What is the change? 
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has expanded its travel restrictions for work pass and In-Principle Approval Letters holders.

What does the change mean? All work pass holders, including their dependents, who have traveled to South Korea, northern Italy, Iran or (as previously announced) mainland China within the last 14 days and intend to enter or return to Singapore, are now required to obtain MOM’s approval before beginning to travel. This requirement applies to work pass holders of all nationalities. The entry approval requirement applies to both work pass holders outside of Singapore, and in-principle approval holders who have not yet entered. All work pass holders affected by the new restrictions will be placed on a mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) when they arrive in Singapore.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing from March 4.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work visas used for inbound travel from South Korea, northern Italy, or Iran within the last 14 days.
  • Who is affected: All workers from the specified locations who meet the time requirement.
  • Business impact: The new restrictions will affect travelers on work passes/visas from Iran, South Korea, and northern Italy.
  • Next steps: The expanded restrictions are in force until further notice. Employers should expect that any of their employees who are in the three affected areas and intend to travel to Singapore will likely face a variety of restrictions.

Additional information: The new restrictions apply to employers as well. Employers applying for entry approval must communicate to MOM that arrangements have been made for suitable premises to house the entering or returning employees for the duration of their SHN. When employers apply for entry approval, they must use this online facility.

Employers should inform employees and their dependents not to make travel plans for Singapore until MOM approval has been received.

MOM approval letters need to be sent to employees by their employers so they can show them to airline staff when they arrive in Singapore. When work pass holders are on the 14-day SHN, employers must make sure they can secure meals and other daily necessities. Employers will make such arrangements for work pass holders on SHN if they are unable to do this for themselves.

Employers and employees who are not in compliance with the new restrictions may face enforcement from MOM, including work pass revocation or work pass privilege withdrawal.

Analysis & Comments: The new MOM work pass and approval holder travel restrictions are Singapore’s latest effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Workers with the affected passes and approvals planning travel to Singapore from the target areas may wish to reconsider their plans. The response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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