamy, 55, said it is also helpful for housing agents, who often need to check the status of prospective tenants.

"Before this, you had to go online and you needed a computer. Now, you can do the checks with one touch, on the move, using a mobile phone," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'App makes foreigners' work-pass checks easier'. Print Edition | Subscribe