Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just how badly do we treat alien workers here?

About a month ago I posted about a young friend of mine who recently moved to Singapore from the Philippines,  with the hopes of getting a better job and being able to send some money home to his family there.  He is not an "undocumented worker" or illegal alien.  Ron jumped through all the hoops to get legal status, and was enthusiastic about seems like a good opportunity.  In the USA, any legal worker either a Green Card holder or just someone on a H1-B visa has pretty much similar protection under the law that we American citizens have.  Sadly, Ron is finding out first hand, that in the Republic of Singapore, guest workers have very little or no rights what so ever. 

His employer, though very please with his work, has at times withheld pay, due to "payroll irregularities", demands many hours of unpaid overtime, and even going to the home of the owner to mow the grass.  In a country that fines you heavily for importing chewing gum amongst other things, they offer little to no protection for guest workers.  The contract with the employer is only enforced when it is in the favor of the Singapore citizen.  Withholding of pay is not a crime against guest workers, and the guest worker can not leave the country until the contract is fulfilled on his/her part.

If any undocumented laborer illegal alien, let alone a legal migrant in the US were treated like this, the employer would be hauled off to jail and fined heavily.

I'm posting this as a caution to anyone who wants to work abroad.  Understand the law where you are going before entering into a contract.  In many places, rule of law does not apply to anyone who is not a citizen and in some countries not the right religion.

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