Singapore

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2019

2,155,653

International migrants

2019

5,900,000

Population

2020

Overview

The small city-state of Singapore has a population of approximately 6 million. However, its Immigration Act was updated in 2018 to include 47 "immigration depots for the examination, inspection or detention of persons under the Act,” which would represent one of the largest migration-related detention systems in the world. Like neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore’s laws provide the draconian punishment of “caning” for certain immigration violations. In 2020, the country came under intense scrutiny for the harsh quarantine measures faced by migrant workers in over crowded dormitories, which became hotspots for Covid-19 infections.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

17 May 2020

A Migrant Dormitory Seen from Far, (Roslan Rahman, AFP, Getty Images,
A Migrant Dormitory Seen from Far, (Roslan Rahman, AFP, Getty Images, "Singapore's Migrant Workers are Suffering the Brunt of the Country's Coronavirus Outbreak," CNN, 25 April 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/24/asia/singapore-coronavirus-foreign-workers-intl-hnk/index.html)

There are more than 26,000 recorded cases of Covid-19 cases in Singapore. The vast majority are migrant workers who live in crowded dormitories. As was reported previously on this platform (see 22 April update on Singapore), there are 43 migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, which house around more than 200,000 male workers holding a work permit (with no permanent residency). In total there are an estimated 1.4 million migrant workers in the country. Each dorm houses about 10 to 20 residents, who share toilet and shower facilities, eat in common areas and sleep just feet away from each other. In this context, it is impossible to conduct social distancing.

On 14 April 2020, the government placed all migrant worker quarters in quarantine and moved those who tested positive or showed symptoms out of the dorms for treatment. Around 7,000 workers were also moved into alternative accommodation such as military camps, floating hotels and vacant government apartments.


22 April 2020

A Dormitory for Migrant Workers in Singapore in 2015, (Kirsten Han, The Interpreter,
A Dormitory for Migrant Workers in Singapore in 2015, (Kirsten Han, The Interpreter, "Covid forces Singapore to Confront Conditions for its Migrant Workers," https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/covid-forces-singapore-confront-conditions-its-migrant-workers)

As of April 21, there were 9,125 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore. Although Singapore has often been praised for its efforts to contain the virus, the positive effects of such containment have not reached all sectors of society equally. For instance, more than 50 percent of people who had contracted COVID-19 reportedly are work permit holders. The organization Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) has highlighted the disproportionate nature of this statistic, given that work permit holders make up only 1 million out of nearly 6 million people in the country, and usually tend to be younger, healthier, adults.

Jolovan Wham from the NGO Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) told the Global Detention Project (GDP) that there do not appear to have been changes to immigration detention policy, nor has the government announced any such changes. In Singapore, people liable or subject to removal due to immigration-related offences can be detained in any prison, police station, or immigration depot, or any other place appointed for the purpose by the Controller of Immigration.

There had not been any cases of COVID-19 in prisons as of 10 April 2020. The government has taken measures to prevent the spread of the virus. According to a report by Channel News Asia, all inmates undergo two daily temperature checks, and measures have been put in place to ensure safe distancing. Inmates feeling unwell are given masks and immediately separated and monitored; if they develop symptoms set out by the Ministry of Health's case definition of COVID-19, they will be tested for the virus. All newly admitted inmates are housed separately from the general population and monitored for 14 days.

Singapore has not signed the Refugee Convention and has not passed any domestic legislation for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers. Its economy relies heavily on migrant domestic work and labourers. John Gee from TWC2 told GDP: “Those who are judged to be present illegally will normally be overstayers - people who came on a tourist visa or work permit and remained in Singapore after the visa or work permit expired. They may be imprisoned; male overstayers aged under 50 may be caned, and sent back to their countries of origin. Work permit holders are not eligible for Singapore citizenship, no matter how long they reside in the country, and maximum terms of employment are laid down for them. None of these policies have changed during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In terms of changes to immigration policy, all travellers entering Singapore (including Singapore citizens, permanent residents, or long-term pass holders) are required to be quarantined in government-designated facilities. The cost for staying in these facilities will be overed by the government, apart from those of people who left Singapore on or after 27 March 2020, on the basis that these travellers disregarded prevailing travel advice not to leave the country.

