Singapore COVID – 19 Update

Effective 23 March, entry and transit are suspended for all short-term visitors from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will only allow the entry/ return of work pass holders, including their dependents, for those providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport. The Singapore-Malaysia Special Working Committee has agreed that Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore during this period, with appropriate accommodation arrangements. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require all new and existing Singapore long-term pass holders planning to enter or return to Singapore from any country to obtain MOM entry approval before commencing their journey. Employers are to make this MOM Entry Approval request at least three days before their intended travel into Singapore using this online facility. Applications submitted by 12pm will receive the outcome on the same day (after 12pm will receive the outcome the next day). Applications are processed on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. Approval is not guaranteed but it is important that the approval is received before arranging for the pass holder to enter Singapore. If the approval is rejected, a fresh approval request is to be submitted. MOM has announced that all “employers are strongly urged to defer bringing pass holders into Singapore. ” MOM has also revoked employees’ work passes and employers’ work pass privileges for up to three years for breaching these requirements.

Effective 20 March, all travelers, including Singaporean citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore will be issued a mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). They will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN, for example a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place of residence they or their family members own. They may also be swabbed for testing for COVID-19, even if asymptomatic. Simultaneously, all short-term visitors who are nationals of any ASEAN country will have to submit requisite information on their health to the Singapore Overseas Mission in the country they are resident before their intended date of travel. The submission will have to be approved by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) before travel to Singapore, and the approval will be verified by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Singapore checkpoints. Short-term visitors who arrive in Singapore without the necessary approval will be denied entry into Singapore. With immediate effect, Singapore will cease port calls for all cruise vessels.

Singapore citizens and permanent residents and long-term pass holders (including Work Passes and Permits, Student Pass, Dependent Pass, Long-term Visit Pass and in-principle approval (IPA) for a Work Pass) who have visited Hubei in the last 14 days, or are holders of PRC passports issued in Hubei, and who are currently overseas, will be quarantined on arrival. The Ministry of Manpower strongly urges employers to ask these employees to defer coming into Singapore until further notice. Employers must inform Ministry of Manpower by 7 February that they have deferred the return of these employees, and if not, provide the reasons why not. Employers or Employment Agents acting on behalf of the hiring company will not be allowed to proceed with the issuance of work passes for employees during their SHN period. After the SHN, the usual procedures for issuance of work pass i.e. send workers for medical examination, fingerprinting, attend the Settling-In program and safety courses, may then proceed.

Ministry of Manpower will revoke the license of any Employment Agents who encourage or assist a person to breach their SHN. If the SHN is breached, Ministry of Manpower will take action against the employer and the employee. MOM will reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from mainland China until further notice. Renewal applications for existing pass holders will not be affected. Ministry of Manpower will automatically extend Short-Term Visit Passes by 14 days and, on request, extend the work pass issuance deadline.

Employers are advised to regularly check Ministry of Manpower website and MOH’s website. Holders of PRC passports issued in Hubei, and all new visitors, of any nationality, with recent travel history (within the last 14 days) to mainland China, Iran, northern Italy or South Korea will not be allowed to enter or transit Singapore. The issuance of all forms of new visas to those with Chinese or Iranian passports has been suspended. Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas for those with Iranian passports will also be suspended and during this period of suspension, they will not be allowed entry into Singapore.

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