SINGAPORE: More maids will soon be able to enter Singapore safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic via a new pilot programme that will begin in mid-July.
The programme, led by the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), or AEA(S), as well as a few employment agencies, will first cover maids from Indonesia and the Philippines.
They will be required to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests over a 14-day period at onboarding facilities in their home countries, said AEA(S) on Wednesday (Jul 14).
They will then be subject to prevailing measures upon arrival in Singapore, including a 14-day stay-home notice, COVID-19 testing protocols and safe management measures.
Employers who hire maids through this pilot will have to pay additional fees to cover the costs of overseas testing and onboarding of the maids.
“We will evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot in facilitating the entry of migrant domestic workers while minimising the risk of COVID-19 importation in Singapore. If feasible, we will explore facilitating the entry of more migrant domestic workers through this approach,” said AEA(S).
Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said MOM in May this year had to further reduce the number of maids entering Singapore in order to manage the risk of COVID-19 importation.
“This had inadvertently affected some of our families, in particular those with urgent caregiving needs. I held out hope that we would be able to restore inflow of migrant domestic workers as the COVID-19 situation stabilises, but it has proven to be challenging with the evolving and volatile situation globally,” Ms Gan said in a Facebook post.
She added that many of the maids in Singapore from countries with “high incidence” of COVID-19 cases.
“I am conscious that there are many who urgently require the support of domestic helpers. MOM will work with the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) to continue to give priority to families with urgent and challenging caregiving needs.
"Once there is more certainty on the COVID-19 situation, we will allow more domestic helpers to enter Singapore,” Ms Gan added.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the pilot programme is led by AEA(S), not MOM. We apologise for the error.