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Number of construction workers in Singapore 2013-2019

As at December 2019, around 293 thousand foreigners were employed in the construction industry. Singapore's construction sector relied heavily on migrant labor, the majority of whom come from neighboring Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. Many experienced several challenges in Singapore, including harsh working and living conditions, discrimination, as well as health risks.

Construction work

Foreigners working in construction in Singapore outnumber residents by around 200 thousand. The majority of them engage in physically demanding and dangerous labor. While construction sites have gotten safer in the past few years, there were still cases of fatal accidents in construction work. This is hardly surprising given the long hours worked, coupled with the physical intensity of the job.

Singapore and the migrant worker community

Such jobs have long been hard to fill with just the local labor force. Furthermore, increased economic growth has led to an increase in average wages for the resident population. To keep labor costs low, the construction sector employs cheaper labor from other Asian countries. However, this has led to certain prejudices forming and friction between the residents as well as the migrant worker communities. Migrant workers in construction are housed in crowded dormitories away from local residential areas, often in unsanitary conditions. This played a part in the spread of COVID-19 going undetected and unchecked in the migrant worker communities, leading to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Singapore.

Number of foreign construction workers employed in Singapore from 2013 to 2019

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period

2013 to 2019

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Statistics on "Construction industry in Singapore"

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