Simpler transfer of domestic helpers during COVID-19 travel restrictions

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Travel restrictions, working from home, and recession are just some of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While these may come as nothing new, we often are oblivious to the indirect consequences of these impacts.

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What some of us may not know is that the travel restriction imposed, have led to limited numbers of foreign domestic workers coming into Singapore.

So what does that mean…? We can’t hire domestic workers anymore?

Panic GIFs | Tenor

Well, not necessarily so!

With the new rules set out by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), from 20 May onwards, employment agencies will be able to help employers cancel a foreign domestic worker’s work permit even if she does not have a new employer.

Life as a Foreign Domestic Worker - Hagar Singapore

📸: Hagar Singapore

After the cancellation of the domestic worker’s work permit, the agent will be responsible for providing accommodation, food, and medical insurance for the worker.

A 14-day Special Pass will be issued to the worker when her work permit is cancelled.

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So what happens if a new employer is not found before the 14-day Special Pass expires?

If that happens, the agency will have to bear the cost of repatriating the worker.

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Previously, the former employer has to pay for the worker’s living costs during the transition period even if she has already returned to the agency, and provide a letter of consent for the new work permit application.

Additionally, the former employer must also pay for the worker’s trip home if her work permit is cancelled and she is not moving on to a new employer.

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📸:TODAYonline

However, this new rule has brought about some concerns.

President of the Association of Employment Agencies (AEAS), Ms K Jayaprema, for instance, is concerned about the lack of consideration that is being given to the interests of the domestic worker.

News & Event | AEAS

📸: Association of Employment Agencies

Ms Jayaprema mentioned that the 14-day transition period is very short and that most existing service agreements between employment agencies and employers provide for a 21-day transition period and a 7-day extension where applicable.

Island Maids

📸: island maids

While, this new rule means that we will still be able to hire domestic workers during this difficult period, with the additional cost incurred by the employment agents, we should definitely expect the cost of hiring a domestic worker to increase. 

Learn more here.

A huge part of staying safe is to have timely, up-to-date information. Join our telegram group for the latest update on COVID-19 and other important information here.

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