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Oral Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on Issues related to Foreign Domestic Workers

Notice Paper No. 67 of 2013 For The Sitting On 25 February 2013 Question No. 1034 For Oral Answer.

MP: Er Dr Lee Bee Wah

To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry will consider reducing the foreign domestic worker levy to help families cope with the higher cost of hiring these helpers; and (b) which countries are the Government exploring for additional supply of domestic helpers to work in Singapore.


  1. Recognising that FDWs play an important role in meeting the domestic needs of families, we introduced, in 2004, a FDW concessionary levy of $250 per month, to help families with elderly members or young children who hire FDWs. This concessionary levy rate was subsequently reduced in 2005 and again in 2007, and the concessionary levy was also extended in 2007 to families with disabled persons. The current FDW concessionary levy rate is $170 per month, which is significantly less than the regular rate of $265. To provide more support to families who need to care for frail elderly or persons with disability, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) also gives a $120 FDW Caregiver Grant per month to households with a per capita monthly income of up to $2,200. This is over and above the FDW Levy concession for households with elderly. FDW employers that qualify for the levy concession and the FDW Caregiver Grant would effectively be paying $50 levy.
  2. Today, close to two thirds of the families that employ FDWs already enjoy the concessionary levy rate. We are considering more support for families who hire FDWs for their care giving needs.
  3. There are currently over 10 approved sources1 for FDWs, including Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. We will be conducting a pilot to study the suitability of Cambodia as a source country for FDWs. This pilot arose from MOM’s periodic review of the adequacy of existing sources and the options of suitable alternatives based on market demand and feedback from employment agencies.

1 The approved FDW sources are Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea