Oral Answer by Ministry of Manpower to Parliamentary Questions on FDWs and Moneylending
19 Nov 2018 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir SMC)
Mr Darryl David (Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC)
Ministry of Law and Ministry of Manpower provided a joint reply.
*2346. Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) over the past three years, how many cases are there of domestic helpers who have defaulted on loans from licensed moneylenders; (b) whether the Ministry intends to implement any restrictions on domestic helpers taking such loans; (c) what are the consequences for such repeat defaulters; and (d) what are the consequences for their employers.
*2347 Mr Darryl David: To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) over the past three years, how many domestic helpers have taken loans from unlicensed moneylenders; (b) what are the consequences for such domestic helpers; and (c) what recourse do the employers of these domestic helpers have should they be harassed by the unlicensed moneylenders.
*2386 Mr Sitoh Yih Pin: To ask the Minister for Law (a) what is the number of foreign domestic workers who have procured loans from licensed moneylenders in 2017 and 2018; (b) what are the liabilities for employers of foreign domestic workers who default on repayment of such loans; and (c) whether the Ministry has any plans to place any restrictions on foreign domestic workers procuring such loans.
Mr Darryl David and Mr Sitoh Yih Pin asked about the consequences for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) and employers, and the recourse for employers when FDWs borrow from licensed and unlicensed moneylenders. I will address these questions together.
Where licensed moneylending is concerned, FDWs who do not repay their loans may be subject to civil action by licensed moneylenders, as with any other borrowers. Employers of FDWs are not liable to repay any of their FDWs’ loans. It is an offence for licensed moneylenders to harass the FDWs or their employers for repayment, or employ an agent to do so. FDW employers who are harassed should report to the Police.
We do not condone any borrowing from unlicensed moneylenders by foreign workers. To send a clear signal of our strong stand, the Ministry of Manpower had earlier announced that if a work pass holder is found to have borrowed from unlicensed moneylenders, the employer will be informed and the employee’s work pass revoked. The foreign worker will then be repatriated and debarred from further employment in Singapore.
The rule against borrowing from unlicensed moneylenders will be implemented in 2019, following a period of education and communication with work pass holders and their employers. We will intensify efforts to help them learn about money management and the risks of borrowing from moneylenders.
Any person who is harassed by unlicensed moneylenders should report such activities to the Police. From 2008 to September 2018, the Police registered about 460 reports of harassment by unlicensed moneylenders arising from FDWs borrowing or acting as guarantors. The Police and Attorney-General’s Chambers have prosecuted errant debt collectors who have violated the law, and will continue to take strong enforcement action against such conduct.
MinLaw’s reply can be found here.
Last updated on 19 Nov 2018