Published by Authority

NO. 2]Friday, March 6 [2015

The following Act was passed by Parliament on 20th January 2015 and assented to by the President on 16th February 2015:—
Foreign Employee Dormitories Act 2015

(No. 3 of 2015)

I assent.

16th February 2015.
Date of Commencement: 1st January 2016
An Act to provide for the regulation of operators of dormitories for foreign employees and for matters connected with or incidental to that.
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:
Short title and commencement
1.  This Act may be cited as the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act 2015 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint.
General interpretation
2.—(1)  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“boarding premises” means premises (or a complex of premises) that —
(a)provide boarders or lodgers with a principal place of residence;
(b)may have shared facilities (such as a communal living room, bathroom, laundry or kitchen) or services that are provided to boarders or lodgers, or both; and
(c)have rooms (some or all of which may have private kitchen or bathroom facilities) that accommodate one or more boarders or lodgers;
“business restriction directive” means regulatory action referred to in section 14(2)(b)(iii);
“code of practice” or “standard of performance” means a code of practice or standard of performance issued or approved under section 19;
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories appointed under section 6(1), and includes any Deputy Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories or Assistant Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories delegated under section 6(5) to exercise the Commissioner’s powers or duties under this Act;
“compliance directive” means a directive issued under section 13;
“dormitory inspector”, in relation to any provision of this Act, means —
(a)the Commissioner;
(b)any Deputy Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories and any Assistant Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories; and
(c)any individual appointed under section 6(3) and authorised under section 6(5) or other provision in this Act to perform any duty or exercise any power under that provision;
“foreign employee” means a foreigner —
(a)who seeks employment, or is employed to work, in Singapore but excludes a self‑employed foreigner; or
(b)whose employment in Singapore has expired or has been terminated (whether or not for justified reasons) and is authorised under the Immigration Act (Cap. 133) to remain in Singapore;
“foreign employee dormitory” has the meaning given in section 3(1);
“foreigner” means an individual who is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident of Singapore;
“licence” means a licence granted under section 9(1)(a) authorising a person to operate the boarding premises specified in the licence as a foreign employee dormitory;
“licensed operator” means the person to whom a valid licence is granted under section 9(1)(a);
“manager”, in relation to boarding premises or a foreign employee dormitory, means an individual who is responsible for the day‑to‑day control and supervision of the operations of the boarding premises or foreign employee dormitory;
“modification” and “modify”, in relation to the conditions of a licence, include deleting or varying and substituting a condition, and adding a condition;
“occupancy agreement”, in relation to boarding premises, means an agreement (written or unwritten) —
(a)to which a proprietor or an operator of the boarding premises (or a person acting on behalf of the operator) is a party; and
(b)under which a foreign employee is provided one or more beds or rooms, or spaces within a room, in the boarding premises to occupy as a resident of those premises;
“occupancy load”, for any premises, means the prescribed maximum number of individuals permitted by law to ordinarily occupy those premises at any one time;
“operate”, in relation to any boarding premises, means managing and maintaining, in the course of a business, the boarding premises (whether self‑owned or under lease) as a foreign employee dormitory, for residents who may or may not be employees of the operator;
“premises” means a building or structure (whether permanent or temporary) or part of such a building or structure, and includes any immediately adjoining space or land necessary for access to, or the enjoyment of residents of, the building or structure;
“proprietor”, in relation to any premises that are leased or are subject to a tenancy or licence to occupy, includes the owner of the premises who is the lessor or grantor of the licence to occupy;
“public authority” means a body established or constituted by or under a public Act to perform or discharge a public function;
“Register” means the register of licensed operators of foreign employee dormitories kept under section 21;
“relative”, in relation to an individual, includes any of the following:
(a)another individual who is the spouse of the individual;
(b)another individual who is the parent, step‑parent, son, daughter, step‑son, step‑daughter, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, step‑brother, step‑sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew (whether by blood, marriage or adoption) of the individual;
(c)another individual who is the guardian or ward of the individual;
“resident”, in relation to boarding premises (whether or not a foreign employee dormitory), means any individual who occupies or enjoys a right to occupy one or more beds or rooms, or spaces within a room, in those premises as the individual’s main or only residence in Singapore, and includes any resident who is a proprietor or manager of those premises or relatives of the proprietor or manager.
(2)  For the purposes of the definition of “boarding premises” in subsection (1), the Commissioner may determine whether buildings, structures or facilities are to be regarded as a single complex of premises.
Premises to which Act applies
3.—(1)  Subject to subsection (2), in this Act, “foreign employee dormitory” means any boarding premises that —
(a)provides the threshold number of beds or higher for use by residents who are foreign employees;
(b)provides accommodation to the threshold number of residents who are foreign employees or higher; or
(c)has the prescribed occupancy load and provides accommodation substantially to foreign employees.
(2)  However, this Act does not apply to —
(a)premises that are used as a hotel, an inn, a hostel or a bed and breakfast accommodation;
(b)a serviced apartment, being a building or part of a building that is used to provide self‑contained tourist or visitor accommodation that is regularly cleaned by or on behalf of the proprietor or manager;
(c)premises for the reception, lodging and care of aged or disabled persons, or persons suffering or convalescing from any sickness, injury or infirmity, including but not limited to a convalescent home or nursing home but excluding a sick bay or similar facility within any boarding premises;
(d)a student hostel or hall of residence for the accommodation of students;
(e)a house;
(f)a self‑contained residence that is a flat or an apartment (consisting of a suite of rooms) forming a portion of a building;
(g)any prison where an individual is incarcerated to serve a sentence of imprisonment, any other place where a prisoner may serve his or her sentence of imprisonment outside of a prison, or premises for the purposes of detaining individuals serving orders of detention under any written law, whether or not for their rehabilitation or safety;
(h)any vessel used as boarding premises for employees in connection with their work or employment on or relating to the vessel;
(i)premises used for crisis accommodation that is provided by or on behalf of the Government or a public authority; and
(j)any boarding premises specified or described by the Minister, by order published in the Gazette, as not to be treated as foreign employee dormitories.
(3)  In this section, “threshold number” means 1,000 or such lower number as the Minister may, by notification published in the Gazette, prescribe in substitution.
(4)  Any notification made under subsection (3) prescribing a lower threshold number in substitution may contain such saving, transitional, incidental or consequential provisions as the Minister considers necessary or proper.
(5)  Every order and notification made under subsections (2)(j) and (3), respectively, must be presented to Parliament as soon as possible after publication in the Gazette.
Purpose of Act
4.  The purpose of this Act is to provide a regulatory framework for the provision of facilities and amenities, and the delivery of services, to residents of foreign employee dormitories who are foreign employees by —
(a)providing for the licensing of operators of foreign employee dormitories;
(b)providing for certain accommodation standards to be observed with respect to the accommodation of residents of foreign employee dormitories and for the appropriate mechanisms for the enforcement of those standards; and
(c)promoting the sustainability of, and continuous improvements in, the provision of services at foreign employee dormitories.
Interface with other laws
5.  Nothing in this Act derogates from any requirement imposed by or under —
(a)the Building Control Act (Cap. 29);
(b)the Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act (Cap. 59);
(c)the Environmental Public Health Act (Cap. 95);
(d)the Fire Safety Act (Cap. 109A);
(e)the Planning Act (Cap. 232); or
(f)any other prescribed written law with respect to the use of premises as, or the provision of services to residents of, foreign employee dormitories.
Appointment of Commissioner, etc., and dormitory inspectors
6.—(1)  The Minister may in writing appoint a public officer as the Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories who is to be responsible for the administration of this Act.
(2)  The Minister may also appoint public officers to be Deputy Commissioners for Foreign Employee Dormitories and Assistant Commissioners for Foreign Employee Dormitories.
(3)  The Commissioner may appoint as dormitory inspectors any of the following persons with suitable qualifications and experience to properly exercise the powers of a dormitory inspector:
(a)a public officer;
(b)an employee of any public authority;
(c)any individual who is not a public officer or an employee referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).
(4)  The Commissioner is to issue, or cause to be issued, to each dormitory inspector an identification card, which must be carried at all times by the dormitory inspector when exercising powers under this Act.
(5)  Subject to subsection (6), the Commissioner may authorise, by delegation, the exercise of all or any of the powers conferred or duties imposed upon the Commissioner by or under this Act to a Deputy Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories, an Assistant Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories or a dormitory inspector, except the power of delegation under this subsection.
(6)  Any delegation under subsection (5) may be general or in a particular case and may be subject to such conditions or limitations as set out in this Act or as the Commissioner may specify.
(7)  The Commissioner, every Deputy Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories and Assistant Commissioner for Foreign Employee Dormitories and every dormitory inspector is deemed to be a public servant for the purposes of the Penal Code (Cap. 224).