COVID-19: Construction industry stakeholders call on government to bring in foreign workers in ‘controlled’ manner

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SINGAPORE: Stakeholders in the construction industry in Singapore on Monday, May 17, called on the multi-ministerial COVID-19 task force to allow foreign workers to enter Singapore “in a safe and controlled manner.”

The Joint Construction Industry Committee (CIJC) said the current workforce situation could lead to further delays in construction projects and result in the loss of jobs in the industry, and has asked the government “to take a balanced approach and work with industry to enable the recruitment and influx of foreign labor.”

“With Phase 2 (heightened alert) released on May 14, the built environment industry understands and supports government efforts to curb the resurgence of COVID-19 cases amid the emergence of new virus variants. in Singapore, ”the CIJC said in a press release. .

“However, we are very concerned about the plight of the construction workforce.”

Singapore has suspended entry for long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have recently traveled to India since April 24. This includes those passing through India.

Those who have recently traveled to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also been banned from entering or transit in Singapore since May 2.

The CIJC said the labor shortage is causing workplace safety issues.

“The complexity and nature of construction work requires the deployment of workers from various trades, and the currently reduced workforce is already working at maximum capacity, increasing the risk of workplace incidents,” did he declare.

“We suffer from reduced productivity due to secure management measures in the workplace and many of our migrant workers plan to return home when their work permits expire.”

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The CIJC said existing delays in the construction of Housing and Development Commission apartments and private houses could be exacerbated by border closures, while public infrastructure projects and maintenance works could be exacerbated. also be affected.

Jobs in the industry could also be lost as a result, the committee said.

“The built environment sector comprises over 18,000 businesses and employ tens of thousands of Singaporeans. These jobs are at stake, if there are other impacts on the sector, ”said the CIJC.

“The reality is that the industry needs a sufficient influx of migrant workers, whether returning or new, to take the place of those who have left Singapore for various reasons, in order to support the industry and to guarantee that we can carry out our projects. “

The CIJC offered to work with the government to find a solution.

“We stand ready to work with relevant agencies and stakeholders to put in place a viable end-to-end system to attract migrant workers in a safe and controlled manner to enable work to continue, while ensuring the safety of Singaporeans. “, did he declare.

The industry also hopes that the government will consider additional relief measures for the built environment sector, the CIJC added.

The main stakeholders of the CIJC are the Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore, the Institution of Engineers Singapore, the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore, the Singapore Contractors Association Limited, the Singapore Green Building Council, the Singapore Institute of Architects, the Singapore Institute of Building Limited, the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers and the Society of Project Managers Singapore.

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