By Fathin Ungku and Ruma Paul SINGAPORE/DHAKA (Reuters) – Mohammad Ashadul Islam placed all his hopes for a better life for his family in Bangladesh on getting a construction job in Singapore. He sold his father’s land and fish farm and also borrowed money from banks and relatives to pay S$17,000 ($12,000) in fees to multiple agencies who helped arrange the job and his trip to the island state early last year. But in December, his employer told him that there wasn’t enough work and he was laid off from a job doing a range of tasks, such as directing traffic around building sites, and operating excavators. Islam was given a month by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower to find another job but, unable to do so, he returned home still owing S$6,000. He had only earned S$5,000 during his time away – based on basic pay of just S$18 a day and overtime of S$3 per hour. For Singapore, a system of temporary labor to do many jobs in the construction, shipping, manufacturing and service industries – including hotels and restaurants – works as an effective buffer. When times are good it means Singapore can fill jobs that would otherwise… Read full this story
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