Immigration Laws in the Time of COVID-19: Discretionary Powers Gone Too Far?

No reasonable lawyer would dispute the severe and unprecedented impact of the recent Covid-19 outbreak on the Singaporean legal landscape. Immigration laws are no exception. Work-permit holders, students and foreign domestic workers were faced with extreme uncertainty after the Singapore Government introduced wide-ranging immigration restrictions on permit and pass holders seeking to enter Singapore. Many who were based overseas were unable to return to their workplaces in Singapore or worse, were separated from their families and loved ones. My presentation will consider the nature, scope and impact of the immigration restrictions on Singapore society, the long-term impact of these restrictions, and the compatibility of these restrictions with the rule of law.