On deportations, Debbie Fordyce from TWC2 told GDP: "In general, immigration offenders are expected to remain in Singapore (after serving time if the overstay period warrants a prison term) for the duration of the investigation into the hiring or harbouring of an immigration offender. The person would be required to purchase his own ticket home at the conclusion of that investigation. With the suspension of flights, we assume that immigration offenders would remain in Singapore until flights to his country of origin resume.”

There are 43 migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, which house around 280,000 male workers holding a work permit (with no permanent residency). Employer companies, such as construction companies, pay for workers to be lodged and fed in these dormitories, which are operated by private companies. The majority of work permit holders with COVID-19 have contracted the virus in these dormitories, which have long been criticised for substandard, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions. Indeed, civil society organizations and migrant workers had previously warned that these dormitories presented perfect conditions for widespread transmission of infection. In one recent report by AFP, one migrant worker interviewed said: "One small room with 12 people living together... how can we make social distance?" In a press release on 18 April 2020, the Singaporean Ministry of Health announced that there were 0 imported cases, 22 cases in the community, 27 cases of work permit holders residing outside dormitories, in comparison to 893 cases of work permit holders residing in dormitories.

The Singaporean government has attempted to roll out measures to contain the virus outbreak in dormitories. In a press release on 5 April 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a press release indicating that S11 Dormitory and Westlite Toh Guan dormitory, which together house 19,000 workers, would be gazetted as isolation areas and thereby locked down. It further stated: “Access to recreational facilities will be regulated to reduce the inter-mixing of workers. Movement between blocks is prohibited. Workers have also been advised to cease social interactions with others who do not reside in the same room or floor.” Human rights groups have highlighted that such restrictions may endanger workers who remain uninfected.

On 16 April 2020, the Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced a three-prong government strategy on Facebook, including locking down all dormitories, separating infected clusters from non-infected clusters and enforcing social distancing within dormitories, and moving out around 7000 workers in essential services who are still required by their employers to work. In terms of concrete measures, the Minister stated that officers of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Ministry of Manpower, comprising FAST teams, would implement safe distancing measures. Additionally, the government will enhance medical support within dormitories, including providing care to people who are unwell and swabbing those who have symptoms. Finally, it said that FAST teams would eventually ensure that workers are able to remit money home. The government has also announced that all workers in dormitories will be tested for COVID-19.

However, civil society organizations argue that the government’s measures are too little, too late, and will ultimately fail to protect migrant workers while simultaneously severely curtailing their rights. Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) has criticised the government’s virus containment (what it calls “circuit-breaker”) measures for affording leniency to citizens, who are able to leave home for exercise and essential errands, while severely restricting the rights of workers living in dormitories, which will all be locked down regardless if they are a virus cluster. Such workers have already reported deteriorating physical and mental health resulting from prolonged isolation (up to 22 hours a day) in rooms with up to 12 people. It has also criticised the government for only releasing 7000 workers, which comprise less than 1% of the total migrant workforce, out of dormitories or for providing them with separate housing.

HOME has called on the government to reduce the density of dormitories, and to ensure that the maximum capacity of dormitory rooms is reduced from 12 to 4 workers. TWC2 has also called for conditions in migrant worker accomodation to be improved, “not only to prevent the rapid spread of any future infection among the workers, but as a matter of basic respect for their humanity.” It has also called for an end to the transportation of workers to and from workplaces in the backs of trucks, in favour of vans with safety belts; broadened access to care without fear of employer retribution; and salary raises.


Last updated: October 2020

OVERVIEW

The small city-state of Singapore has a population of approximately 6 million. However, its Immigration Act was updated in 2018 to include 47 "immigration depots for the examination, inspection or detention of persons under the Act,” which would represent one of the largest migration-related detention systems in the world. Like neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore’s laws provide the draconian punishment of “caning” for certain immigration violations. In 2020, the country came under intense scrutiny for the harsh quarantine measures faced by migrant workers in over crowded dormitories, which became hotspots for Covid-19 infections.

SUBMISSION TO THE UN UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
For the 38th Session of the UPR Working Group, April/May 2021

 Submitted on 15 October 2020


Issues Related to Immigration Detention and the Rights of Migrant Workers in Singapore
 

1. CONTEXT

1.1.1 Singapore is an important destination for migrant workers, and the country has long been highly dependent upon large numbers of low wage workers. As of June 2020, there were approximately 1.35 million foreign work pass holders in Singapore, of which 351,800 were low-wage workers in the construction, marine shipyard, process and services sectors, and 252,600 were foreign domestic workers.[1]

1.1.2 Singapore features particularly restrictive immigration policies. S8 of the Immigration Act (Cap.133) sets out an extensive category of “prohibited immigrants” whose entry into Singapore may be prohibited or limited. Immigration-related offences carry heavy punishments and/or large fines. For example, any person who enters Singapore without a proper permit may be punished with a maximum six-month jail term and caning (a draconian punishment also used in nearby Malaysia).[2] 

1.1.3 Despite its reliance on foreign labour, Singapore continues to restrict migrant workers’ rights. For example, female migrant workers are prohibited from becoming pregnant according to the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012 unless certain exceptions apply.[3] The Immigration Controller is also entitled to ask employers to arrange for migrant workers to be tested for any potential pregnancy or infectious disease.[4] There remains rampant wage discrimination between migrant workers and local workers, and also between migrant workers of different nationalities.[5]

1.1.4 Low-wage migrant workers working in the construction, marine shipyard, process and services sectors, called Work Permit holders, face precarious living and employment conditions. Civil society organisations have long highlighted challenges faced by migrant workers, including lack of job mobility, non-payment of salary, exploitative recruitment agencies charging high fees for arranging employment contracts, lack of access to medical care and food, unreasonable salary deductions, as well as arbitrary termination.[6]

1.1.5 Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations, employers are responsible for repatriating a migrant worker, and they must do so when the work permit or visit pass of the employee expires, has been cancelled, or is revoked (provided the employee has not been employed by another employer).

1.1.6 Some low-wage migrant workers with unresolved salary claims or untreated workplace injuries have faced forcible or premature repatriation before they have been able to successfully bring a claim against their employer.[7] Although regulations exit that make it an offence to forcibly repatriate a worker who has a pending case, the enforcement of these regulations is weak.[8] Civil society organisations such as Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) have previously reported cases where employers have attempted to forcibly repatriate workers by terminating and then “detaining” them in designated accommodation, before forcing them to depart the country.[9] Employers may also hire “repatriation companies” to conduct such forcible repatriations on their behalf.[10] Due to fear of being forcibly repatriated, migrant workers facing injuries or other workplace problems are often deterred from reporting issues to their employers or to the Ministry of Manpower.[11]

1.1.7 During the COVID-19 crisis, residents of migrant worker dormitories have suffered disproportionately. 323,000 low-wage migrant workers live in Singapore’s 43 purpose-built dormitories, which have long been criticised for substandard, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions, and in which social distancing has been impossible. Each dorm houses approximately 10 to 20 residents, who share toilet and shower facilities, eat in common areas, and sleep just feet away from each other. As of 31 August 2020, 17 percent of dormitory residents across Singapore had contracted COVID-19.[12]

1.1.8 After a spike in cases within migrant worker dormitories in April, the Singaporean government implemented measures to control the virus, including locking down all dormitories, separating infected clusters from non-infected clusters, enforcing social distancing within dormitories, and carrying out COVID-19 testing in dormitories. In April 2020, it also released 7,000 migrant workers from dormitories into separate housing facilities to stem the spread of the virus.

