Forum: Agency charges same amount for new and transfer maids

A domestic helper with an elderly man seen in Toa Payoh on Sept 12, 2019. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

I employed a transfer foreign domestic worker through a maid agency last month.

She had been sent back to the agency after working seven months with her former employer.

Still, I was charged the same agency fee as if I were employing a new maid who had yet to arrive in Singapore.

I asked for a reduction in the agency fee, as the maid's previous employer would already have paid that amount, but my request was rejected. The reason given was that it is the "industry norm".

I understand that the agent also imposes a $200 penalty on the maid for each transfer. And to replace a maid, the employer has to pay more administrative and documentation fees, even though the contract states "free replacement".

If the agency charges the same fee for both new and transfer maids, what incentive is there for it to ensure good standards, since with each transfer, there is more money to be made from both the employer and the maid.

The Ministry of Manpower would be helping many families if it could do something about the situation. For instance, it could check on agencies that have high transfer rates.

Employers who take on transfer maids should not be paying the same agency fees since the agency had already charged the first employer that amount.

I hope something can be done to address this issue.

Ng Beng Choo

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2020, with the headline Forum: Agency charges same amount for new and transfer maids. Subscribe