Knowledge Highlights 28 April 2022

On 27 March 2022, the Ministry of National Development (“MND”) announced that the Singapore Government is extending the support measures for businesses in the construction, marine shipyard and process (“CMP”) sectors in view of the continued manpower shortages and elevated business costs arising from Covid-19. Brief details are set out below.

Extension of FWL rebate for CMP work permit holders

The foreign worker levy (“FWL”) rebate which was introduced in 2020 to help businesses retain their enterprise capabilities amidst challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was due to expire end-March 2022. The FWL rebate for CMP work permit holders (“WPH”) has been extended for another three months, at S$250 per month for April and May 2022, and S$200 for June 2022. The
lower FWL rebate for June 2022 reflects the improving manpower inflow for the CMP sectors, with manpower costs expected to moderate accordingly. The Government will continue to monitor the situation before deciding closer to June 2022 whether an extension of the rebate is necessary.

Extension of COTMA Part 10A for the construction sector

The Government has supported the Built Environment (“BE”) sector with various measures including legislative relief through the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (“COTMA”).

Part 10A of the COTMA allows contractors to seek a determination from an Assessor to adjust the contract sum to address the increase in foreign manpower salary costs due to Covid-19. The relief period for Part 10A was originally extended till 31 March 2022. The relief period has now been further extended for an additional three months till 30 June 2022. This complements the extension of the FWL rebate for the same duration. Further details on the process under COTMA Part 10A can be found at the BCA Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (COTMA) Part 10A application webpage.

Removal of minimum POE requirement for MYE waiver

In August 2021, to help support the inflow and retention of workers, the Government removed the minimum period of employment (“POE”) requirement of three years and two years for Construction and Process WPHs respectively, arriving from Non-Traditional Sources (“NTS”) (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand) and the People’s Republic of China, to qualify for the man-year entitlement (“MYE”) waiver. This measure was due to expire in March 2022.

The minimum POE requirement has now been removed permanently. This aligns with the dismantling of the MYE framework from 1 January 2024. Going forward, all incoming or renewal NTS and PRC WPHs will no longer need to meet the minimum POE requirement to qualify for the MYE-waiver.

Reference materials

The MND press release is available from the MND website www.mnd.gov.sg.

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