How to seek asylum in Singapore

You cannot officially seek asylum in Singapore. If you need humanitarian assistance in Singapore, you want to contact the UNHCR office in Bangkok, Thailand. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Thailand can help you remotely to register as a refugee and help you find a durable solution in a third country.

Singapore offers visa-free access for tourists from many countries around the world. For example, citizens of most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, except Somalia, Nigeria, and Mali, can stay without a visa for 30 days. You can see in this article whether you need a visa to travel to Singapore.

If you wish to stay in Singapore longer, you want to apply for a long-term visa to Singapore. Finding a job in Singapore might be the most effective way to stay in Singapore.

If you are exploited or you are witnessing exploitation in Singapore, You can report an exploitation or trafficking case. You can report suspected trafficking-in-persons activity through:

Singapore Police Force (SPF), call 6435 0000 or email to SPF_Report_Trafficking@spf.gov.sg. Call 999 where immediate Police assistance is required.

Ministry of Manpower (MOM), call the hotline 6438 5122 or report the case online via the MOM website.

Most websites linked in this article are in English or Amharic. If you need, use Google TranslateTarjimly, or any other translation app.

Refugees in Singapore

Because there is no established regular information sharing between UNHCR and the Government of Singapore, UNHCR does not know the exact number of asylum seekers in Singapore, or whether they have been deported or moved on to other countries. There was one refugee and one asylum seeker whose cases were still ongoing with UNHCR.

As of the end of 2018, Singapore had 1,303 officially reported stateless people. This number included people who came from other countries to live and work in Singapore and eventually lost their foreign nationality, as well as children born in Singapore who were not eligible for Singaporean citizenship by birth and whose parents could not confer any other nationality on them.

Singapore is not a signatory to either the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol. It has neither ratified or signed either the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons or the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

There is no domestic legal structure in place to safeguard refugees and asylum seekers, including the principle of non-refoulement. The concept of non-refoulement assures that no one should be sent to a country where they would face torture, harsh, brutal, or humiliating treatment or punishment, or other irreparable harm under international human rights law. This concept applies to all migrants, regardless of migratory status, at all times.

Singapore’s government may, on a case-by-case basis, work with UNHCR to relocate refugees to a third country.

Despite the passage of several laws, Singapore lacks a comprehensive national asylum and refugee policy. As a result, the UNHCR continues to play a significant role in the processing of asylum petitions and refugee registrations. Nonetheless, UNHCR-certified refugees and asylum seekers do not have legal status in Singapore.

Source: UNHCR Singapore Review

The cover image is somewhere in Airport Boulevard, Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore. Photo by Joshua Tsu on Unsplash.