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MOM Explains New Foreign Worker Rules

  • The Straits Times (24 October 2009) : MOM Explains New Foreign Worker Rules
  • The Straits Times (17 October 2009) : Questions about New Foreign Worker Rules


MOM Explains New Foreign Worker Rules 
- The Straits Times, 24 October 2009

       We thank Ms Alice Cheah for her letter on new conditions in the security bond for foreign workers (Straits Times, 17 October 2009).

2.   MOM has considered employers' concerns that they have little control over their foreign workers from absconding on their own accord. We then updated the conditions such that in the event the worker absconds, MOM will only forfeit half of the $5,000 security deposit, if the employer has made reasonable efforts to locate the worker. This is to cover the cost of the foreign worker's repatriation and other related costs once the worker is found. MOM will consider refunding the $2,500 if employers locate and repatriate the missing workers themselves within 3 months. This move will benefit responsible employers.

3.   The Ministry takes a serious view of employers who flout employment regulations by not paying their foreign domestic workers' salaries on time. Every complaint will be thoroughly investigated and about 80% of salary arrears cases in 2008 were completed within 3 months. As an employment agent herself, Ms Cheah would already be aware that while the complaint is being investigated, a foreign domestic worker who wishes to continue working here can seek a new employer through her original or another employment agency. It is left to the discretion of the agency on whether to charge the prospective employer for successful placements.

4.   The new conditions will take effect from 1 January 2010, to give employers adequate time to adjust to the changes as the security bond will apply to both foreign domestic workers and non-domestic workers. MOM reminds employers of foreign workers to take their responsibilities seriously at all times.


Questions about new foreign worker rules
- The Straits Times, 17 October 2009 

I refer to the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) tweaking of the obligations placed on employers of foreign workers ('New rules protect both maids and employers', Sept 26).

In cases where a maid absconds, an employer will lose half of his $5,000 security bond instead of the full amount, as long as he has made reasonable efforts to locate the maid.

I am puzzled by this. If an employer has made reasonable efforts to find the maid, incurring cost and time, why is he still being penalised?

The MOM has also initiated a new security bond condition to address the issue of errant employers who owe salaries to their maids. This is a move in the right direction, but the MOM should be given a specific timeframe to resolve these pay matters, and maid agencies should be compensated for providing temporary lodgings and food for their maids while the issues are being resolved.

The MOM has indicated specifically that the new security bond conditions will apply to non- Malaysian foreign workers who have been issued with work permits on or after Jan 1 next year, or who are renewing their work permits on or after the same date.

As the current security bond conditions are going to be phased out, the new conditions should apply to all employers of foreign workers, regardless of the timeframe.