Businesses & families would be badly hit if borders were closed to migrant workers post-circuit breaker: MOM

Many workers left Singapore over the last year.

Jason Fan | May 18, 2021, 02:25 PM

Businesses and families would have been badly affected if migrant workers were not allowed to enter Singapore after Circuit Breaker last year, according to a statement by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday (May 18).

This statement was in response to recent calls by members of the public to close Singapore's borders entirely, in order to bring down the number of imported Covid-19 infections.

Fewer workers in Singapore last year

According to MOM, the outflow of migrant workers exceeded the inflow over the last year, as many workers ended their contracts and chose to return home.

MOM also emphasised that from May 2, 2021, Singapore has completely stopped the entry of all visitors from South Asia.

"As a result of border restrictions to mitigate importation risks, we have not been able to adequately replace those who have left Singapore," said MOM.

MOM said that if they did not allow any migrant workers to enter Singapore after Circuit Breaker last year, there would be 70,000 fewer migrant workers in the services sector, including essential services such as healthcare and cleaning.

There would also be 30,000 fewer construction workers in Singapore to work on key infrastructure and building projects, and 30,000 fewer migrant domestic workers in work in Singapore households.

"Border restrictions will impact Singaporeans' daily lives and this will be felt more keenly in the coming weeks and months," said MOM.

Businesses want more workers

In their statement, MOM stated that while certain members of the public want the borders to be closed entirely, businesses have been appealing for more workers to be allowed to enter Singapore, in order to address manpower shortages.

However, they said that restrictions on the inflow of workers from higher-risk countries will continue to persist, until the situation improves.

The ministry said that such restrictions are the only way that the safe inflow of workers can be ensured, while managing the risk of transmission in the community.

"We are mindful of the manpower crunch that our businesses will face, and the caregiving help that our families will need, as a result," said MOM.

Top image via Ministry of Manpower/FB.