Coronavirus: MOM bans 2 work pass holders for breaching re-entry rules, suspends employers' privileges

The Ministry of Manpower has rejected about 400 applications a day for work pass holders with travel history to mainland China to return to Singapore since new measures to help contain the coronavirus outbreak kicked in. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revoked the work passes of two workers and suspended their employers' work pass privileges for breaching entry approval requirements after they recently travelled to China.

In a statement on Thursday (Feb 13), MOM said that the employers have been ordered to repatriate the workers within 24 hours and the two workers have been permanently banned from working in Singapore.

The employers' work pass privileges have also been suspended for a year.

The ministry announced on Feb 8 that all work pass holders with travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days and who are planning to enter Singapore are required to obtain approval from MOM before they commence their journey.

It is among measures put in place amid the developing coronavirus situation in Singapore.

The employers of the two workers had applied for their workers to enter Singapore on Tuesday, but their applications were not approved.

MOM said they were not approved as part of efforts to ensure a manageable and orderly return of workers.

However, despite being informed of the application outcomes at least 12 hours before the workers' intended arrival, the workers made the journey and entered Singapore on Monday.

In its statement, MOM reminded employers to seek approval online for work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China to enter Singapore.

Employers should inform their employees not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval from the ministry has been obtained, it added.

Those returning to Singapore will be required to serve a mandatory 14-day leave of absence.

MOM said that it will not hesitate to take enforcement measures against errant employers or employees who do not comply with the requirements for re-entry into Singapore, including the revocation of work passes and suspension of work pass privileges.

The ministry said on Wednesday that around 200 applications for re-entry to Singapore have been approved a day since new entry rules for these workers kicked in after 11.59pm on Feb 8.

This means that at least some 600 work pass holders who travelled to China have been given the go-ahead to enter Singapore.

Priority is given to those working in essential services such as healthcare, transport and waste management, so that operations in these sectors are not compromised, MOM said.

On Feb 9, MOM announced that it had repatriated four work pass holders and suspended six employers for breaching leave of absence requirements.

It was the first such action taken since the ministry announced on Jan 31 that all work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China have to serve a mandatory 14-day leave of absence upon their arrival here.

The work pass holders were repatriated within 24 hours and banned permanently from working in Singapore. The six employers will not be allowed to hire work pass holders for two years.

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