With the COVID-19 situation at the dormitories under control, and more migrant workers recovering or being cleared to resume work, the Inter-agency Taskforce (ITF) is now working with dormitory operators and employers on the housing arrangements for these workers. For the time being, some of these workers have been housed in sites like army camps and sports halls, as well as vacant HDB blocks and private apartments slated for redevelopment. These sites are temporary and will need to be returned to their original uses or redeveloped soon.
A joint media release by the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower said the Government will be putting in place a major programme to build additional dormitories with higher standards over the coming months and years.
Short to Medium-Term Arrangements
The statement said that by the end of this year, the government would be able to create additional space to house around 60,000 workers.
This will be achieved through:
- New Quick Build Dormitories (QBDs) that will last for around two to three years. These are temporary structures that can be constructed quite quickly in a modular form with a low density, with each QBD housing about 500-1000 workers per hectare, depending on the site conditions. The QBDs will have around 25,000 capacity in total.
- Temporary fitting out of currently unused state properties, including former schools and vacant factories. These will have around 25,000 capacity in total.
- Additional Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQs) built by contractors to house their workers at the worksite and cut down on transportation needs.
For the longer-term, the government is planning for new purpose-built dormitories (PBDs) to house up to 100,000 workers to replace the short- to medium-term housing. This new building programme will take several years to complete. The aim is to have about 11 such new PBDs ready over the next one to two years. All of these PBDs will have amenities like minimarts, barber services, indoor recreation facilities and will have blocks well spaced out to ensure good ventilation. Workers living in the PBDs will also have ready access to medical care and support.
In addition to expanding capacity to house migrant workers, government agencies are developing a set of specifications for these new dormitories. The specifications will look into the design, facilities, management and regulation of these dormitories, and will factor in social interaction and disease response needs.