Hiring Foreign Workers: S’pore firms look beyond Bangladesh, India amid pandemic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:11 AM, May 08, 2021

Hiring Foreign Workers: S’pore firms look beyond Bangladesh, India amid pandemic

Companies in Singapore that have traditionally relied on migrant workers from India and Bangladesh are now looking further afield for labour, Channel News Asia has reported quoting several firms.

However, they also said that they are just starting to explore the options, and to expect project delays and disruptions for the time being, said the CNA report published yesterday on its online.

For all latest news, follow The Daily Star's Google News channel.

From May 2, Singapore barred entry or transit for visitors with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

This travel ban, which includes long-term pass holders, came amid a series of moves to tighten Singapore borders as the Covid-19 outbreak in India worsens and Singapore clocked more local coronavirus cases in recent weeks, the report said.

Singapore Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force, had acknowledged that this will have an impact on industries such as construction, and that many small- and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore and contractors will be affected.

The Building and Construction Authority on April 26 said that it will grant more flexibility for firms to bring in workers from China, among other support measures.

But companies told CNA that this will not make up the shortfall.

A manager in the construction industry said that the cost of hiring workers from China will "shoot up" as demand increases.

"The daily rate for a Chinese worker is about S$200 to S$300 per day," the report quoted him as saying, adding the daily rate for workers from India or Bangladesh is about S$120 to S$150 now, up from S$70 to S$80 in the past.

Kenneth Loo, COO of Straits Construction, said that the situation is "very tight", and manpower was short before the travel restrictions kicked in.

He estimates that there is a 30 to 40 percent shortage of workers currently.

The Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) said on April 23 that the labour crunch has already caused delay of construction projects for nine to 12 months, while the cost of labour and materials has escalated by 30 percent to 50 percent.

Companies in the landscape industry also said that they face a lack of workers, with some telling CNA that they have had to turn down projects.

Workers from India and Bangladesh do essential work such as grass cutting and tree works, Chairman Goh Eng Lam of Landscape Industry Association (Singapore) said.

He thinks there will be a 15 to 20 percent shortage of workers in the coming months.


Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News