The initiative by the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) and the Philippine-based Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Singapore, with the support of the Philippine government, to cap the cash advance scheme for Filipino domestic workers is to be lauded ("New payment structure for maids from Philippines"; Jan 25).
The scheme is an important step in eradicating unethical business practices that have created undue financial hardship for foreign domestic workers.
But for it to work, there must be safeguards in place.
For a start, there must be effective enforcement to ensure compliance.
Errant recruiters must be identified and stringent penalties meted out, including but not limited to banning these agencies.
Whistle-blowing must be encouraged to weed out errant agencies.
Likewise, agencies which support the scheme should be commended and incentivised.
Foreign domestic workers who wish to work here should also be briefed by an independent party on the details of the scheme.
The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Skills Training will forward reports of errant employment agencies received via our 24-hour helpline, Facebook and our more than 6,000 foreign domestic worker volunteers and members to the authorities.
We call on other embassies to consider implementing similar schemes to protect the interests of their respective foreign domestic workers.
Seah Seng Choon
Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Skills Training