Construction industry stakeholders appealing to Multi-Ministry Taskforce to bring in foreign workers in a safe and controlled manner

With the Phase 2 heightened alert issued on 14 May, the Built Environment industry (comprising key stakeholders, namely the Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore (ACES), Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES), Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS), Singapore Contractor Association Ltd (SCAL), Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA)), Singapore Institute of Building Limited (SIBL), Singapore Institute of Surveyors & Valuers (SISV) and Society of Project Managers (SPM) understands and supports the Government’s efforts to curb a resurgence of COVID-19 cases amidst the emergence of new virus variants in Singapore.

However, we have serious concerns about the acute manpower situation for the construction industry. The complexity and nature of construction work necessitates the deployment of workers from various trades, and the current reduced workforce is already working at maximum capacity, increasing the risks of workplace incidents. We are suffering from reduced productivity due to safe management measures at the worksites and many of our migrant workers plan to return home when their work permits expire.

The Built Environment sector consists of over 18,000 firms and hires tens of thousands of Singaporeans. These jobs are at stake, if there are further impacts to the sector. The reality is that the industry needs sufficient inflow of migrant workers, both returning and new ones to take over the place of those who have left Singapore for various reasons, in order to sustain the industry and ensure that we can deliver on our projects.

While we need to maintain tight border control measures to protect Singaporeans, we urge the Government to adopt a balanced approach and work with industry to allow the recruitment and inflow of foreign manpower. We are prepared to work with the relevant agencies and stakeholders to establish a viable end-to-end system to bring in migrant workers in a safe and controlled manner so as to enable work to continue, while keeping Singaporeans safe.

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