Social Work

Like most people, migrant workers focus on working for a better life, and do not go about expecting misfortune to befall them. So, when it does, whether in the form of an injury, tardy salary payments or abusive employer, it often catches them unprepared. Many have no idea what their rights are, or what avenues of help are available.

An important part of Transient Workers Count Too’s assistance to migrant workers springs from the advice and case follow-up provided by our social workers and trained volunteers. This part of our programme is named “Social Worker Always There”,  or SWAT for short.

Common questions workers bring to us include:

  • “I haven’t been paid for more than three months; what remedies are available?”

  • “I was injured this morning and the pain is getting worse, but my supervisor says to rest in the dormitory. He is not sending me to a hospital. What should I do?”

  • “I was hired as a welder, but my employer wants me to work for another company as a general worker. Is this legal?”

  • “I’ve had fever for three days and the doctor gave me medical leave for a week. Now my boss says he’s cancelling my work permit and meanwhile I am being confined to the store-room with two guards outside, ready to take me to the airport anytime. How can I get out of this situation?”

Or a domestic worker might call and say to us:

  • “My employer keeps shouting at me and burned me with a cigarette butt a few times, and I can’t stand it any more. I have asked to resign, but she refuses to release me. What can I do?”

To have somebody give a prompt and helpful answer to such cries for help makes a huge difference to workers.

Not all migrant workers want intensive help. Some have more self-confidence or their cases are relatively straightforward. Giving due respect to their agency and autonomy, TWC2 caseworkers, interns and volunteers will calibrate our assistance accordingly.

Interns and volunteers assist with casework too under the supervision of our social workers

Generally speaking, engagement with clients (migrant workers) can be classified into three broad categories: