MANILA, Philippines – An association of licensed recruiters has decided to stop sending household service workers to Singapore starting September to stamp out the practice of collecting “placement fees” from Filipinos seeking to work as domestics in the city-state.
Lucy Sermonia, president of Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Singapore (ALRAS), said the group decided to impose a moratorium effective September 2 so that member agencies can convince erring members to follow the government policy of “non-collection” of placement fees.
Member agencies “will also inform their Singapore counterparts that ALRAS members do not countenance the collection of placement fees or impose salary deductions on deployed HSWs (household serv ice workers) to Singapore,” Sermonia said in a statement.
She said the group’s general assembly on Friday, attended by 120 out of 130 members, arrived at the decision to implement the moratorium to convince Singapore agencies that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration does not allow the collection of placement fees.
“The members will present their stand to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz next week, which expresses their seriousness with this stop in deployment by submitting signed affidavits from the members,” Sermonia said.
POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac, who was present during the ALRAS assembly, said the agency will not hesitate to impose sanctions on agencies violating the “no placement fee” policy.
Bureau of Immigration airport chief Bienvenido Castillo also promised to monitor and off-load suspected tourist workers bound for Singapore in order to prevent illegal recruitment syndicates from sending undocumented workers there.
Recruitment industry consultant Emmanuel Geslani said Singapore was the fifth ranking destination of domestic workers and the Philippines deployed around 14,500 domestic workers to the city-state in 2012.
“However, the number of tourist workers who were able to secure work visas from some Singapore agencies are double the number of POEA processed workers,” Geslani said.
He added that there are around 150,000 domestic helpers in Singapore and the demand for such workers remains high.
“Singapore has a well developed economy with about 1.5 million expatriates working in all fields of their economy,” he said.
“After Taiwan imposed a ‘hiring freeze,’ which has affected 10,000 overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan, Filipinos interested to work in Singapore as HSWs may have to wait a little longer for their chance as local agencies have declared a self-imposed moratorium,” Geslani said.