1.1.9 However, civil society organisations have criticised government measures for being too little, too late. Many groups had previously warned that migrant dormitories would be prone to large outbreaks. Subsequent measures were argued to not only fail to protect migrant workers, but also to curtail their rights and civil liberties.[13] Instituting a lockdown of all dormitories without arranging for alternative accommodation for workers meant that those who were not infected were at high risk of contracting the disease. The NGO Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) reported that migrant workers living in locked down dormitories have experienced deteriorating physical and mental health conditions resulting from prolonged isolation (up to 22 hours a day) in rooms with up to 20 people.[14] As of September 2020, many workers remained unable to have rest days or to leave their dormitories apart from in order to go to work, in spite of the gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions across the country since early June.[15]

1.1.10 Some migrant workers reside in unlicensed accommodation provided by their employers. Civil society organisations have warned that conditions in such facilities may be even less equipped to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks than government-regulated dormitories.[16]

 

1.2. IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITIES IN SINGAPORE

1.2.1 The key provisions regulating administrative immigration-related detention in Singapore are provided in the Immigration Act (Cap.133). S.27(1) provides that where an immigration officer is in doubt as to whether a person has the right to enter Singapore, the officer may direct that person to an immigration depot for further examination. The person must immediately enter the immigration depot and remain there until they are permitted to leave by the officer. The maximum duration of detention is seven days, though the Immigration Controller has the discretion to release any person from an immigration depot on such terms and conditions as they see fit (s. 27(2)). S.31(1) provides that the Immigration Controller may detain any person arriving in Singapore if they are found to be a prohibited immigrant at an “immigration depot” or other place designated by the Controller. S.34 provides that any person who has been ordered to be removed from Singapore under the provisions of the Immigration Act may be detained in custody for such period as may be necessary for the purpose of making arrangements for his removal. Any person detained under this provision who appeals against the order of removal may be released pending the determination of his appeal, on such conditions as the Controller may think fit.[17] Finally, S.35 provides that any person reasonably believed to be a person liable to removal from Singapore under the Immigration Act may be arrested without warrant by any immigration officer and may be detained in any prison, police station, or immigration depot for a period not exceeding 14 days pending a decision as to whether an order for his removal should be made. Apart from provisions for immigration detention, the Immigration Act also provides certain immigration-related criminal offences.

1.2.2 A list of 45 sites used as “immigration depots” for the purposes stated in the Immigration Act are provided in Immigration (Immigration Depots) (No. 2) Notification 2018. This list includes prisons.[18]

1.2.3 There is limited information available on conditions within immigration detention facilities. One ex-detainee, who was convicted for overstaying, told the GDP that he had been held in a room with 14 other people in an immigration detention facility. While being detained, he was provided with meals three times a day as well as recreational activities such as board games. He reported that the facilities were clean and generally satisfactory. Another ex-detainee, who was sentenced to nine days in prison for overstaying, said that he was held in a jail cell with four other people. He was also provided with three meals a day. He said that the facilities were clean, although he and other detainees were sometimes required to clean their own rooms. He was occasionally allowed to use the telephone and to engage in recreational activities outdoors.[19]

1.2.4 Singapore declined the request of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit places of deprivation of liberty in 2018.[20] It stated that “the Government did not currently plan to invite the Working Group and would approach it if the situation should change.”[21]

 

2.  RECOMMENDATIONS DURING THE 2ND CYCLE OF UPR

2.1  During the 2nd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Singapore (23rd session, November 2015), Singapore agreed to examine several recommendations relevant to its immigration policies and detention practices.[22] These included the following:

