Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
194. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if an enumeration has been done of the number of Irish nationals living and working in Singapore currently seeking permission to return home but are encountering difficulties obtaining the relevant permission to re-enter Singapore; if the necessary assistance can be provided to these persons to ensure there is no discrimination occurring against Irish nationals wishing to re-enter Singapore to return to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56593/21]
The Government is committed to doing everything possible to support and facilitate the resumption of safe international air travel, and especially to ensure that Irish citizens living abroad are able to return home to Ireland for visits and to reunite with friends and family here.
Singapore determines its own policies and regulations on who can enter that country and what measures and conditions apply. Ireland is currently in Category II in the Singapore Government ‘Safe Travel’ system, meaning that vaccinated Irish citizens living in Singapore who re-enter Singapore from Ireland are required to serve a 7-day ‘Stay Home Notice’ at their place of residence. Furthermore, passengers, other than Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, must apply for entry/re-entry approval in advance of travel.
Singapore has ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’ arrangements with a number of countries. The Irish Government has made a formal request that quarantine-free entry be extended to vaccinated travellers from Ireland, and we have been advised by the Singapore authorities that this matter is under active consideration.
In recent weeks, we became aware that some Irish citizens planning travel home to Ireland over Christmas and the New Year were encountering difficulties in securing the necessary re-entry approvals in January. Our Ambassador in Singapore raised this issue with the Singapore authorities and asked for their assistance in resolving it. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that we have now been assured that Irish citizens seeking re-entry in January should be able to receive same. If the Deputy has details of any specific cases where a problem persists, my Department will be happy to receive these and pass them on to our Ambassador for follow-up locally.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and our Embassy in Singapore will continue to prioritise these issues, which I know are of great concern to our diaspora community in Singapore.