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More helpers can enter Singapore if Covid situation stabilises

More migrant domestic workers (MDWs) will be able to enter Singapore in the coming months if the Covid-19 situation continues to stabilise locally and regionally, Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said yesterday.

Due to the high demand for entry approvals, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will continue to prioritise families with caregiving needs, Ms Gan told the House in response to MPs who asked about the number of domestic helpers allowed into Singapore in recent months as well as the related costs.

MOM will also help to facilitate the entry of MDWs for households with healthcare workers, so these workers can better focus on their work.

Ms Gan revealed that from May to last month, an average of 900 MDWs entered Singapore monthly, as entry approvals for such workers had been tightened since May to manage Covid-19 importation risks.

This compares with an average of 3,400 MDWs each month from January to April.

Responding to a question from Mr Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC) on expected figures, Ms Gan said several thousand such workers are waiting to enter Singapore over the next three months.

"But I think the more important point is how we are able to gradually increase the entry of MDWs while protecting public health in Singapore," she said.

Households that still require MDWs urgently may consider the commercial programme by the Association of Employment Agencies (Aeas) that helps with the transfer of domestic workers who already have the relevant documentation overseas, Ms Gan noted.

As at the end of last month, the Aeas initiative has facilitated the entry of more than 1,000 MDWs from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. The scheme will also be expanded to India.

The fees charged vary across employment agencies, service providers and the home countries of the MDWs.

Households with financial difficulties can apply for waiver of costs of local Covid-19 tests and stay-home notice dedicated facility accommodation for newly arrived MDWs in Singapore. - THE STRAITS TIMES

Employment