Pilot programme from 2023 to help S Pass holders settle in Singapore: Tan See Leng

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng disclosed the ministry’s plan to launch a pilot settling-in programme in Parliament on Nov 7. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A pilot programme to familiarise S Pass holders arriving in Singapore with working here and to encourage positive interaction with locals is slated to launch in 2023.

S Pass holders are currently not required to attend a settling-in programme, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng in Parliament on Monday.

He disclosed the ministry’s plan to launch the pilot in his reply to an adjournment motion by Nominated MP Raj Joshua Thomas on developing a global talent strategy.

In his speech, Mr Thomas suggested a compulsory initiation programme for all foreigners on work passes to instil in them respect for Singapore’s laws, culture and local colleagues.

Dr Tan did not give details of the pilot programme.

Foreigners on S Passes typically hold junior professional, managerial and executive jobs.

Currently, non-Malaysian work permit holders who are working in Singapore for the first time in the manufacturing, construction, marine shipyard and process sectors must attend a one-day settling-in programme.

Returning work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors, as well as first-time migrant domestic workers, are required to attend the programme as well.

Topics covered in the programme for work permit holders include local practices and social norms, how to remit money home, healthcare options, employment laws and mental health.

Meanwhile, topics covered for migrant domestic workers include adapting to working and living in Singapore, working safely and stress management.

Dr Tan said that since July 2021, employers, the Government and unions have been engaging senior Employment Pass holders in small groups to share Singapore’s approach to key workplace issues, including ensuring good local-foreign integration in companies.

However, addressing Mr Thomas’ call for a compulsory programme for all work pass holders, Dr Tan said settling-in programmes for S Pass holders and engagements with senior Employment Pass holders are not compulsory to avoid being overly prescriptive with how to promote integration.

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