Settling-In Programme

Type of practice: 
Education and orientation
Country: 
Singapore
Name of Stakeholder: 
Government of Singapore
Type of Stakeholder Implementing the Practice: 
State, Host State, Employers and Recruiters
Type of crisis: 
Conflict, Natural Disaster, Other
Crisis phase: 
Crisis Preparedness

Description

The Settling-In Programme (SIP), introduced by the Ministry of Manpower of the Singapore Government, is a 1-day orientation programme for first-time Foreing Domestic Workers to educate them on safety precautions and living in Singapore.

The topics covered include: Introduction to Singapore, employment conditions, safety at home, safety in other areas, relationship and stress management. 

Foreign Domestic Workers can only start work with their employer in Singapore after attendance of the SIP.

Guidelines/Thematic Areas

GUIDELINE 1: Track information on conflicts and natural disasters, and potential impact on migrants

To protect migrants, States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society need to understand risks and exposure to crises in regions, countries, and localities. They also need to understand the ways in which crises can affect people, including migrants, and their assets. The period before the onset of a full-scale conflict or natural disaster is a critical time to undertake efforts to protect and assist people, including migrants, and to secure essential resources and infrastructure.

Not all conflicts and natural disasters are entirely unpredictable. Conflicts may be preceded by various signs, including protests, xenophobic violence, and civil unrest. Local actors, close to the source of an impending conflict, and with the experience to interpret signs and events, may often possess the most timely and accurate information. They can be an important source of knowledge for others.

Understanding regional, national, and local natural disaster risks and overlaying this information with information on the location and characteristics of migrants can inform preparation and response efforts. As in conflict situations, local sources of knowledge may also be important. While many natural disasters occur with great immediacy, different regions, countries, and localities are prone to specific types of natural disasters. Those related to weather events often occur with some forewarning. Some are cyclical and recurrent and the warning signs will be familiar to those who have experienced them before. A number of early warning systems exist to forecast and monitor natural disasters and alert stakeholders and communities of impending crises.

Sample Practices

  • Early warning systems for natural disasters adapted and tested to reach migrants in multiple languages.
  • Assessments to understand the potential effects of natural disasters on migrant communities and their assets.
  • Inclusion of migrant characteristics in disaster vulnerability assessments by analyzing how factors, such as immigration status, language proficiency, or gender reduce access to information, resources, or protection.
  • Community-based risk assessments that engage migrants in the identification of natural disasters, vulnerability, and capacities.
  • Inclusion of migrants’ presence and vulnerability in early warning and early action mechanisms.
  • Structures to share information on developing civil unrest or conflict.
GUIDELINE 3: Empower migrants to help themselves, their families, and communities during and in the aftermath of crises

In order to help themselves and others and to enjoy their rights, migrants need access to identity documents, basic public services, and financial and other resources. Migrants’ ability to help themselves and enjoy their rights can be undermined by factors related to their entry and stay, means of arrival, connections to local populations, and conditions in the host State, including in workplaces. These factors can in turn undermine emergency response and recovery efforts.

States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society can promote migrants’ resilience and empower migrants to help themselves during and after a crisis by addressing underlying conditions of vulnerability. Respecting, protecting, and fulfilling migrants' human and labor rights in ordinary times advance these goals as do efforts to ensure migrants are able to access information, basic services, and administrative, judicial, and other redress mechanisms.

Legal, policy, and operational factors that constrain protection should be addressed. Examples of obstacles include laws, policies, and practical barriers that arbitrarily restrict the movement of migrants, enable arbitrary detention, discriminate between migrants and citizens in the provision of humanitarian assistance, or permit exploitative employment or recruitment practices.

In times of crisis, fear of immigration enforcement can inhibit migrants, particularly those in an irregular immigration status, from accessing necessary help. In this context, it is important to separate immigration enforcement actions from those that promote migrants’ access to services, humanitarian assistance, identity documents, and movement.

Stakeholders can provide migrants—prior to departure from the State of origin, upon arrival in the host State, and during their stay in the host State—with pertinent information related to country-specific conflict or natural disaster hotspots, rights and potential rights violations or abuses, ways to access timely, credible, and regular information, emergency contact points, and what to do and where to go in the event of a crisis. Building migrants’ skills to communicate in the host-State language and increasing migrants’ financial literacy may prompt migrants to invest in savings, take out micro-insurance, and better prepare for navigating unforeseen circumstances.

Sample Practices

  • Pre-departure and post-arrival training for migrants that includes crisis-related information.
  • Positive communication about migrants, including through migrant role models and campaigns to promote tolerance, non-discrimination, inclusiveness, and respect.
  • Financial products, including micro-insurance, savings accounts, and fast-cash loans that target migrants’ needs, including low-income migrants.
  • Measures that respect, protect, and fulfill migrants’ human and labor rights, including addressing barriers that inhibit migrants’ ability to enjoy their rights.
  • Identity cards for migrants in an irregular immigration status to promote their access to services.
  • Ethical recruitment processes and accreditation, and integrity certification schemes.
  • Community-based alternatives to detention for migrants.
GUIDELINE 8: Build capacity and learn lessons for emergency response and post-crisis action

Limited resources, funding, and technical skills can all affect the robustness of emergency and post-crisis responses. Understanding and assessing these limitations is a critical first step towards overcoming them. Stakeholders’ investment in their own capacity to improve emergency response and post-crisis recovery for migrants is critical.

Capacity building may relate to such varied areas as consular services, training for responders, resource allocation, funding mechanisms, insurance schemes, relief goods and services, border and migration management, and relocation and evacuation. Many of these areas are relevant for both the emergency and post-crisis phases. Stakeholders should also consider addressing potential reintegration challenges for migrants, their families, and communities, facilitating re-employment, income generation, and safe remigration, and supporting migrants to access outstanding wages, assets, and property left in host States.

States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society should assist one another to build and improve their capacity to respond. Undertaking advocacy, monitoring and evaluations, raising awareness, conducting training, sharing information, building research and knowledge, and supporting and learning from each other all help to improve collective efforts to protect migrants.

Sample Practices

  • Training and capacity building of stakeholders, such as on effective ways to access migrants and identify vulnerability and needs.
  • Dedicated funding to protect migrants, including budget lines, loans, and funding platforms.
  • Referral mechanisms that map rosters of experts who can address diverse needs of different migrants.
  • Peer-to-peer exchanges for capacity building and learning on tackling challenges associated with protecting migrants.
  • Training for consular officials, such as on collecting information on citizens and crisis management, including evacuation.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of crisis responses that includes analysis of responses towards migrants.