EA Learning Journal #3 – Ranjit Saha

An interview with lawyer Ranjit Saha was very helpful in seeing the legal aspects of the migrant workers  Crisis. Although not much was discussed in the interview, it could be safe to conclude that in his opinion, NGOs such as TWC2 and HOME have not played a large role in supporting the migrant workers and the government has done more than possible to provide the workers  with safe and healthy lives. Although the NGOs help in diminishing the social barriers and encourage locals to interact with migrant workers through funds, NGO’s are unable to make a proper change in the migrant workers’ lives through legal means. From what I was able to understand from this interview, the government seems to be playing a larger role than we think they do. Although it seems like it is just now after COVID that they are creating new dormitories with more facilities, it turns out that the government has been trying to support the migrant workers through several means. According to Mr Saha, the main problems that the migrant workers face are, not receiving their salary on time, health insurance, employment disputes and workplace injuries. The lawyer, Mr Saha confirmed that there are several cases of migrant workers who do not receive their salary on time, or are not given the correct amount, refused to be given health insurance or are not taken care of by the employer. However, these cases are handled by the MOM (Ministry of Manpower) and in most of these cases, the employers, labour brokers and facilities are fined and the migrant workers receive compensation. Therefore, the only mistreatment or problems that the workers are facing at the moment under the pandemic is unemployment and health safety. However, for these issues as well, the government has created an alternative position where migrant workers are still paid a basic amount of money (Basic Salary) for basic necessities and are provided shelter and health checkups in Singapore hospitals.

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