MOM: Migrant worker-activist-poet 'overstayed welcome', work pass not renewed

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Zakir Hossain, a long-time migrant worker in Singapore, and who often advocated for migrant worker rights, will not have his work pass renewed, after the Controller of Work Passes deemed it "ineligible for renewal".

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday (Jun. 22) explained in a statement that some of Zakir's public writing was "misleading, false or deliberately provocative" and that he had "overstayed his welcome".

Worked in Singapore for 19 years

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Zakir said he had been working in Singapore for about 19 years.

He said he had worked as the quality assurance and quality controller-in-charge for many well-known projects, such as Jewel Changi and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

In his time here, Zakir also founded Migrant Writers Singapore and One Bag, One Book, an initiative that encouraged migrant workers in Singapore to read more.

He expressed confusion over the non-renewal of his work pass, and said his time in Singapore had come to an "abrupt end".

He claimed that he was initially notified by his former company that the work permit renewal system reflected that he had an "adverse record with a government agency".

However, MOM later explained to Zakir that the "adverse record" categorisation was an "administrative error", and that the reason for the non-renewal of his work pass should have just been "ineligible", according to Zakir.

Work pass renewed "many times" despite activism: MOM

MOM said in its statement that it takes into account "various factors" in assessing an applicant's suitability to work in Singapore and for work passes to be renewed.

"Non-residents do not have an automatic right to work in Singapore," added the ministry.

MOM said Zakir had appealed for the non-renewal of his work pass to be reconsidered, while his employer did not make an app...

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