The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will prioritise families with caregiving needs when it comes to entry approvals for migrant domestic workers.
This was announced by the ministry in a Telegram update, and by Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang on Facebook, both on Oct. 18.
Back on May 7, 2021, MOM announced that it would not accept new applications for entry for work-pass holders from "higher-risk" countries and regions. At the time, "higher-risk" referred to all places except Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
This was due to a spike in Covid-19 cases and the "Heightened Alert" measures in May 2021. Only workers for key strategic projects and infrastructural works were still allowed entry.
Families with urgent caregiving needs to be prioritised
The restrictions affected the entries of new migrant domestic workers into Singapore.
However, in a written reply to a Parliamentary Question on Oct. 5, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said that applications for entry approvals would resume on Oct. 15, for entry into Singapore from Nov. 1, 2021 onwards.
Tan also highlighted the priority for families with urgent caregiving needs:
"MOM is doing our best to facilitate the entry of as many migrant domestic workers (MDWs) as possible, within the parameters allowed by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce. We have completed rescheduling MDWs whose entry approvals were postponed in May, for them to enter before the end of the year. We will continue to give priority to households with urgent and very challenging caregiving needs, particularly sick elderly and family members with special needs.
We will also be accepting new entry applications for vaccinated MDWs from 15 October 2021, for entry into Singapore from 1 November 2021. But as entry approvals continue to be limited for public health reasons, it could take around three to six months before their MDWs can enter, depending on the COVID situation at source and locally. If the situation improves in the region, we can approve more to enter."
Expect high demand for entry approvals
Gan confirmed in her post that the applications for the entry approvals have resumed as of Oct. 15.
Employers and employment agencies may submit their applications for vaccinated domestic workers to enter Singapore from November 1, 2021 onwards, via ICA’s SafeTravel portal.
However, due to the expected high demand, some employers may not be successful in obtaining their approval right away.
These employers can access the portal again in the subsequent weeks when more slots are available. MOM will review the quota of entry approvals again "as and when" the Covid-19 situation improves, said Gan.
Gan reiterated the Ministry's priority in granting such approvals for families with caregiving needs.
Alternative for employers
Gan also highlighted an alternative for employers (which Tan also mentioned in his Parliamentary reply).
The Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) (AEAS) started a pilot programme in July 2021, working with its overseas business partners to implement additional safe management measures prior to entry of the migrant domestic workers into Singapore.
Households who urgently need their services can consider this commercial programme, and more information can be found here.
Gan added, "MDWs who enter Singapore under the AEAS programme, if unvaccinated, will need to complete the full vaccination regimen within two months upon arrival."
You can see her post below:More details on the AEAS programme can be found in the following Facebook post:Top image from Gan Siow Huang and Tan See Leng's Facebook pages.
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