Employers can consider to hire foreign domestic workers (FDWs) other than those from Indonesia to avoid higher fees under the “zero placement fee policy” soon to be introduced by the Indonesian authorities, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Tuesday (2 Feb).
Ms Teo said this in a written answer in response to questions raised by People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Radin Mas SMC Melvin Yong Yik Chye.
Mr Yong had asked what measures can the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) put in place to support employers who need to hire new Indonesian FDWs. He also asked whether the Ministry has any plans to help alleviate the financial burden for such employers who are unable to afford the placement fee.
In her written response, Ms Teo noted that employers can refer to the advice of employment agencies (EAs) on the options that best meet their requirements, subject to employers’ preferences and cost considerations.
“EAs will likely make adjustments to bring in FDWs from countries with growing demand by employers,” she added.
The Minister went on to say that regardless of the country of origin, employers should ensure that they have full information of the cost implications before making their hiring decisions, adding that EAs are required by Singapore law to provide employers with a clear breakdown of the fees charged to them and their FDWs.
As an alternative, Ms Teo suggested that employers can consider hiring part-time help from domestic services providers under the Household Services Scheme.
“Those with caregiving needs for the elderly or young children may also approach agencies like the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) or the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for assistance on accessing subsidised services,” she added.
Employers to bear full cost when bringing in Indonesian FDWs under the upcoming “zero placement fee policy”
In her written statement, Ms Teo also explained that the Indonesian authorities have informed the EAs in Singapore that it will be introducing a “zero placement fee policy”.
The policy requires employers to bear placement fees and other costs – air tickets, work visas, passport replacement, medical examinations, transportation, and accommodation – incurred by new Indonesian FDWs when seeking employment overseas.
“EAs have indicated that the service fee charged to employers for Indonesian FDWs could increase as a result of this policy,” said the Minister.
The policy was supposed to have taken effect on 15 January 2021, but the Indonesian authorities have extended the transition period by six months, until 15 July 2021.