Nine in 10 foreign workers in Singapore are satisfied with their working and living conditions here, citing good pay, a sense of security and environment, according to a survey.
But there is still room to improve the working and living conditions for foreign workers, said the survey commissioned by the non-government organisation (NGO), Migrant Workers Centre and the Manpower Ministry.
"We definitely hear of negative incidents (involving foreign workers) and some of these individual stories can be quite emotive," Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-jin said at yesterday's celebration of International Migrants Day.
"A survey like that allows us to take a step back and look at the big picture," The Straits Times quoted the Minister as saying.
Nine in 10 foreign workers said they would recommend Singapore as a good place to work for its good pay, working and living conditions as well as a sense of security.
The survey covered some 3,500 work permit holders and 500 Special Pass holders, mostly working in Singapore's labour- intensive construction and marine/shipyard industries.
"We take the issue of worker housing seriously and one of our key efforts is to provide an adequate supply of housing for our workers," Tan said.
Singapore's government initiated programmes include large purpose-built dormitories and making foreign workers aware of their rights and certain employment laws.
The survey found that migrant workers were less likely to be aware that they could claim compensation if they suffered permanent disabilities due to work accidents.
Migrant workers were also less likely to receive a physical record of salary payments, the survey found. This would make pay disputes difficult to resolve, added John Gee, head of research at migrant workers aid group, Transient Workers Count Too.
Tan said from 2016, it would be mandatory for employers to provide itemised payslips with information on basic salaries and deductions made.
Some workers had also received their in-principle letters of approval (IPA) in their native language which states their occupation and basic monthly salary and help them to decide on taking up the job in Singapore.
"Data about actual living and working conditions would be more insightful, rather than asking about satisfaction levels, which is a vague and highly subjective concept," said Jolovan Wham, executive director at the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics.
Singapore has implemented initiatives and measures to ensure improved foreign workers conditions after last December 8 riot involving some 400 migrant workers from South Asia. The riot was sparked by a fatal accident involving an Indian national.