Expanded Foreign Employee Dormitories Act To License 1,600 Dormitories Under Single Regulatory Framework
1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will expand the coverage of the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) from 1 April 2023 to include migrant worker (MW) dormitories1 with 7 or more beds. Currently, only dormitories with 1,000 or more beds are licensed under FEDA. The expansion of FEDA will bring MW dormitories under a single regulatory and enforcement framework, giving MOM regulatory levers to raise their operating standards as well as impose requirements2 to manage disease outbreaks.
2. With this change, 1,600 dormitories (total of 439,000 beds) will be licensed under FEDA, compared to 53 dormitories (total of 256,000 beds) now.
Requirements under expanded FEDA
3. Currently, all MW dormitories are subjected to various requirements across different legislation, covering areas such as fire safety, living conditions, sanitary, and public health requirements. Only dormitories with 1,000 beds or more are licensed under FEDA and are subject to additional requirements for public health and safety, and the provision of recreation and commercial facilities for their residents.
4. With the expanded FEDA, the requirements for MW dormitories will be consolidated under a single regulatory framework. Dormitories will fall under four licence classes3 depending on their size. A set of essential living requirements (e.g. minimum space per resident, maximum room occupancy, cleanliness and ventilation) will be applied to all dormitories; larger dormitories will be subject to more stringent requirements on dormitory management, resident welfare and safety and health.
5. Dormitories with 1,000 beds or more will not see any change in requirements from today. Dormitories with 7 to 999 beds will be subject to new requirements in the areas such as reporting requirements, traffic management, and contingency plans for public health outbreaks.
6. Existing dormitories with 1,000 beds or more can continue to operate normally as they are already licenced under FEDA. New dormitories which intend to begin operations on or after 1 April 2023 must apply for a full FEDA licence, which will be valid for three years.
7. Existing dormitories with 7 to 999 beds, as well as new dormitories that intend to begin operations before 1 April 2023, must apply for a provisional FEDA licence from January 2023. The provisional FEDA licence which is valid for up to two years, will be issued through a simplified application process to onboard existing operators seamlessly. MOM will organise briefings for the dormitory operators, conduct checks, and support dormitory operators to meet the FEDA requirements.
Fortifying Migrant Worker Housing Standards
8. “Bringing all dormitories with 7 beds or more under the expanded FEDA will strengthen our regulatory levers to raise living standards and implement pandemic management plans for migrant workers’ health and well-being,” said Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Dr Koh Poh Koon. “This is a significant step forward in our multi-year roadmap to transform our workers’ living environments for greater resilience and liveability.”
9. "The expansion of FEDA is an important milestone for the industry. Consistent standards across the dormitories will provide good living environments for our migrant workers, in areas such as space, amenities and hygiene standards,” said President, Dormitory Association Singapore Limited (DASL), Mr Johnathan Cheah. “While the industry may need some time to adjust to the expanded licensing framework, DASL will fully support all dormitory professionals through active engagements and training programmes. For example, we are working closely with MOM to curate a training programme on compliance requirements and dormitory management best practices. We are committed to ensuring the dormitory workforce is well-equipped as we spearhead efforts to uplift the industry’s capabilities."