Construction, Marine and Process Sectors Piloting Tightened Process to Bring in Workers to Complement Workforce

The Construction, Marine and Process (CMP) sectors play an essential role in Singapore’s development. Companies in the CMP sectors contribute to the development of public infrastructure and private properties, construction and maintenance of vessels and offshore energy infrastructures to support the ocean economy, and plant engineering services to enable Singapore to be recognised globally as a leading maritime, energy and chemicals hub, and one of the most liveable cities.
The global pandemic has had a protracted impact on our CMP sectors. Since the end of 2019, the number of Work Permit Holders in the CMP sectors has declined by more than 60,000 (or more than 15%). This has resulted in project delays and significant labour cost increase, which in turn affect the viability of businesses. Besides delay on housing and infrastructure projects which have implications on homeowners and Singaporeans, there are implications on Singapore’s global competitiveness, credibility of our businesses and locals employed in these sectors when projects are not delivered on time or terminated. It could also result in increased workplace health and safety concerns.

While the sectors press on with productivity initiatives, continued access to manpower across different professions and trades remains key to the transformation of the sector. To address the sectors’ need for trades workers and mitigate the public health risk associated with entry of such workers from other countries, the sectors piloted a tightened end-to-end process to bring in trades workers from overseas.

The end-to-end process focuses on proactive testing of the workers through a COVID-19 testing regime over a 14-day period at specified on-boarding facilities at source country before departure for Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore, workers will be subject to the prevailing Stay Home Notice (SHN), health protocols and safe management measures. This pilot programme aims to integrate the overseas training, testing and on-boarding process with Singapore’s on-arrival testing and SHN protocol to ensure the overall well-being of the workers before they are allowed to commence work.

Having observed no incidence of COVID-19 cases in the first few batches of workers entering from Malaysia in this pilot so far, we will be trialling the entry of workers from India through the same tightened end-to-end process in July 2021. We will continue to carry this out in a small scale and calibrated manner, to better manage the risks involved and validate the robustness of the tightened end-to-end process. If successful, this model will be used to facilitate a steady inflow of workers in a safe and secure manner.