Recruiters stop deployment of maids to Singapore

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 02 2013 07:35 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2013 03:35 PM

MANILA - A group of local recruiters has declared a moratorium on the deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Singapore.

The Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Singapore (ALRAS) yesterday said all their members would stop sending Filipino HSWs to Singapore starting today.

Lucita Sermonia, ALRAS president, said they declared a moratorium in a bid to stop their counterparts in Singapore from collecting placement fees.

“We say no to placement fee collections that are done through deductions from the monthly salaries of the workers,” Sermonia said in a statement.

She said their group is pushing for reforms in the hiring of HSWs, including a stop to the collection of placement fees.

“We are telling our counterparts in Singapore about the need to adhere to Philippine laws and rules on overseas employment which prohibit the collection of placement fees from household service workers,” Sermonia said.

She called on other recruitment agencies to join the moratorium and also stop collecting placement fees to avoid cancellation of their licenses.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Cacdac said the government supports any move to uphold the household reform package, which includes the prohibition on placement fee collection.

He said any recruitment agency that will violate the policy would face cancellation of its license to operate and would be barred from deploying workers abroad.

Earlier this year, recruiters sending domestic helpers to Hong Kong also staged a deployment moratorium to pressure their counterparts to abide by POEA rules.

Sermonia said they would not resume deployment of HSWs until the foreign recruitment agencies in Singapore will agree to stop the collection of placement fees.

According to Sermonia, Singaporean employers have agreed to comply with the minimum monthly pay of $400 for Filipino HSWs as early as last year.

“The Singaporean employers’ compliance shows that they can afford and are willing to pay for the services of HSWs, although collection of fees has remained a problem since many agencies refuse to discard the practice,” she said.

She said the moratorium is a private initiative of ALRAS. She urged concerned government agencies to undertake measures to prevent illegal deployment of HSWs to Singapore.

More than 20,000 Filipino workers were deployed to Singapore last year, most of them HSWs.

Recruiters said at present, there are about 150,000 Filipinos working as HSWs in Singapore.