Put a stop to maids borrowing from moneylenders

I have been hearing from friends and colleagues that many foreign domestic workers working in Singapore borrow from moneylenders, both legal and illegal.

These maids are charged exorbitant interest rates.

In some cases, the maids are introduced to moneylenders by their friends. They also act as guarantors for those who are borrowing money, in return for a commission.

If borrowers fail to pay, the moneylenders harass the guarantors, who in turn pester their friends to pay up.

The moneylenders also send letters of demand to the domestic workers' employers.

Some letters are polite and formal, while others can be nasty and threatening.

Maids seem to be able to borrow from many moneylenders at the same time, using their work permit.

Some maids even allow their friends to use their work permit to borrow money.

These maids are ignorant and do not fully understand the implications of borrowing from moneylenders, especially illegal ones.

The authorities might want to look into this and should prevent moneylenders lending to domestic workers.

Also, I suggest that the Ministry of Manpower allow the employers to keep the work permit, as some of these illegal moneylenders are sending threatening letters to the employers based on the address on the work permit.

Koh Yee Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2018, with the headline 'Put a stop to maids borrowing from moneylenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe