SINGAPORE: Singapore will allow vaccinated foreign domestic workers to enter the country from Nov 1 this year, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said on Tuesday (Oct 5).
The Manpower Ministry will begin accepting new entry applications for maids who are vaccinated from Oct 15, he said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.
However, as entry approvals continue to be limited for public health reasons, it could take around three to six months before their domestic workers can enter Singapore, he said, adding that this will also depend on the COVID-19 situation at source and locally.
"If the situation improves in the region, we can approve more to enter," he said.
Dr Tan said that the Ministry for Manpower (MOM) has completed rescheduling domestic workers whose entry approvals were postponed in May, and that they will be able to enter before the end of the year.
He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Dennis Tan (WP-Hougang), who had asked whether the Government will take "urgent steps" to allow more maids into Singapore to reduce the current waiting time for Singaporean households urgently requiring their services.
"We will continue to give priority to households with urgent and very challenging caregiving needs, particularly sick elderly and family members with special needs," Dr Tan said.
PILOT SCHEME TO BRING IN HELPERS
Dr Tan also said that households that need domestic helpers "urgently" can consider going through a pilot programme by the Association of Employment Agencies that began in July this year.
Under this commercial initiative that was started to meet the demand for domestic workers, the association works with its overseas business partners to implement additional safe management measures prior to the workers’ entry into Singapore.
The pilot has shown to be “effective” at reducing the risk of COVID-19 importation, Dr Tan said.
The pilot programme covers maids from Indonesia and the Philippines, according to the announcement in July.
The association and its partner employment agencies are "doing their best" to scale up the pilot to include domestic workers from other countries, said Dr Tan on Tuesday.
“However, they will need time to find suitable business partners to facilitate the ground processes in overseas countries and ensure that it remains effective at minimising importation risk,” he said.