  • Ratify ICCPR and ICESCR and other core international human rights treaties, such as CAT, CRPD, and ICERD, and their optional protocols; and withdraw its reservations on key principles of CRC and CEDAW (Czech Republic) (para. 96.10)
  • Take measures in the legislative sphere and policy measure to strengthen mechanisms for combating trafficking (Honduras) (para. 166.188)
  • Enact a national migrant legislation to protect the rights of migrant workers and ensure that migrant workers who wish to pursue claim against employers are not forced to repatriate without access to justice (Afghanistan) (166.79)
  • Protect the legitimate rights of foreign workers in Singapore and help them get the necessary vocational training (China) (166.135)
  • Deepen the legal initiatives and their enforcement aimed at ensuring a legal and de facto situation that guarantees the human rights of migrants (Peru) (166.130)
  • Strengthen measures to protect the human rights of non-citizens and migrant workers to prevent their exploitation and discrimination (Mexico) (166.137)
  • Take the necessary steps to prohibit employers from withholding their foreign workers’ passports, travel documents, and work permits as well as to improve access to comprehensive and affordable health services (Thailand) (166.133)
  • Enact a law that protects migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (Congo) (166.93)
  • Review laws and regulations that call for immediate and automatic deportation of migrant workers on health grounds (Uganda) (166.139)
  • Repeal the law that deports foreign workers suffering from sexually transmitted diseases (Congo) (166.95)
  • Continue efforts at protecting migrant workers and members of their families from exploitation (Myanmar) (166.138)

2.2  Singapore ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 2017.[23] It has not ratified other international treaties as recommended by Member States during the last review cycle, including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. In June 2020, Singapore was one of six governments not to vote in favour of the International Labour Organization's Convention on Violence and Harassment.[24]

2.3  Migrant domestic workers continue to be excluded from the protections of the Employment Act. There remain concerns whether the existing provisions under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act adequately protect migrant domestic workers’ rights, such as their right to rest days.[25] In recent years, there have been multiple high-profile cases of domestic workers being mistreated and abused by their employers.[26] In 2019, the government introduced a new work permit condition prohibiting employers of foreign domestic workers from retaining any wages or money belonging to the domestic worker.[27]

2.4  Since the enactment of the 2015 Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, Singapore has investigated increasing numbers of cases of human trafficking and has initiated prosecutions of multiple traffickers. The Act also provides additional protections such as guaranteed food, shelter, psycho-social services, and other basic assistance to victims. In 2020, Singapore ranked in Tier 1 on the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report. However, NGOs continue to voice concerns that police do not screen adequately for trafficking indicators, meaning that the police may prosecute or punish trafficking victims for immigration-related violations or other criminal offences..[28] 

 

3.  RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES AND CURRENT CONCERNS

3.1 Since Singapore’s second review, several human rights monitoring bodies and civil society organisations have continued to identify a number of on-going concerns in Singapore’s treatment of non-nationals. 

3.2 In 2017, CEDAW recommended that Singapore ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention, and establish national asylum and refugee legislation and procedures. It also recommended that Singapore publish up-to-date statistics on the number of stateless persons in the country, and ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.[29]

3.3 In 2019, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Singapore consider ratifying international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.[30]

 

4.  SUGGESTED RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Ensure that immigration detention is only used as a measure of last resort, when it is necessary and proportionate.
  • Provide up-to-date information on where non-nationals are detained, including detention for deportation.
  • Disclose disaggregated data on the numbers of migrants who are detained and deported.
  • Release detainees whose detention is unlawful or unnecessary, including anyone whose deportation is not possible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Promptly adopt measures to ensure the protection of immigration detainees during the pandemic, and ensure detained populations have access to testing and treatment.
  • Evaluate detention depots to ensure that COVID-19 related safeguards are possible and if they are not, progressively work to release people from these facilities to improve hygiene in them while providing necessary assistance to people who are released.
  • Ensure that victims of trafficking are protected against detention and deportation by implementing systematic, proactive screening and identification procedures, and providing appropriate shelters for victims.
  • Ensure that migrant domestic workers are included within labour law protections and that employees are held accountable for abuses.

