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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say Minister of Manpower to Parliamentary Question on housing inspections and unacceptable accomodation

Notice Paper No. 608 Of 2017 For The Sitting On 03 Apr 2017

Question No. 445 For Written Answer

MP: Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) in the past three years, how many housing inspections have been conducted and how many employers have been found to have provided unacceptable accommodation for foreign workers; and (b) whether follow-up actions have been undertaken for all errant employers to ensure compliance with the regulations for acceptable accommodation.

Proposed Answer

  1. From 2014 to 2016, MOM conducted close to 4,000 foreign workers (FW) housing inspections. Over this period, MOM ramped up our housing inspections from 700 in 2014 to 1,800 in 2016, to proactively inspect all larger dormitories and other smaller housing types suspected to be in poor conditions as well as respond to complaints.
  2. The foreign worker housing landscape has improved in recent years, with the stepping up of enforcement and raising of regulatory standards. We have seen a decline in the number of public complaints related to foreign workers housing, from close to 600 in 2014 to 500 in 2016. 
  3. Most of the cases found with poor living conditions were private residential units, typically with multiple employers housing workers in a single unit. The larger FW housing, such as Purpose Built Dormitories and Factory Converted Dormitories, are in better condition. 
  4. Where infringements were found, MOM has ensured that employers or dormitory operators take immediate rectification action, such as making improvements to the housing condition for minor breaches, or relocating the workers to other approved accommodation altogether for severe breaches. In total, about 4,000 employers and/or dormitory operators were issued with warnings, composition fines, or prosecuted, arising from these inspections.