Coronavirus: MOM will revoke work passes of migrant workers in large gatherings if they refuse to disperse

The Manpower Ministry said the steps were taken in view of tighter measures at the national level. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Migrant workers who gather in large numbers in public may have their work passes revoked if they do not disperse when ordered to by the authorities.

In a statement on Wednesday (March 25), the Manpower Ministry (MOM) said it would step up inspections on the ground to disperse large gatherings by foreign workers, in particular foreign domestic workers (FDWs).

"As outdoor gatherings among FDWs tend to be large, MOM will take action to disperse them as an added precaution... Workers who do not cooperate will have their work passes revoked," said the statement.

The MOM singled out places frequented by migrant workers, including City Plaza in Paya Lebar, where Indonesian maids, among others, are seen, and Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road, a popular gathering place for Filipino domestic workers on their days off.

It also highlighted Little India, where workers from the South Asian community frequent, and Peninsula Plaza in North Bridge Road, also known as "Little Burma" for its patronage by the Myanmar community.

There are about 255,800 FDWs and 284,300 foreign construction workers here as of June last year. Together, they account for almost 10 per cent of Singapore's population.

The MOM said the steps were taken in view of tighter measures at the national level.

From 11.59pm on Thursday, all entertainment venues such as bars and cinemas will have to close, and gatherings outside work and school cannot exceed 10 people.

Malls can stay open but only if they ensure crowd density is reduced.

On Wednesday, the MOM advised foreign workers to remain in their residence on rest days, and said their employers and dormitory operators should "educate" them on this.

Workers should minimise time spent outside when running important errands, while employers should know where they are and have them return home once their tasks are complete.

Workers should also observe good personal hygiene and minimise physical contact by not shaking hands or sharing food, and maintaining a safe distance from one another.

If they meet indoors, workers must observe the latest rules on gatherings, the MOM added.

"Collective social responsibility is critical in slowing the transmission of Covid-19. We ask for the cooperation of workers to take necessary precautions and exercise individual responsibility," said the ministry.

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