 


[1] Ministry of Manpower (Singapore), “Foreign workforce numbers,” June 2020, https://www.mom.gov.sg/documents-and-publications/foreign-workforce-numbers

[2] s.6, Immigration Act (Cap.133)

[3] s.7, Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, Fourth Schedule: Conditions and Regulatory Conditions of Work Permit

[4] s.6, Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, Fourth Schedule: Conditions and Regulatory Conditions of Work Permit

[5] Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (H.O.M.E.), “Wage theft and exploitation among migrant workers in Singapore,” January 2017, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a12725612abd96b9c737354/t/5a1fce6f652dead776d3c970/1512033911372/Position_Paper_Wage-Theft-Exploitation-among-Singapores-Migrant-Workers.pdf

[6] Transient Workers Count Too, “Submission of TWC2 to the Universal Periodic Review - Singapore,” 16 June 2015, http://twc2.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/UPR_submission_2015.pdf

[7] s.21, Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations

[8] Transient Workers Count Too, “Forced Repatriation Can Lead to Death, Needs to be Addressed,” 16 May 2016, http://twc2.org.sg/2016/05/16/forced-repatriation-can-lead-to-death-needs-to-be-addressed/

[9] Transient Workers Count Too, “Held in Windowless Room, Shahjahan Faced Forced Repatriation. TWC2 Rescues Him,” 18 December 2016, http://twc2.org.sg/2016/12/18/held-in-windowless-room-shahjahan-faced-forced-repatriation-twc2-rescues-him/

[10] AP, “Behind Singapore’s ‘Repatriation Companies,’” The Hindu, 18 May 2016, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/behind-singapores-repatriation-companies/article5696411.ece

[11] Transient Workers Count Too, “Exploitative Law Firms: Systemic Solutions Needed from MOM,” 2 April 2018, http://twc2.org.sg/2018/04/02/exploitative-law-firms-systemic-solutions-needed-from-mom/

[12] Transient Workers Count Too, “Covid-19 in the Dorms: Summary for August 2020,” 3 September 2020, https://twc2.org.sg/2020/09/03/covid-19-in-the-dorms-summary-for-august-2020/

[13] K. Han, “Singapore Is Trying to Forget Migrant Workers Are People,” Foreign Policy, 6 May 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/06/singapore-coronavirus-pandemic-migrant-workers/

[14] Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, “Policy Brief: Protecting Migrant Workers’ Rights in the Midst of Covid-19,” 15 April 2020, https://www.home.org.sg/statements/2020/4/15/policy-brief-protecting-migrant-workers-rights-in-the-midst-of-covid-19

[15] Transient Workers Count Too, “Research Finding: Only a Handful of Workers Have Had Rest Days Out From Dorms,” 17 September 2020, https://twc2.org.sg/2020/09/17/research-finding-only-a-handful-of-workers-have-had-rest-days-out-from-dorms/

[16] Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, “Policy Brief: Protecting Migrant Workers’ Rights in the Midst of Covid-19,” 15 April 2020, https://www.home.org.sg/statements/2020/4/15/policy-brief-protecting-migrant-workers-rights-in-the-midst-of-covid-19

[17] Immigration Act (Cap.133), https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/IA1959

[18] Immigration (Immigration Depots) (No. 2) Notification 2018, https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL/IA1959-S430-2018?DocDate=20200228

[19] The GDP is grateful to Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) for putting us in contact with these two individuals.

[20] UN Human Rights Council, “Country Visits of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council Since 1998,” 2020, https://spinternet.ohchr.org/ViewCountryVisits.aspx?visitType=all&country=SGP&Lang=en

[21] UN Human Rights Council, “Annual Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: 2019,” 16 July 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/A_HRC_42_39.pdf

[22] UN Human Rights Council, “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Singapore,” 15 April 2016, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/078/42/PDF/G1607842.pdf?OpenElement 

[23] CNA, “Singapore Ratifies International Convention against Racial Discrimination,” 30 November 2017, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-ratifies-international-convention-against-racial-9454008

[24] S. Hingorani, “Disappointing that Singapore Abstained from Global Pact on Violence at Work,” TODAY, 17 September 2019, https://www.todayonline.com/voices/disappointing-singapore-abstained-global-pact-violence-work

[25] Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, “Labour Day Statement - Protecting Migrant Workers in Singapore During Covid-19 and Beyond,” 1 May 2020, https://www.home.org.sg/statements/2020/4/30/labour-day-statement-protecting-migrant-workers-in-singapore-during-covid-19-and-beyond

