Migrant workers or transient workers are the so called “invisible” people in Singapore. But without them, it is hard to imagine how the countless construction sites would be manned or how support for households with elderly and children to care for would be organised. Despite the importance of migrant workers’ contribution to Singapore society, many are faced with poor working conditions, are victims of trafficking or suffer from other severe infringements on their rights.
An exemplary case is an injury on the job. Chances are the worker needs to fight for compensation, battling recalcitrant employers who delay pay-outs beyond reasonable waiting times or resist altogether – by denying that accidents took place on site, by taking workers to a "company" doctor who downgrades the seriousness of injuries, or by forcibly repatriating them.
The possibilities for migrant workers to voice the problems they are struggling with or seek legislative protection when their rights are infringed on are very limited as their position in society is marginalised.
H.O.M.E.’s activities focus on welfare and empowerment of migrant workers. The charity organisation is based on the idea of an inclusive society which upholds the principles of equality and non-discrimination. H.O.M.E. envisions to ‘build a culture of welcome where no man, woman or child is a stranger; we are family’.
H.O.M.E. takes immediate action to support the migrant workers. They offer several help desks in easily accessible locations and help lines for troubled migrants to call in. When legal procedures are pending, shelter is offered to the victims and many engaged volunteers provide pro bono legal aid and medical assistance. H.O.M.E. cultivates good working connections to the Ministry of Manpower and the police, which are essential to speed up procedures and encourage mediation in conflicts between workers, employers and other relevant parties.
On top, the enhancement of skills has always been an integral part of HOME’s service to the migrant community. Since 2009, more than 5000 students have benefited from their programmes at HOME Academy.
H.O.M.E. completes its support for migrant workers with a lot of research and data collection, to ground their issues on solid information. This is also welcomed by the Singaporean government and the Ministry of Manpower does consult the charity, as their insights are very close to the reality of the migrant workers and contextualise mere statistics. These facts inform suggestions for possible improvements of the legislation for migrant worker’ rights or the enforcement of existing regulation, so the ‘invisible people’ can find recognition.
Thanks to public awareness, H.O.M.E. can be successful with initiating new laws for protection or launch campaigns to implement existing regulation, like the one to encourage a regular day off for domestic workers.
Dedicated to upholding the rights of migrant workers in Singapore, including victims of human trafficking and forced labour.
Society with the Commissioner of Charities
IPC (institution of public character) status since 2005
Member of National Council for Social Service (NCSS)
UN Women, AWARE, SCWO, TWC2, Health Serve, Silver Ribbon, Justice Without Borders, The Singapore Law Society and other NGOs.
In addition, HOME partners with several Universities to support their educational programmes.
Philippines – Spirit of HOME Scalabrini Inc.
Indonesia – Yayasan Dunia Viva Wanita