New foreigners on a work permit in Singapore will soon have to undergo a mandatory settling-in programme (SIP) to learn about the country’s social norms and laws. This was announced by Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say on Sunday. Mr Lim said the programme would be rolled out in phases from the second half of next year. It will begin with non-Malaysian foreign workers in the construction sector who are working in Singapore for the first time, said Mr Lim.
The programme will be similar to the current mandatory settling-in programme for first-time foreign domestic workers, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a press release. It will “educate newly arrived foreign workers on employment regulations, Singapore laws and social norms, as well as avenues of help”, said MOM. Conducted in the worker’s native language, the new one-day programme will be rolled out in phases to workers in other sectors such as marine, process, manufacturing and services.
It follows a pilot programme conducted by MOM in 2016 with about 1,900 foreign workers. Around 2,000 foreign workers in the construction sector are expected to attend the new programme each month, said MOM. Employers, who will bear the course fees, will be required to register their foreign employees for the programme, the ministry added. Mr Kenneth Loo, executive director of Straits Construction Singapore, said he had found the pilot settling-in programme “beneficial for both foreign workers and employers” after his company sent 26 foreign workers to the pilot programme. “As an employer, a worker who is aware of his responsibilities is more productive and can better communicate with us,” Mr Loo added.