Alternative arrangements for migrant domestic worker interviews
We refer to Mr Lim’s latest letter on his experience with the mandatory in-person migrant domestic worker (MDW) interview (“人力部须灵活履行职责”, 18 April).
These interviews are conducted by the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), on behalf of the Ministry of Manpower, to ensure that first-time MDWs are adapting well to their new working and living environments.
We understand that not all employers – such as those with constant caregiving needs – are able to send their MDWs to the interviews. In such circumstances, employers may request for alternative interview arrangements such as teleconferencing interviews, by contacting CDE at 6303 6840 or emailing email@example.com.
We thank Mr Lim for providing similar feedback in a letter published on 13 February and had reached out to extend our assistance. While we have not yet heard back from Mr Lim, we stand ready to extend our support should he require it.
Foreign Manpower Management Division
Ministry of Manpower
MOM must be flexible in its regulations - Lianhe Zaobao, 18 April
Recently, in order to complete the procedures for my MDW to be interviewed at CDEConnect, we took a round trip of two hours with a total taxi fare of more than $60, but the interview took less than 20 minutes. While waiting for the interview, there were other MDWs and employers arriving one after another, some of which came with seniors and young children.
The main purpose of MOM interviewing MDWs is to ensure that they will not be treated unreasonably by employers when they work here, and to ensure that MDWs know their rights and legal protections. This is something to be encouraged. I believed that no other country in the world can put in so much effort to protect MDWs.
But during the implementation of this interview process, would it be possible to take into account the different family situations of each employer and handle it flexibly? As far as my family was concerned, my mother is in her 90s and is unable to walk, while my wife and I are also in our 70s. We live in Sembawang in the north, and the CDEConnect centre is in Tampines. In addition to costing money and time for a 20-minute meeting, we also had to make caregiving arrangements for my elderly mother on the day of the interview. A few days before the interview, I even went to the service centre to scout out the location so as not to waste time.
Apart from the fact that MDWs have to report to the CDEConnect Centre in-person, I thought MOM should have other ways to obtain the required information. In my opinion, at least in terms of locations to hold the interviews, community clubs or centres in various districts could be an option to facilitate residents in different districts. In fact, there should be other ways to achieve the objectives. I hope that MOM, while taking care of the well-being of MDWs, would empathise with the plight of employers and try to lessen the time and money spent by them.
Lim Pai Tong