NBAS: Why hasn’t Singapore granted Norway a so-called vaccinated travel lane?

Singapore has allowed 30 countries to have the so-called ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) to Singapore which means that travelers from these countries do not need to undergo quarantine upon arrival in the city-state. Amongst the countries with VLT are Denmark, Finland, Sweden together with Australia, the USA, and Hong Kong.

But a pressing question for the Norwegian business community in Singapore is why Singapore hasn’t granted Norway a so-called vaccinated travel lane?

In a recent article, NBAS writes that the lack of a vaccinated travel lane or similar travel arrangement that allows persons to travel to Singapore without being quarantined is an ailing thorn in the side for the Norwegian colony in Singapore.

Citing NBAS, the business association writes: 

The Norwegian business in Singapore during the pandemic paints a mixed picture. On one side, several Norwegian companies have benefited from the generous supporting scheme Singaporean authorities put in place already early in the pandemic. 

On the other hand, the strict travel regime has also caused severe difficulties for many companies as key personnel in companies have not met for two years. Moreover, Singaporean employees have not been able to go to Norway for training and it’s largely hard to get Norwegian talent to Singapore, including innovative resources working closely with Singaporean eco-systems.

In addition to the challenges for the businesses, there are psycho-social problems. Numerous families, including trailing spouses and children, have not seen the family in Norway for 2-3 years.

A unanimous Norwegian business community hopes and expects that Singapore includes Norway in the next round of VTLs and while exploring Norway’s chances of getting the long sought after VTL, NBAS turned to Norway’s ambassador to Singapore, H.E Eivind Homme, and NBAS-president, Leonard Stornes. 

They have been actively advocating VTL for Norway, and other factors to get back the optimal operating environment for businesses as we know it from pre-pandemic times. Team Norway also includes Innovation Norway and its director Paul Kastmann, as well as NORWEP. In the last months, Team Norway has been conveying the message clearly. Latest they met the Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S Iswaran. NBAS also advocates through the EuroCham which conveys the message on behalf of all European countries in Singapore.

H.E Homme, who just returned from Norway (and now himself in SHN) after being there when Foreign Minister Huitfeldt received Foreign Minister Balakrishnan as her guest in Oslo, is clear. 

“The Singaporean government is well aware of the situation and says they want to solve it as soon as possible. They also remind us that in Singapore it is of utmost importance to stay a well function economic and travel hub. But they are still struggling with the Omicron wave of Covid. I cannot promise anything on their behalf. However, all Norwegians in Singapore and our Singaporean partners can trust that we will continue to use every occasion to remind the Singaporean government of why they soon should find a solution to the VTL challenges for Norway.”

Read the full article with more on the matter from NBAS here

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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