Migrant Worker Sandbox

The migrant worker sandbox scheme is a new initiative launched by Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) and BOP Hub that supports employers in Singapore in recruiting skilled construction workers from Bangladesh, while reducing recruitment fees that workers pay.

Workers who are recruited through this pathway come with relevant skill sets and a vocational certificate accredited by the Bangladesh government. Their experience equips them to work more efficiently, contributing to increased productivity and a streamlined onboarding process.

Workers undergoing a theory class at the BRAC Institute for Skills Development to prepare for the SEC(K) test.

The scheme aims to:

  • Attract skilled workers to Singapore: We are working with BRAC, one of the largest NGOs in the world and is highly respected in Bangladesh. With their reputation and extensive network across Bangladesh, BRAC is capable of sourcing skilled workers who can meet each employer’s specific requirements. Many of these workers have also had experience in working abroad.
  • Reduce the fees paid by migrant workers: BRAC will keep the cost incurred by workers at a minimal level to ensure that they are not overburdened financially. Lowering the cost of migration not only makes this migration pathway more attractive to workers but also enables employers to draw the best talent from Bangladesh to Singapore.

APC, BRAC and BOP Hub will oversee the entire recruitment process. This includes screening workers based on employers’ needs, supporting these workers in obtaining a government-issued vocational certificate in Bangladesh, preparing them for the SEC(K) test in Singapore, and assisting them in making all the necessary arrangements in relocating to Singapore. A dedicated team of counsellors follows up with workers post-arrival, offering psychological and social support to ensure a smooth settling-in process.

Workers selected for the sandbox possess the skills and experience sought by employers, enabling them to seamlessly integrate into the workforce.
TimelineWhat happens
Start of the processEmployer provides a demand note, detailing the requirements (e.g. no. of workers, expected skills).
1-2 weeksBRAC will recruit skilled workers in Bangladesh, using their sizeable network and manpower, based on the employer’s requirements.
The employer can choose the fly into Bangladesh to visit BRAC, as well as to test and interview the workers.
3-4 weeksBRAC will help workers obtain a government-issued vocational certificate.
BRAC will prepare workers for the SEC(K) test in Singapore.
BRAC will also provide some training in English, technical skills and workplace safety.
1 weekBRAC/APC will share the vocational certificate and workers’ details to BCA for approval.
1 week + IPA approvalOnce BCA approves, the employer can apply for an In-Principle Approval (IPA) for the workers to travel to Singapore.
While waiting for IPA, BRAC will complete all other pre-departure steps, such as registering with BMET, getting a smart card etc.
End of the processOnce workers arrive in Singapore, they will be encouraged to take the SEC(K) test within 3 months.
Workers can keep retaking the test within a year.

Ethical and Cost-Efficient Workforce Mobility

The sandbox introduces an ethical and cost-efficient pathway, substantially cutting relocation expenses to Singapore and providing workers with technical training, easing their preparation for the SEC(K) test.

Access to Skilled Talent, Minimised Financial Strain

Employers benefit from recruiting skilled Bangladeshi workers without the usual hefty fees ranging from SGD 6,000 to 12,000. This reduces workers’ financial burdens, fostering well-being and improving mental health of workers, resulting in a happier workforce and enhanced outcomes for employers.

Enhanced Worker Preparation Beyond SEC(K) Test

BRAC’s training encompasses technical skills and workplace safety, ensuring workers are not just SEC(K)-ready but also well-prepared for their roles. Engaging in this program grants access to a pool of better-trained and equipped workers.

Workers will receive ongoing support from a dedicated team of BRAC counselors to facilitate their smooth transition into life in Singapore.

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Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) is a community of philanthropists collaborating to chart a better future for Asia. Founded in 2015 by Asia-based philanthropists to encourage peer exchange, APC has grown to over 60 members across 13 markets.

We are home to a diverse network of philanthropists—across generations and interests—seeking collective impact together. Our members give in financial and human capital, champion social innovation for public good, and pioneer collaborative initiatives to build the social impact ecosystem and address systemic challenges.

BRAC is the world’s largest development organisation, with headquarters in Bangladesh and operations in 11 countries. It has been ranked the world’s No.1 NGO five times in a row, and acts as a catalyst to create opportunities for people living in poverty. Its diverse portfolio of services include BRAC Probashbandhu Limited (BPL), BRAC’s own recruitment agency, and BRAC Institute of Skills Development (BISD), a registered training organisation in Bangladesh providing National Technical Vocational Qualification Framework training.

BOP Hub is a Singapore-based business accelerator platform. We aim to create an efficient marketplace for communities at the base of the pyramid by supporting entrepreneurship, connecting partners and sharing resources for social entrepreneurs and business ventures to access BOP markets.