[26] L.Y. Beh, “Singapore Urged to Fix Rules on Hiring Domestic Workers to Stop Forced Labour,” Thomson Reuters Foundation News, 15 January 2019, https://news.trust.org/item/20190115094322-1udxs/

[27] T.M. Tan, “Employers Will Not be Allowed to Safekeep Foreign Domestic Workers' Salaries From Next Year,” The Straits Times, 7 October 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/employers-will-not-be-allowed-to-safekeep-foreign-domestic-workers-salaries-from-next-year

[28] U.S. Department of State, “2020 Trafficking in Persons Report: Singapore,” 2020, https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-trafficking-in-persons-report/singapore/

[29] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, “Concluding Observations on the Fifth Periodic Report of Singapore,” 2017, https://uhri.ohchr.org/document/index/E275D983-72CE-41B6-8FE6-EE563C9F06CC

[30] UN Committee on the Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding Observations on the Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Singapore,” 2019, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/194/42/PDF/G1919442.pdf?OpenElement

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2019
Criminal prison population
12,722
2016
13,346
2013
12,852
2010
11,613
2007
16,835
2004
14,704
2001
10,829
1998
8,500
1995
5,413
1992
Percentage of foreign prisoners
9.9
2016
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
222
2016
242
2013
249
2010
248
2007
392
2004
369
2001
288
1998
297
1995
167
1992
Population
5,900,000
2020
5,604,000
2015
International migrants
2,155,653
2019
2,543,600
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
45.4
2015
Refugees
0
2016
0
2015
3
2014
Total number of new asylum applications
0
2016
2
2014
Refugee recognition rate
100
2014
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2015
Top nationalities of detainees
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Number of detained asylum seekers
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Number of detained accompanied minors
Number of detained stateless persons
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
Number of immigration offices
Number of transit facilities
Number of criminal facilities
Number of ad hoc facilities
Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
Number of deportations/forced returns only
Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
Estimated number of undocumented migrants
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
56,284
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
11 (Very high)
2015
Remittances to the country
Remittances from the country
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
Detention for deterrence
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
Immigration Index Score
World Bank Rule of Law Index
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
2017
Muslim law
2017
Constitutional guarantees?
Core pieces of national legislation
Additional legislation
Regulations, standards, guidelines
Immigration-status-related grounds
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
Longest recorded instance of immigration detention.
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
Average length of detention
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry
Provision of basic procedural standards
Types of non-custodial measures
Impact of alternatives
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban

INTERNATIONAL LAW

International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CRC Article 19 1995
1995
1995
CRC Article 37 1995
1995
1995
CRC Article 28 1995
1995
1995
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
0/3
2017
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ASEAN CATPWC Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children 2016
2016
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
Yes 2011
2017
No 2016
2017
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Individual complaints procedure
Treaty bodies decisions on individual complaints
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Regional treaty reservations
Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms
Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission
Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Custodial authority
()
Detention Facility Management
Ministry of Interior/Singapore Prison Service (Governmental)
2005
Ministry of Interior/Singapore Prison Service (Governmental)
1999
Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Apprehending authorities
Formally designated detention estate?
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Authorized monitoring institutions
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent?
Does NHRI carry out visits?
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Does national preventive mechanism (NPM) carry out visits?
Does NPM have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Do NGOs carry out visits?
NGO capacity to receive complaints?
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Do parliamentary organs carry out visits?
Do parliamentary organs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do parliamentary organs publicly report on their detention findings?
Do internal inspection agencies (IIAs) carry out visits?
Do IIAs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do IIAs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities?
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections?
Types of privatisation/outsourcing
Detention contractors and other non-state entities
Estimated annual budget for detention operations
Estimated annual budgets for particular detention-related activities
Estimated cost per detainees day (in USD)
Estimated annual budget for non-custodial measures (in USD)
Estimated costs of non-custodial measures (in USD)
Does the country receive external sources of funding?
Description of foreign assistance