Advisory on employer-assisted remittance for foreign workers residing in dormitories
Issued on 16 April 2020
- On 11 April 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued an advisory for salary payment to foreign workers residing in dormitories to be made electronically. This advisory provides additional guidance to employers on assisting their foreign workers remit salaries to their home countries, where the workers are isolated in their dormitories for safe distancing.
Foreign workers residing in dormitories continue to have access to remittance services
- Many foreign workers regularly remit money to their families living overseas through various remittance options available in Singapore, such as physical or online remittance services. During the Circuit Breaker period, foreign workers continue to have access to remittance services through avenues such as mobile remittance agents activated at certain dormitories or online remittance services.
Employers encouraged to assist their foreign workers with remittance upon the worker’s request
- However, some foreign workers may require remittance options that are not available on-site at their dormitories or through online services, and may need help in remitting their salaries overseas. We strongly advise employers to check with their foreign workers on whether they need help to remit their salaries, either in part or in full, to an overseas bank account of their choice, and if so, to offer them the option of assisting to do the remittance on their behalf.
- Employers who are in the process of setting up the workers’ bank accounts and need to pay their foreign workers’ salaries by cash for the current payment cycle, may also consider this option to avoid making a physical trip to the dormitories for the purposes of safe distancing. For subsequent payment cycles, employers should continue to pay salaries electronically directly to the workers’ bank accounts.
- If employers are assisting foreign workers to remit their salaries overseas, employers must obtain foreign workers’ written consent (e.g. via text messages or email) and also keep a record of the foreign workers’ remittance requests. The request from the foreign worker must include details such as:
Employers must verify all information collected from the worker against their own records prior to processing the remittance request, in order to ensure that the information provided is true and accurate. For cumulative remittances above S$500 in a single month, the employer must also submit a copy of the worker’s work permit for verification by the remittance service provider.
- Worker’s full name, FIN, date of birth, nationality and address;
- Worker’s specified amount of his/her salary to be remitted overseas;
- Worker’s specified name and bank account details of intended recipient; and
- Worker’s specified date or time period for the remittance transaction to take place.
- Employers may use any remittance service provider, as long as it is mutually agreed between the employer and the foreign worker. Employers may refer remittance service providers to MAS Circular Nos: MAS/PD/2020/07, AMLD 02/2020 (issued via MASNET on 16 April 2020) for the required customer due diligence measures for such remittances during this period.
- After each successful remittance transaction, employers should, without delay, inform their foreign workers in writing (e.g. via text messages or email), with proof of the remittance transaction (e.g. photograph of the transaction receipt). Each party shall be responsible for any loss of monies as a result of error on their part. This will help avoid unnecessary downstream disputes between the employers and their foreign workers.
- Employers are advised to make clear to their foreign workers that this is a temporary arrangement that will cease when the Circuit Breaker period ends and foreign workers are able to access their usual remittance service providers.
- For further queries, please contact:
Ministry of Manpower