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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on breakdown of annual Foreign Worker levies collected

Notice Paper No. 862 of 2017 For The Sitting On 2 October 2017

Question No. 636 for Written Answer

MP: Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the annual breakdown of foreign worker levies which have been collected each year since 2012; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider channelling some of these levies into a fund to provide subsidies for (i) households who need foreign domestic workers (FDWs) but are unable to afford the costs or (ii) financial assistance to FDWs who require help in exceptional circumstances.

  1. The annual breakdown of foreign domestic worker (FDW) levies collected since 2012 is as follows:
  2.  FY Total FDW levy collections 
     2012  $495 million
     2013  $429 million
     2014  $443 million
     2015  $353 million
     2016  $342 million
  3. Similar to other sources of Government revenue, the levies collected go into the Consolidated Fund. This is then used to fund all areas of Government expenditures including financial assistance schemes to support households in need.

  4. One such assistance scheme is the FDW Grant administered by the Agency of Integrated Care. Eligible households with family members who require permanent assistance with three or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) can apply for an FDW Grant of $120 per month. This grant is means-tested and can be used to offset the cost of hiring an FDW. Since 2012, over 17,000 have benefitted from the FDW Grant.

  5. Additionally, Singaporean households with children, elderly persons, or persons who require help with at least one ADL are offered a concessionary FDW levy rate of $60, much lower than the full FDW levy rate of $265.

  6. FDWs who are in need of financial assistance can already turn to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE). These NGOs play an important role and have raised funds to provide humanitarian aid to FDWs. Instead of the government providing direct financial assistance to FDWs, we should continue to support the work of these NGOs.