What is the change? All work pass holders with recent travel history in mainland China must obtain permission from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before traveling/returning to Singapore.

What does the change mean? All existing work pass holders, as well as In Principle Approval (IPA) holders, who have spent any time in mainland China within the last 14 days must now obtain permission from MOM before traveling to Singapore. Employers seeking entry approval for affected foreign employees must declare to MOM that they will provide suitable housing for the returning employees for the duration of their mandatory leave of absence (LOA). Employers must provide an approval letter from MOM to returning employees to show to the airlines before they embark and on arrival.

  • Implementation time frame: Feb. 7.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work pass and related passes, including dependent passes and long-term visit pass.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals with recent mainland China travel history, and their employers.
  • Business impact: Companies employing foreign nationals with recent mainland China travel history must obtain permission from MOM and provide housing for the duration of their employees’ LOA, potentially resulting in delays and additional costs.
  • Next steps: Employers are advised to request entry permission for affected employees and/or their related passes at least three days before their planned date of travel. Employers must additionally obtain written acknowledgement from employees permitted to return that they will be in mandatory LOA for 14 days following their arrival in Singapore.

Analysis & Comments: The new requirements are among the latest measures MOM has taken in response to the coronavirus. MOM has additionally instructed employers to defer return travel for employees who have recent travel history in Hubei Province or who hold a passport issued in the province. Employers are reminded that penalties for breaching coronavirus-related policies are strict and include revocation of work passes, deportation, and loss of employer work pass privileges. Deloitte will alert clients to additional changes or restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak as information becomes available.

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