S’pore stops accepting new work pass holders from high Covid-19 risk places, including maids

The Manpower Ministry said it will reschedule entry into Singapore for work pass holders who had earlier obtained approval - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore has stopped accepting new entry applications for work pass holders from higher-risk countries or regions due to Covid-19 with immediate effect, except for workers needed for key strategic projects and infrastructural works.

The Manpower Ministry on Friday (May 7) said it will also reschedule entry into Singapore from Tuesday for work pass holders who had earlier obtained approval to come to the Republic.

Work pass holders from higher-risk places who were approved to enter Singapore before July 5 will no longer be allowed to do so, with the exception of those from the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors and migrant domestic workers.

Some of these workers will have their planned arrivals in June rescheduled to subsequent weeks instead, said MOM.

"We will inform employers on when to re-apply for entry when the situation has stabilised and will prioritise them for entry approval then," said MOM.

The agency said it was making these changes during a period of heightened alert, in view of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in several countries and the emergence of new virus variants.

On Tuesday (May 4), the Government had announced tightened border control measures in response to growing community infections in Singapore.

These include an extension of the stay-home notice (SHN) period for travellers from higher-risk countries or regions, from 14 days to 21, starting Saturday.

Only travellers arriving from Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are exempt.

MOM said it was unable to provide the number of affected work pass holders due to the fluid situation.

It added that the Government would closely monitor the local and global situation and periodically review the measures in place.

From Friday, MOM will be reaching out to affected work pass holders and their employers. Dependant's pass holders previously approved to arrive from higher-risk places will also be subject to the same changes from May 11.

MOM said work pass holders who have already been given – or are seeking – approval to enter Singapore from lower-risk places, or under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement, Reciprocal Green Lane and other approved travel lanes, would not be affected.

"We seek the understanding and cooperation of work pass holders and their employers for these changes," said the ministry. "They are necessary to enable workers to enter in a safe and calibrated manner, and mitigate the risk of Covid-19 importation." - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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