Starting Nov. 1, vaccinated foreign maids can enter and work in Singapore. The government will accept new applications from Oct. 15, provided they have their vaccinations.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said they would prioritize homes with immediate and demanding caregiving requirements. It includes sick, elderly household members, and those with special needs.
“As entry approvals continue to be limited for public health reasons, it could take around three to six months before their migrant domestic workers can enter, depending on the Covid-19 situation at source and locally. If the situation improves in the region, we can approve more to enter,” Tan said.
He added that Manpower Ministry (MOM) already took steps, enabling maids to work in the country. There was a delay in their entry approvals in May. But now, these vaccinated foreign maids can enter Singapore before the end of 2021.
Vaccinated Foreign Maids Only
In July, the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) likewise commenced a pilot program. The campaign helps meet the need for foreign vaccinated maids. Collaborating with overseas business partners places extra safety measures for maids in their home countries before entering Singapore. Foreign vaccinated maids, such as from Indonesia and the Philippines, could enter under this initiative.
Households that urgently need the services of foreign vaccinated maids can benefit from the program. It helps guard against maids infected with Covid-19.
The AEAS, together with its partner employment agencies, are boosting the program. It also expands to migrant domestic workers from other countries. However, they will need to wait until there are appropriate business partners to forward the ground processes. It is also to assure that it remains capable of reducing importation risks.
Next year, MOM plans to roll out a program that will mandate every employment agency to refund employers. It would be at least half of their service fees when a maid ceases to work in the first six months.
MOM will continue working on obtaining more vaccinated foreign maids into Singapore. It will be within the bounds of public health protection that the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force established.
More Job Vacancies to Fill
For more than six months or so, job vacancies still continue to rise. Several efforts continue to retrain and upskill workers with countless innovations. However, some 27% of vacancies in the country remain unfilled based on 2020 data. Job vacancies ratio to jobless individuals reached 1:63 in June of this year.
Many of the vacancies are in the construction sector. The shortage is due to border measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19. The labor market is in a varying state of irregular swing and extreme tension. Because of this, it isn’t easy to align all job vacancies with job seekers.
Vacancies that continue accumulating and, when left unfilled, have underlying reasons. It means that the market has difficulty in acquiring and finding the right people, according to Tan.
However, challenges remain in filling the vacancies. Some took longer to fill because of a small wage. Another reason is that workers do not find the working conditions favorable. It is why businesses should redesign their work procedures. It includes tasks and responsibilities or evaluating their system. Employers who utilized this approach found that workers recruited in such programs are a good fit.
On the other hand, the employment rate of workers aged 65 and older rose to 28.5% in 2020. It jumped by 0.9% from 27.6% in 2019.