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MOM’s reply to Media Queries on Illegal Deployment Complaints

  1. Between 2017 and 2019, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) received an average of 550 cases of complaints yearly on illegal deployment of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) by their employers or their household members. This is 0.2% of the over 236,000 FDW employers in Singapore.
  2. 76% of these cases were surfaced by third parties and 24% were surfaced by FDWs themselves. A good number of FDWs who alleged illegal deployment had left employment when they reported the matter to MOM. Some of them requested for assistance to return home while others requested to be allowed a transfer of employment.
  3. Every allegation is treated seriously and looked into by the Ministry. In most of these cases, when we clarified further with the FDWs, we learned that they were deployed with their charges (either children or elderly persons) to close family members to continue to provide care to their charges. This is permitted by MOM so long as the FDWs accept the arrangements, are not required to perform the household chores of two families, and their wellbeing was still taken care of. To avoid any misunderstanding or dispute, employers should work out a mutually agreed job scope with their FDWs.
  4. Some cases warranted further action. In the past three years (2017-2019), MOM has taken action against a yearly average of 155 employers for illegally deploying their FDWs. Of these, an average of about 60 employers were issued with an Advisory Notice while 80 employers were issued with a Caution Notice. On average, there were 16 employers issued with financial penalties annually, ranging from $3,300 to $24,000.
  5. Employers are issued with an Advisory Notice in cases where the illegal deployment is not conclusively substantiated; the Advisory Notice  serves to remind them of their legal obligations under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) and the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations (EFMR). A Caution, which is akin to a stern warning by the Police, is issued when MOM establishes that the illegal deployment is infrequent or took place over a short period of time. The Caution sends a strong message to employers that they must comply with the law or face stronger enforcement action.
  6. MOM takes a stern view of cases where FDWs are deployed to participate in non-domestic work or to work in commercial premises, regularly and over a long period of time. It would be especially egregious if the FDWs are overworked and not provided with adequate rest. Their employers can be issued with  financial penalties of up to $10,000 per count. They will also be debarred from hiring FDWs.
  7. In Ms Parti Liyani’s case, at the conclusion of our investigations, MOM consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) as is the practice for similar cases, on the facts available. With AGC’s concurrence and, consistent with the actions taken in similar cases, in May 2018, MOM issued a Caution against Mrs Liew and an Advisory Notice to Mr Karl Liew. There was no prior complaints lodged with MOM against any of the parties involved.
  8. Continued efforts are made to ensure care of FDWs by their employers. First time FDWs attend the mandatory Settling-In Programme which informs FDWs of their rights under the law, and this includes proper deployment by their employers. MOM also regularly sends educational materials to FDWs. FDWs are advised of the different channels of assistance availed to them. They can also report illegal deployment or another other employment difficulties to the Ministry. They do not have to wait till they have left employment. If they are unsure if their deployment is in order with the law, they should also contact MOM’s FDW Helpline at 1800-339-5505 to seek clarification and assistance.