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Overseas Trade Testing and Upgrading for Foreign Workers

Trade Testing for New Foreign Workers

The Skills Evaluation Certificate (Knowledge) or SEC(K) trade test evaluates the foreign workers’ trade knowledge and craft-skills competency. Foreign workers who are interested to work as construction work pass holders (WPHs) in Singapore are required to pass this SEC(K) trade test, which comprises of two components:

a. Written test

A 1-hour written test consisting of multiple–choice questions (MCQs) in English with translations in Chinese, Tamil and Thai. It ensures that the workers possess essential trade knowledge such as the materials, tools and equipment used in the trade, work sequence, good practices to be adopted and safety requirements.

b. Practical test

A 4 to 5-hour practical test to assess the workers’ practical craft-skills competency. It ensures that the workers are able to meet quality standards for the trade through the timely completion of a practical test project based on the expected skills set of a skilled tradesman.

The Overseas Testing Centre (OTC) will inform the candidates of their test results, and only those who pass will be awarded with the SEC(K) certificate during their identity verification at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Candidates who wish to know more about the SEC(K) trade test can purchase a set of the syllabus and sample test papers from the Manpower Development Department at S$21 (inclusive of GST) per trade by placing order through https://www.bca.gov.sg/feedbackform.

Upgrading Pathway and Schemes for New or Experienced Foreign Workers

To raise the quality and productivity of the construction workforce in Singapore, BCA launched the following schemes overseas to allow new and experienced foreign workers to be eligible to become a Higher Skilled Worker (R1):

a. Direct R1 Pathway

For new and experienced workers who have 0 or less than 4 years of construction experience in Singapore. They must pass the SEC(K) trade test at higher skills standard, and draw a fixed monthly salary of S$1,600 or more to qualify as a Higher Skilled Worker (R1).

b. Multi-Skilling Scheme

For experienced workers who have at least 4 years of construction experience in Singapore. They must achieve at least 2 SEC(K) skill certifications of different trades, and be registered under the Multi-Skilling scheme to be recognised as a Higher Skilled Worker (R1).

c. Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) Scheme

For experienced workers who have at least 4 years of construction experience in Singapore and holding a valid work permit. They must be registered under the CoreTrade scheme, have valid Acknowledgement Notice (AN) and pass the stipulated skill assessments conducted by the BCA to be recognised as a Higher Skilled Worker (R1).

d. Market-Based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF)

For experienced workers who have at least 6 years of construction experience in Singapore and earn a fixed monthly salary of S$1,600 or more. The MBF is implemented by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and more details can be found in their website at https://www.mom.gov.sg/.

The maximum Period Of Employment (POE) for Basic Skilled Workers (R2) and Higher Skilled Workers (R1) for construction sector are as follows with effect from 1 May 2018.

Basic Skilled Workers (R2)

Higher Skilled Workers (R1)

14 years

26 years

Registration Procedures for Overseas Trade Testing

Employers who would like to hire new or experienced foreign workers can approach the Singapore office of the OTCs to check the closing dates for test registration each month.

The SEC(K) trade test can be registered with:

  • Prior Approval (PA) issued by the Work Pass Division of the MOM; or
  • Request of Approval (RA) administered by the Manpower Development Department of the BCA.

a. Test Registration with Prior Approval (PA)

Employers registering foreign workers for the SEC(K) trade test at basic or higher skill level with PA are required to complete and submit the following documents to OTC:

-     Original PA form (PA must valid for at least 2 months from the test closing date); and

-     Two copies of Form T1 (applicant's copy and BCA's copy).

The OTC will record the number of candidates registered for test, endorse on the original PA form and both Form T1, and return the applicant's copy to the employer.

b. Test Registration with Request of Approval (RA)

Employers registering candidates for the SEC(K) trade test at higher skill level with RA are required to complete and submit the following documents to OTC:

-    RA declaration letter (Copies are available at OTC office in Singapore);

-    Latest ACRA printout; and

-    SLOT registration certificate (exempted for BCA registered contractor).

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Employment and In-principle Approval Letter Endorsement

Upon receiving the test results from OTC, the employer is to apply for the worker's In-principle Approval (IPA) from MOM to bring worker to Skills Certification Enrolment Counter at BCA Academy (located at 200 Braddell Road) for identity verification and IPA letter endorsement within 4 or 5 months of the test date for those candidates who passed with PA or RA respectively. The identity verification and IPA letter endorsement is strictly by appointment only. Employer or the employer’s representative can login to Online Registration for Verification (ORV) system at http://www.bca.gov.sg/orv/ to register for the appointment. Instructions and user guides can also be found at the website.

New Integrated Syllabi for Formwork Trades

All trainings and testing of formwork trades held at the Approved Training and Testing Centres (ATTCs) and Overseas Testing Centres (OTCs) will be based on a new integrated syllabus, which has been enhanced with formwork safety components with effect from 1 January 2016.

Workers who attended the training and passed the test at the ATTCs or OTCs based on the integrated syllabi are exempted from attending the Formwork Safety Course for Workers (FSCW) conducted by MOM’s Accredited Training Providers (ATPs) or Learning Service Providers (LSPs). The certificates issued to these workers will have “Enhanced” added to the trade names. For example: Enhanced Aluminium Formwork, Enhanced System Formwork and Enhanced Timber Formwork.

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