SINGAPORE: LOW WAGE MIGRANT WORKERS UNDER STRESS

Researchers have interviewed migrant workers in Singapore focusing on their individual life experiences, community experiences, mental and physical health concerns and response behaviours.

Their findings, from 21 individual and 2 group interviews reveal migrant workers were embedded in a cycle of chronic stress driven by structural factors reinforced by stressors in their social environment.

 

These Socio-structural stressors; poor living, working and social conditions, resulted in negative quality-of-life appraisal.

Stressors arising from being 'foreign”' resulted in anticipated stigma, concealment, and healthcare avoidance. These factors synergistically created a persistent mental health burden for migrant workers.

Globally, an estimated 281 million migrant workers lived outside their countries of origin, comprising approximately 4.9% of the labour force of receiving countries in 2020. Despite significant contributions to economic growth, migrant workers are generally excluded from essential services and protective systems in receiving countries. Additionally, migrant workers are predominantly employed in labour-intensive manual jobs, commonly referred to as “dirty, dangerous and difficult”, putting them at increased risk of precarious working conditions and occupational hazards.

As of August 2021, there were 1,639,000 temporary visa holders in Australia, made up of 1,614,000 temporary residents and 25,000 overseas visitors.

Of temporary residents:

  • almost four out of five (79%) lived in capital cities
  • almost two out of five (39%) had a Bachelor degree or higher
  • the most common industry of employment was Food and Beverage Services (12%)

Access the research here

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