Adopting a stricter approach may cause more disruptions than necessary to businesses in Singapore, Minister Dr Tan See Leng explained.
From the parliament session this week (6 July), Singapore’s Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng was asked by the House three questions that revolved around the ministry’s response to manage the surge in imported COVID-19 cases in Singapore.
In specific, the questions were:
- How many dependant passes have been issued in the past year;
- Why were dependant pass holders not promptly disallowed entry when there was a surge in imported COVID-19 cases; and
- Whether work permits and dependant passes can be delinked to allow more efficient revisions to border policies in case of a rebound in COVID-19 cases.
The minister first replied: “Travellers arriving from the same country have the same risk of incubating COVID-19, as reflected in the country’s COVID-19 situation.”
The granting of entry approval is therefore, according to Minister Tan, “calibrated based on the risk levels of countries and regions that the applicant has travelled to.”
With regard to dependant pass (DP) holders, Minister Tan explained the dynamics.
“DP holders accompany the work pass (WP) holder, who is here to work.”
Should the family of a WP holder be rejected entry into Singapore, “it is likely that the work pass holder will also choose not to enter,” he explained.
Thus, to have a policy that rejects DP holders’ entry, Minister Tan said that it will “likely” lead to WP holders choosing to leave Singapore in order to be reunited with their family.
According to Minister Tan, there are already cases of DP holders who have been separated from their family members, due to the border restrictions since 2020.
In fact, he said, Singapore’s strict entry approval process, carried out to safeguard public health, has resulted in “a sizeable backlog of existing work pass holders and dependants” who are outside of the country, and have yet to obtain approval to enter.
Minister Tan explained any move further than what Singapore’s already doing will “cause more disruption than necessary” to businesses and its operations.
Find Minister Tan’s speech about CECA, discriminatory hiring, WP nationalities, and more here.