This includes the extension of the retention scheme, whereby those workers who lose their jobs but want to continue working in Singapore can avail of job matching services to find new employers.
Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is introducing measures to better support employers in retaining experienced Work Permit Holders (WPHs) in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors.
The new measures are detailed below, along with FAQs for employers.
#1 Extension of the retention scheme to Marine Shipyard and Process sectors
The retention scheme was first introduced in the construction sector on 1 September 2021, in partnership with the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL), to help retain experienced WPHs and meet the sector's manpower needs.
This scheme is now being extended for employers in the marine shipyard and process sectors who are facing similar manpower challenges, with MOM partnering Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI) and Association of Process Industry (ASPRI). The associations will share more details of their respective schemes when ready.
The way it works is that workers whose employment has been terminated, but wish to continue working in Singapore, will be enrolled in the retention scheme. For the construction sector, SCAL will facilitate job-matching between WPHs and employers who require additional manpower, as well as mediate to ensure a transparent transfer process for both parties.
To date, 52 companies have benefitted from the scheme. This construction sector scheme will be in place until 28 February 2022, subject to further review.
#2 Adjustment of COE without consent period for WPHs in the CMP sectors
The period for change of employer (COE) without consent in the CMP sectors will be shifted to the end of the contract.
Currently, prospective employers can hire the WPH without the original employer’s consent in the 21-40 days period before the expiry of the work permit. Going forward, WPHs will remain in employment of the original employer until the expiry of the work permit. Thereafter, the work permit may be extended for a 30-day period, subject to mutual agreement between the WPH and his employer.
The WPH may use this 30-day period to look for another employer without the need for consent from the original employer. The employer also gets to retain the worker in employment for up to 30 days.
Should there not be agreement from the worker or employer to extend the work permit by 30 days, the worker will be enrolled in the retention schemes and the industry associations will facilitate job-matching with a new employer within 30 days.
This adjustment to the COE without consent period will be implemented progressively across sectors from 8 November 2021 in the construction sector, and from a later date in the marine shipyard and process sectors. It will be in place as long as the retention schemes are in force. The associations will share more details when ready.
FAQs on retaining workers in the CMP sectors
Q Can an employer refuse to allow industry associations to match the worker with another employer, after they have cancelled the work permit?
No. Employers cannot refuse to allow industry associations to match the worker with another employer, as long as the worker is eligible to continue working in Singapore after work permit cancellation.
MOM will investigate and take appropriate actions against employers who forcefully repatriate their workers.
Q Who are the workers eligible for these schemes?
Migrant workers whose work permits are cancelled or have expired, and wish to continue to work in Singapore, are eligible for the retention scheme. For existing WPHs, they must not have changed multiple employers within the past 12 months.
MOM or the respective industry association will contact workers who are eligible for the scheme.
Q Do employers need to be a member of SCAL, ASMI or ASPRI to hire workers via the retention schemes?
No. All employers in the respective sectors can hire workers via the retention scheme. More information will be released in due course about how to register your interest.
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