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Government drafting policy on exporting maids

The Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population is currently drafting a policy regarding sending Myanmar workers abroad, Minister U Thein Swe told The Myanmar Times on International Labour Day on Tuesday.

“We will send domestic workers abroad according to our new policy,” the minister said.

He added that the ministry is committed to assisting Myanmar expatriates in Singapore via the Myanmar Embassy. Myanmar’s ban on sending domestic workers to Singapore has failed to stem the flow of Myanmar labour to the island nation.

About 50 Myanmar nationals reach Singapore every day looking for work, according to Myanmar migrant activists.

They added that an estimated 50,000 Myanmar women are working in Singapore as domestic workers even though it is illegal for agencies to send Myanmar citizens to Singapore for domestic work.

Myanmar banned sending maids abroad in 2014 following reported complaints of abuses and the migration of over 100 domestic workers to Singapore via legal agencies.

“Workers are leaving for Singapore as part of a tour. They find domestic jobs via agencies when they got there. So, we have difficulties regulating them,” U Thein Swe said.

The minister also said that they have been assisting legal Myanmar expatriates in Singapore and are looking into tip-offs about illegal migration.

Ma Aye Mar Mar, a volunteer of the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) in Singapore, said, “Give them the rights to work legally as domestic workers. Sign an MoU with the officials of Singapore so that Myanmar workers can get legal protection against abuses by their employers.”

Migrant activists said that agencies are sending domestic workers to Singapore from Rakhine, Chin, Kayin and Shan states.

HOME’s members said that many child workers are employed in Singapore. Although Singapore set an age limit of 23, brokers and agencies are still sending underage workers by falsifying their documents.

They also said that Myanmar domestic workers are paid about S$460 to 500 monthly, but every Myanmar maid has to surrender about eight months of wages to brokers or job employment agencies.

There have been three suicides by Myanmar maids in Singapore, and other cases of abuse were recently opened.

Source: Myanmar Times

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