Foreign Domestic Workers’ Survey in Singapore

A recent survey on foreign domestic workers in Singapore conducted by independent consultancy Research Across Borders, raised eyebrows. The survey looked into the foreign domestic workers’ pay and well-being from the perspectives of both foreign domestic workers and their employers. With guidance from your economics tutor in economics tuition, explain the importance of foreign domestic workers to Singapore’s economy. You may sign up for economics tuition with a reputable economics tutor today should you need help with this subject.

Foreign Domestic Workers’ Pay

There are currently more than 250,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore, making it one of the largest foreign domestic helper populations in Asia, just next to Hong Kong’s 400,000. These foreign domestic workers are mainly from nearby Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. You may consult your economics tutor in your economics tuition class why the need to have diversified sources of foreign domestic workers. Edmund Quek, founder and principal economics tutor of Economics Cafe Learning Centre is regarded by many as the best economics tutor in Singapore. His economics tuition centre is conveniently located within five minutes’ walk from the Bishan MRT Station.

According to data compiled from hundreds of job advertisements from HelperChoice, an online platform to connect employers and foreign domestic workers, the average monthly salary of foreign domestic workers in Singapore is $597. Typically, foreign domestic workers from Myanmar draw a minimum monthly salary of $450 while those from Indonesia and the Philippines draw a minimum monthly salary of $550 and $570, respectively. Apart from the monthly salary, employers of foreign domestic workers are obliged to provide food, lodging, medical expenses and pay for their return air tickets between Singapore and their hometowns. With assistance from your economics tutor in economics tuition, estimate the total cost of hiring a Filipino domestic worker throughout the 2-year employment period.

The minimum and average monthly salary for foreign domestic workers in Singapore are higher as compared with Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE and Dubai but lower as compared with Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the stipulated minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic workers is set at HK$4,630 per month by the government. This is equivalent to over S$800. Please discuss with your economics tutor in your economics tuition class to explain why Hong Kong employers must offer a much higher salary to attract foreign domestic workers.

Working Conditions

The survey found that 60 per cent of foreign domestic workers surveyed were exploited by their employers. Issues cited by the 735 Filipino and Indonesian respondents included poor living conditions, long working hours and employers’ unreasonable behaviours such as deduction of salary, threats, control and violence. Edmund Quek is arguably the best economics tutor who is well versed on various economic and social issues in Singapore. You may visit his website at to check out his economics tuition class schedule.

In response to the survey, MOM said the survey findings were “misleading” and used an “overly simplistic interpretation” as it did not take into consideration the unique nature of their work and the need for their employers to be fully accountable for their safety and well-being during the employment period. According to MOM’s own survey among foreign domestic workers in 2015, 97 per cent of the 1,000 respondents were happy working in Singapore and found their workload manageable. 76 per cent were willing to continue working here upon completion of their 2-year contract. MOM also conducts regular surveys among new foreign domestic workers and has found no well-being issues so far.

The findings from Research Across Borders and MOM seem to be contradicting with each other. It is for us to form our own opinion about foreign domestic workers’ well-being.

Linda Geng

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