A foreign worker gathers Gotu Kola plants for a customer in Green Circle Eco Farm at Lim Chu Kang, February 7, 2015. (Source : blog.nus.edu.sg)

Settling-in Programme (SIP) for new foreigners on work permit

Minister for Manpower, Mr Lim Swee Say announced plans to implement a mandatory Settling-in Programme (SIP) for new foreigners on work permit.

This was announced during Mr Lim’s speech at an appreciation dinner organised by MOM for more than 300 partners comprising employers, dormitory operators, non-government organisations (NGOs) or GONGOs (government-organised NGOs), employment agency representatives and Foreign Worker Ambassadors.

Similar to the current mandatory SIP for first-time foreign domestic workers, this mandatory programme will educate newly arrived foreign workers on employment regulations, Singapore laws and social norms, as well as avenues of help.

According to the Minister, the programme, to be rolled out in phases, will start with all first-time non-Malaysian foreign workers in construction sector, and is expected to be launched in the second half of 2018.

About 2,000 FWs in the construction sector are expected to attend the SIP each month. Employers will be required to register their FWs for the SIP, including bearing the course fee, MOM stated.

In 2016, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conducted a pilot programme with close to 1,900 foreign workers to ascertain the programme’s effectiveness from June to October 2016.

According to the Ministry, a post-course evaluation was conducted, and the findings and feedback received were positive. Almost all FWs were more aware of their rights and responsibilities after attending the pilot programme.

“They found the programme useful, and better understood that MOM could help them when they had employment issues. Employers also shared that they saw improvement in their FWs’ behaviour and had a more positive attitude at work,” it stated.

Commenting on the pilot programme, Mr Kenneth Loo, Executive Director of Straits Construction Singapore Pte Ltd said, “We find this programme beneficial for both foreign workers and employers. It helps them adapt to working and living in Singapore by learning about the laws, regulations, and social norms.”

“We sent 26 foreign workers to the pilot programme and we saw positive behaviour in the workers. As an employer, a worker who is aware of his responsibilities is more productive and can better communicate with us,” he added.

The Ministry stated that more details will be released at a later date.