Foreign Workforce (Spass and Work Permit Holders) play a pivotal role in Singapore's development, especially in supplementing the manufacturing, marine, process, and construction industries. The latest figures from December 2022 show the foreign workforce has reached an all-time high of 1.4 million comprising an estimated 40% of Singapore’s total labour force (Ministry of Manpower, 2022).
Employers that hire foreign workers have obligations and responsibilities towards this workforce in particular. From 1 July, 2023 the Ministry of Manpower’s changes to mandatory medical insurance for new and existing Work Permits (including Migrant Domestic Workers) and S Pass holders will better protect employers from large medical bills incurred by their foreign employees.
In accordance with the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work passes) Regulation 2012, the employer is responsible for:
The foreign employee may be made to bear part of any medical costs that exceed the minimum mandatory coverage if:
The enhancements will come into effect in two phases. These are outlined below.
For employers whose insurance policies covering foreign workers for Medical Insurance have renewed prior to 1 July 2023, existing coverage can continue, and changes will need to be made upon the next renewal.
For Employers whose insurance policies are renewing after 1 July 2023, coverage should be amended to meet the new requirements from renewal.
It is likely that insurers who already provide Foreign Workers Medical Plans will adjust accordingly, and this product will be available for clients to implement from 1 July 2023.
Employers that provide coverage for employees under their Group Medical Insurance plans are encouraged to start conversations with the insurer or intermediaries on how best to revise these plans accordingly.
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