SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has rejected about 500 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.
This is higher than the 400 daily rejections in the first week since the measures were implemented on Feb 9.
In a statement on Monday (Feb 24), MOM said that the measures were in place to manage the inflow of these workers.
The ministry said that it now approves 220 applications on average daily. This is slightly higher than the 200 average daily figure over the first week the entry approval requirements for work-pass holders with travel history to mainland China kicked in.
MOM has also since revoked the work passes of 11 workers who breached the entry approval requirements by entering Singapore despite failing to get approval.
These workers were sent back to their home countries and permanently banned from working in Singapore. Their employers' work-pass privileges were also suspended for one year.
Mrs Penny Han, divisional director of MOM's work pass division, said that most employers have been compliant with the entry approval requirements in spite of the short notice.
“They understand the need for such measures to help Singapore manage the evolving Covid-19 situation and we are grateful for their support,” Mrs Han said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“However, there remains a small minority who choose to blatantly disregard these safeguards. We would like to remind employers of the need to take these requirements seriously. The Covid-19 situation is still evolving and we cannot afford to be complacent.”
MOM reminded employers to seek online approval for work-pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China to enter or return to Singapore.
They should inform their employees not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been obtained from MOM.
When employees arrive in Singapore, they are required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice. Employers and employees should both ensure that the employee behaves responsibly during this period.
MOM said it will not hesitate to take enforcement measures against employers or employees who do not comply with the requirements. This includes revoking employees' work passes and suspending employers' work-pass privileges.