Change of employer for foreign construction workers during COVID-19

In view of the current COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions, foreign construction workers whose work permits have expired or been terminated by their previous employer are unable to return to their home countries.

The Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) is working with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to help construction companies hire these workers.

The SCAL Construction Manpower Exchange (SCMX) scheme is a temporary programme lasting six months. It will differ from the usual work permit applications where foreign construction workers have to be repatriated to their home country upon termination of their existing work permits. For successful applications submitted during this six months, the work permits will be issued for up to two years.

The SCMX aims to:

Allow construction companies with immediate and ongoing projects to acquire more manpower to meet any existing manpower shortages.

Allow foreign construction workers with work permit terminated to continue working in Singapore without having to be repatriated during this COVID-19 lockdown period.

Request to Hire

Companies wishing to hire these foreign workers should submit a Request to Hire form. Upon receipt, they will be matched with suitable employees and thereafter online/telephone interviews can be arranged for respective parties. Availability will be on a first-come-first-serve basis and terms of recruitment subject to mutual agreement between the potential employee and the hiring employer.

Upon successful match, the new prospective employer and employee will have to sign a Work Transfer Agreement. The new prospective employer is then required to submit a work permit application to MOM [Work Permit Online] at their own expense within three (3) working days of the signing of the Work Transfer Agreement.

For more information please email to

Releasing your workers

Companies wishing to release your workers should fill in this form to inform MOM that you intend to release your workers to be transferred to another prospective company locally. SCAL will then proceed to contact the worker within one week of your submission and match the worker with other companies who are looking to hire workers. SCAL will then arrange for prospective companies to interview the worker via phone or video conference.

This process is free-of-charge. However, the worker’s validity for transfer is still subject to MOM’s approval. However, please ensure that the worker already has the ‘Green’ AccessCode and is ready to be transferred to the a new employer. The responsibility of the worker will still lie in the current employer until work permit has been issued by the new employer. The current employer and the prospective employer will also have to liaise and arrange in between themselves any necessary items prior to the transfer such as accommodation and exact date of transfer.