Oral Answer by Minister of State for Manpower Ms Gan Siow Huang to PQs on MDW entry approvals and transfers
NOTICE PAPER NO. 733 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 04 OCTOBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 1829 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Ang Wei Neng
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) from January to August 2021, what is the number of domestic helpers who were allowed entry into Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry can provide an update on the pilot scheme to bring more foreign domestic workers to Singapore.
NOTICE PAPER NO. 801 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 01 NOVEMBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 2073 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Dr Wan Rizal
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider prioritising approval of migrant domestic workers for households with healthcare workers so as to facilitate quality work-life balance amidst the pressures brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOTICE PAPER NO. 803 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 01 NOVEMBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 2098 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Ms Mariam Jaafar
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the number of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) brought into Singapore under the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) pilot programme since it was introduced in July 2021 for the safe entry of MDWs; (b) what are the typical agency fees charged; and (c) what more can be done for the lower and middle income households who have urgent need for MDWs but may not be easily able to afford the fees involved for the programme
NOTICE PAPER NO. 803 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 02 NOVEMBER 2021
QUESTION NO. 2101 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Dennis Tan Lip Fong
To ask the Minister for Manpower in view of the Government’s actions to halt or delay the entry of new migrant domestic workers (MDWs) into Singapore in the last few months due to the COVID-19 situation locally or abroad, whether the Government will consider any measures to temper any resulting increase of salaries for transfer MDWs caused by the delay of new MDWs into Singapore.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to take PQs 13 to 16 by Mr Ang Wei Neng, Dr Wan Rizal, Ms Mariam Jaafar and Mr Dennis Tan together.
2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recognises that there are still many families waiting for approval for their migrant domestic workers (MDWs) to enter Singapore. To manage COVID-19 importation risks, entry approvals for MDWs were tightened in May 2021, resulting in the number of MDWs entering Singapore being reduced from an average of 3,400 per month from January to April this year, to 900 per month from May to October.
3. As the regional COVID-19 situation improves, MOM is able to give more entry approvals. From 15 October 2021, we have opened up new applications for the entry of fully vaccinated MDWs, for entry from 1 November onwards. More MDWs will be able to enter Singapore in the coming months if the Covid-19 situation continues to stabilise locally and regionally.
4. Due to the high demand for entry, we will continue to prioritise families with more urgent care needs. We will also facilitate the entry of MDWs of households with healthcare workers so that they can better focus on their frontline work. For those employers who are not successful, they may wish to access the application portal in subsequent weeks as entry slots are periodically made available. With more entry approvals in the coming months, the demand for transfer MDW is expected to ease.
5. Households that require MDWs urgently may wish to consider the commercial programme by the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) (AEA(S)). MDWs who already possess the documentation can be onboarded onto the programme within a week.
6. AEA(S) and its partner employment agencies will adjust the programme according to demand to complement the entry of MDWs through the existing channel. As at end October 2021, the AEA(S)’s initiative has facilitated the entry of more than 1,000 MDWs from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. Given feedback from employment agencies, AEA(S) will also be expanding the scheme to India. The fees charged vary across employment agencies (EAs), service
providers and home countries of MDWs. Households in financial difficulty can apply for waiver of costs of local COVID-19 tests and local Stay-Home Notice Dedicated Facility accommodation for newly arrived MDWs.
7. While there has been a limited number of MDWs entering Singapore over the past months, the number of MDW transfers remained stable. The average monthly salary of transfer MDW was $630 last year, and increased to $660 as at September 2021.
8. MOM recognises that the past months have been challenging for families. We thank families for their patience. We will continuously review the entry numbers, together with the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF), with a view to try to fulfil the needs as quickly as possible.