Skip to main content

MOM regulates local recruitment fees

  • Lianhe Zaobao (1 Nov 2017): Should enhance regulation of employment agencies placing foreign workers

MOM regulates local recruitment fees
- Lianhe Zaobao, 6 November 2017

  1. We refer to the letter (“Should enhance regulation of employment agencies placing foreign workers”, 1 Nov).
  2. We agree with Mr Lin Rihao that recruitment fees payable by foreign workers should be capped. This is why the law prohibits Employment Agencies (EAs) operating in Singapore from collecting more than two months’ salary, and no more than one month for each year of service.
  3. EAs must also refund at least half the agency fees collected from workers who are prematurely terminated within the first six months of employment. They are also required to issue itemised receipts, stating the services rendered and amount collected. As a matter of good practice, EAs and employers should inform workers upfront if there is any requisite test that they may have to pass as a condition of their employment.
  4. While we do our best to protect foreign workers here, there are cases of foreign workers charged high agency fees in their home countries. In such instances, we have to leave it to respective foreign embassies to combat any malpractices. To this end, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) does its part by sharing pertinent information obtained from our investigations with them.
  5. On Mr Lin’s concern over excessive working hours, workers should not be contractually required to work more than eight hours in a day or 44 hours in a week, and must be given at least one rest day per week. Even if the worker agrees to work overtime, they should not be working more than 12 hours a day or more than 72 hours of overtime a month. This is prescribed in our employment laws.
  6. Members of the public with information on illegal recruitment and workplace practices can call the MOM at (65) 6438-5122 or email All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Should enhance regulation of employment agencies placing foreign workers
- Lianhe Zaobao, 1 November 2017

  1. I read a news article published on 29 October 2017 about employment agencies, and hope that MOM can enhance regulation of all employment agencies.
  2. Many employment agencies only focus on earning money and do not give foreign workers the consultation and services required. MOM should stipulate that agency fees should not exceed two months' salary, and that employment agencies should provide a detailed breakdown of the fees that they charge.
  3. Many agency advertisements require foreign workers to work 12 hours a day, with only two days of rest. I hope that MOM can also look at whether this is reasonable. MOM should also stipulate that agencies should inform foreign workers beforehand if there are any tests they have to sit for in order to work in Singapore.