Singapore: New directives for new, returning foreign domestic workers to curb outbreak


In its ongoing efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Singaporean government has announced that all employers and employment agencies planning for foreign domestic workers to enter Singapore must obtain the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) approval prior to the commencement of their journey.

It was also announced that upon arrival in Singapore, all new or returning foreign domestic workers from any country will be placed on a mandatory 14-day stay-home notice.

This new measure takes effect from Monday, March 16 at 11.59pm, MOM said in a statement.

“The new measures take into consideration that foreign domestic workers live with families and many look after young children and the elderly,” MOM said.

Employers and employment agencies can apply for the entry approval online. Employers of direct-hire foreign domestic workers or employers of those returning from overseas may also engage the services of an employment agency to assist in the entry approval and stay-home notice arrangements.

All new incoming foreign domestic workers must serve their 14-day stay-home notice at an alternative accommodation, such as dormitories, hostels or hotels, before they can be deployed for employment.

For foreign domestic workers returning from overseas, their employers can arrange for them to serve the stay-home notice at the employer’s residence or at an alternative accommodation.

MOM said the party applying for the entry approval will be responsible for ensuring that the foreign domestic worker complies with the stay-home notice.

They should ensure that the foreign domestic worker has access to a local mobile phone and remains contactable for compliance checks by MOM during the stay-home period.

The applicant must also ensure proper housing and upkeep arrangements for the foreign domestic worker to serve the stay-home notice without leaving the accommodation. Employment agencies and employers can visit the MOM website or send an email if they require assistance regarding accommodation options.

“The party requesting for the entry approval should inform the foreign domestic workers not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been obtained. The employment agencies or employers will be required to send the MOM approval letter to the foreign domestic workers, who will need to show it to the airline staff during check-in and at the ICA checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore,” MOM said.

“Employment agencies, employers and their foreign domestic workers have a collective duty to ensure that the entry approval and the stay-home notice requirements are complied with.”

MOM said enforcement action, including revocation of work passes and suspension of work pass privileges, will be taken if the requirements are not complied with.

Demerit points will also be imposed on employment agencies whose actions result in violation of the requirements by the foreign domestic workers.

In view of social distancing measures that were recently announced, MOM said it strongly encourages foreign domestic workers to spend their rest day at home during this period.

Employers should discuss this with their foreign domestic workers and reach a mutual agreement on rest day arrangements. (Source: CNA)