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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Independent Study to Examine Possible Social Tensions Faced by Foreign Workers

Notice Paper No. 17 of 2014 For The Sitting On 20 January 2014 Question No. 724 For Written Answer

MP: Ms Janice Koh

To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider commissioning an independent study to examine possible social tensions, discrimination or any underlying employment-related grievances faced by foreign workers and make public the findings of such a study.


  1. MOM agrees that there is merit in collecting information to understand the issues that workers face, with a view to take appropriate interventions.

  2. In 2011, MOM, in collaboration with a non-government organisation, the Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), commissioned an independent survey company to conduct face-to-face interviews with about 3,000 Work Permit Holders (WPHs) and 500 S Pass Holders on their experiences of working in Singapore. This included questions on employment-related issues. The survey found that 90% of respondents were satisfied with their overall experience of working in Singapore; and that 80% wished to continue working in Singapore with either their current employer or a new one. 70% of respondents also said that they would recommend Singapore to their friends and family as a place for employment. The findings of this survey are available on the MOM website.
  3. More recently in November 2013, MOM conducted an additional survey of over 150 foreign construction workers departing Singapore at the airport. More than 90% did not have any employment issues; and 80% were happy working in Singapore. A few who worked elsewhere found Singapore to be better as it was a safer environment. These results suggest that foreign workers generally feel well taken care of in Singapore.
  4. MOM will continue to monitor the situation and conduct periodic surveys and studies, as necessary.