Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lankan Mission in Singapore advises prospective domestic workers

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore has received a number of complaints from Sri Lankan housemaids, who are employed in Singapore relating mainly to the payment of wages and working conditions as well as compelling them to be involved in illicit activities. Housemaids account for approximately 15,000 out of the total expatriate Sri Lankan population of about 23,000 in Singapore.
A significant number of housemaids have neither been registered with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) nor secured employment in Singapore, through SLBFE licensed employment agencies.
Many of these housemaids face problems with their employers, since they have not been adequately briefed by the employment agencies on their duties, emoluments and prevailing rules and regulations in Singapore, governing domestic workers. As a large number of the housemaids report to the Sri Lankan High Commission without any details of their employers or employment agencies, the Mission finds it extremely difficult to assist them.
The High Commission has received complaints that unscrupulous recruitment agents in Sri Lanka have levied exorbitant sums of money from prospective housemaids, making false promises of high salaries and brought them to Singapore on visit visas, in contravention of Singaporean immigration regulations.
The Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore strongly advises all prospective Sri Lankans wishing to secure domestic employment in Singapore to ensure that they register themselves with the SLBFE and also follow the mandatory training programme conducted by the Bureau, prior to their departure.
Housemaids who have received such training and an orientation on the working conditions in Singapore are better equipped to handle the household chores assigned by their employers and also able to command higher salaries and perks, compared to the untrained housemaids.
Further, they will be covered by the insurance scheme of the SLBFE and would also benefit from the protection afforded by relevant Singapore government regulations governing domestic workers.

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