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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Employment Agencies industry average for Foreign Domestic Worker retention and transfer rates from 2015 to 2017

Notice Paper No. 829 Of 2017 For The Sitting On 11 September 2017

Question No. 603 For Written Answer

MP: Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) for each year over the past three years, what are the employment agencies industry averages for the foreign domestic worker (FDW) retention rate and transfer rate respectively; (b) what steps is the Ministry taking to improve these rates; and (c) whether it will require employment agencies to prominently display their FDW retention rate and transfer rate at their premises.


  1. The average retention rate1 for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) placed by employment agencies (EAs) has been stable for the last three years at around 50%, an improvement from about 40% in 2013. The average FDW transfer rate2 has been low, below 1.5% since 2013.
  2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been taking steps to improve the professionalism and service standards of the EA industry. Since last year, employers' ratings of EAs' services have been systematically captured by the EA Customer Rating System. EAs are thus incentivised to ensure better matching between FDWs and prospective employers to improve the retention and transfer rates.
  3. The customer ratings of EAs are made available online on MOM's website under the EA Directory. Together with other information such as placement volume, retention and transfer rates, the EA Directory helps employers make an informed choice on which EA to engage. The EA Directory is updated weekly and enables employers to make comparisons. As it is working well, we have no plans to require EAs to physically display such information at their premises.
  4. We also introduced the Advanced Placement Scheme (APS) pilot in August last year. Under the scheme, employers with caregiving needs are able to interview prospective FDWs face to face. Feedback has been positive as the face to face interviews have helped both parties better understand each other's needs and expectations. The majority of FDWs placed under APS are still with their first employer.


  1. The retention rate is the percentage of FDWs placed by the EA, who have stayed with the same employer for at least a year.
  2. The transfer rate is the percentage of FDWs placed by the EA, who have been placed with three or more employers within a year.