Review conditions for transferring maids

Lately, there has been a rise in the number of foreign domestic workers requesting a transfer to other employers.

However, they cannot do so because their employers refuse to sign a letter of consent, a condition imposed by the Ministry of Manpower.

I understand the rationale for obtaining letters of consent if the maid still has a financial obligation to fulfil.

But, thereafter, these maids should be able to transfer without the need for a letter of consent.

Locals are allowed to seek other employment once they have fulfilled the obligations of their contracts. Why are foreign domestic workers barred from doing the same?

Preventing them from leaving their employer sometimes causes them to have mental breakdowns.

In some cases, maids are repatriated once they inform their employer of their intention to transfer.

They then have to incur high debts again to look for employment in Singapore.

It is time that the MOM review this condition and ensure fair workplace practices apply to all.

Alice Cheah (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Review conditions for transferring maids'. Print Edition | Subscribe