Perks galore for migrant workers in free scheme

The Migrant Workers' Centre will first focus on newly arrived workers for the membership drive. Members can use online banking services via the POSB jolly app.
The Migrant Workers' Centre will first focus on newly arrived workers for the membership drive. Members can use online banking services via the POSB jolly app.

Members enjoy savings on airfares, telco plans, bike-sharing in MWC-POSB tie-up

A free membership programme that offers migrant workers benefits in banking, remittances and other services they will need while living in Singapore was rolled out yesterday.

In a joint release, the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) and POSB said members can look forward to savings on services they use daily, such as mobile plans and bicycle-sharing.

The MWC-POSB membership, the first of its kind here for migrant workers, will be offered in two phases.

New migrant workers who have their work permit applications submitted from April 1, and whose employers have opened a POSB bank account for them, will be issued an ATM card that automatically doubles as a membership card.

By the fourth quarter of this year, migrant workers already here who have POSB bank accounts can sign up for membership through the POSB jolly app and be issued a digital membership card.

MWC and POSB said up to 200,000 workers could benefit in the first year of the membership programme, which was announced by National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

There were 975,800 work permit holders in Singapore as of last June, including foreign domestic workers, who are not eligible for the membership scheme.

The Migrant Workers' Centre will first focus on newly arrived workers for the membership drive. Members can use online banking services via the POSB jolly app (above).
The Migrant Workers' Centre will first focus on newly arrived workers for the membership drive. Members can use online banking services via the POSB jolly app (above). PHOTOS: MIGRANT WORKERS' CENTRE, POSB

The programme builds on the existing Work Pass Application system, which gives employers the option to open POSB bank accounts for their workers when they apply for their work permits.

MWC hopes more employers will ensure their workers have bank accounts into which their salaries can be paid electronically.

Members of this programme can use online banking services through the POSB jolly app. They can also send money back home, through a remittance service tie-up between POSB and money transfer firm MoneyGram, or with other partner agencies in the programme.

Other perks include a new insurance scheme, available to members under NTUC Income to protect them against serious injury or death not arising from work.

There will also be offers from StarHub on data, talk-time and product bundles, as well as discounts on airfares and seasonal package offers from participating travel agencies.

MWC has also roped in bicycle-sharing operator oBike for discounts and seasonal offers.

Said Mr Chan: "We have managed to pull together a network to provide them with a one-stop service - (with) the kind of services they can access once they reach Singapore, such as travel insurance, remittance, telcos.

"These are all essential services that will help them settle into Singapore, and give them peace of mind."

MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang said the membership programme is part of ongoing efforts to improve the lives of migrant workers in Singapore.

He added that MWC will focus on newly arrived migrant workers first.

From September, staff will visit dormitories, recreation centres and areas where workers congregate, to help the 500,000 workers who already have POSB accounts sign up for the membership programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Perks galore for migrant workers in free scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe