All migrant worker dorms in Singapore to fall under a single regulatory and enforcement framework from 1 Apr 2023

All migrant worker dorms in Singapore to fall under a single regulatory and enforcement framework from 1 Apr 2023

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The Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) will be expanded to include dormitories with seven or more beds. Currently, only dormitories with 1,000 or more beds are licensed under FEDA. 

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced that it will expand the coverage of the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) from 1 April 2023 to include migrant worker (MW) dormitories with seven or more beds. 

Currently, only dormitories with 1,000 or more beds are licensed under FEDA. The expansion of FEDA will bring MW dormitories under a single regulatory and enforcement framework, giving MOM regulatory levers to raise their operating standards as well as impose requirements to manage disease outbreaks, the Ministry said on Tuesday (6 September 2022).

With this change, 1,600 dormitories (a total of 439,000 beds) will be licensed under FEDA, compared to 53 dormitories (a total of 256,000 beds) now.

In full, the following requirements will take effect under the expanded FEDA:

Currently, all MW dormitories are subjected to various requirements across different legislation, covering areas such as fire safety, living conditions, sanitary, and public health requirements. Only dormitories with 1,000 beds or more are licensed under FEDA and are subject to additional requirements for public health and safety, and the provision of recreation and commercial facilities for their residents.

With the expanded FEDA, the requirements for MW dormitories will be consolidated under a single regulatory framework. Dormitories will fall under four licence classes depending on their size, and a set of essential living requirements (e.g. minimum space per resident, maximum room occupancy, cleanliness, and ventilation) will be applied to all dormitories.

Additionally larger dormitories will be subject to more stringent requirements on dormitory management, resident welfare, and safety & health.

MOM has further highlighted that dormitories with seven to 999 beds will be subject to new requirements in the areas such as reporting requirements, traffic management, and contingency plans for public health outbreaks.

Timeline of implementation 

Existing dormitories with 1,000 beds or more:

  • These dormitories can continue to operate normally as they are already licenced under FEDA.

New dormitories with 1,000 beds or more, which intend to begin operations on or after 1 April 2023:

  • These dormitories must apply for a full FEDA licence, which will be valid for three years.

Existing dormitories with seven to 999 beds, as well as new dormitories with seven to 999 beds that intend to begin operations before 1 April 2023:

  • Both categories of dormitories must apply for a provisional FEDA licence from January 2023. The provisional FEDA licence, which is valid for up to two years, will be issued through a simplified application process catered to onboard existing operators.
  • MOM will organise briefings for the dormitory operators, conduct checks, and support dormitory operators to meet the FEDA requirements.

The full scope of implementation is summarised in the below infographic:

foreign employee dormitories act

Commenting on the move, Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Manpower, said: "Bringing all dormitories with seven beds or more under the expanded FEDA will strengthen our regulatory levers to raise living standards and implement pandemic management plans for migrant workers’ health and wellbeing.

"This is a significant step forward in our multi-year roadmap to transform our workers’ living environments for greater resilience and liveability."

Further, SMS Koh invited more organisations to partner MOM in uplifting the wellbeing of the migrant worker community.

Johnathan Cheah, President, Dormitory Association Singapore Limited (DASL), added that the expansion of FEDA is an important milestone for the industry.

"Consistent standards across the dormitories will provide good living environments for our migrant workers, in areas such as space, amenities, and hygiene standards. While the industry may need some time to adjust to the expanded licensing framework, DASL will fully support all dormitory professionals through active engagements and training programmes."

He added DASL is currently working closely with MOM to curate a training programme on compliance requirements and dormitory management best practices. 

Lead image / Shutterstock 
Infographic / SMS Koh Poh Koon

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region! 

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