How did the Pandemic Affect Migrant Domestic Worker Agencies?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores in March 2020, the past two years have been a hectic one, especially for migrant domestic worker agencies here in Singapore. With frequent updates to border restrictions and safe management measures at the workplace, it’s easy for such agencies to be overwhelmed with changes that seem to have no end.

As for agencies that are already struggling with a shortage of migrant domestic workers, the latest restrictions on entry for work pass holders is making the situation even more challenging than before. This is because since the pandemic, some migrant domestic workers have gone home and very few managed to return to work in Singapore.

For this reason, many migrant domestic worker agencies have had to adapt to the limitations and seek out ways to go around the changes and ensure that both the employers and migrant domestic workers benefit. Let’s take a look at how some of the agencies go around the changes.

How did migrant domestic worker agencies adapt to the changes?

Shrinking agencies’ workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many white-collar workers into seclusion and some into unemployment as employers try to deal with financial strains. Similarly, migrant domestic worker agencies here in Singapore have had to do the same as there were little to no revenue to sustain the operations.

In some cases, staff members were asked to go on unpaid leave as the agency couldn’t afford to pay them their salaries. This calls for some financial support from the government for the agencies to continue operating.

Deploying migrant domestic workers who are already in Singapore

Due to travel restrictions, employers who have difficulties in sending home their migrant domestic workers can transfer the latter to a new employer directly or through an employment agency.

While this may not be profitable for employers and migrant domestic worker agencies, it helps to ensure certain households in Singapore receive the help they require. If the transfer is unsuccessful, the employer or employment agency will be responsible for sending her home.

What are the steps taken to ensure the safety of both migrant domestic workers and employers?

General precautionary measures

Under the MOM’s advisory to migrant domestic workers, employers and employment agencies on COVID-19, both employers and migrant domestic workers are advised to adopt general precautionary measures to protect themselves and their households.

This includes practising good personal hygiene by doing the following:

  • Washing hands frequently with soap, especially before handling food or eating, or after going to the washroom.
  • Covering one’s mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and disposing of the soiled tissue immediately. 
  • Avoid sharing food/drinks, utensils, toothbrushes or towels with others.
  • Visiting the doctors if anyone in the household feels unwell or develops symptoms.

With such measures in place, it can help to curb the spread within a household while ensuring that everyone is healthy and doesn’t become a potential spreader at home.

Additional precautionary measures

Migrant domestic workers who are required to care for young children, the elderly or those with illnesses or special needs are encouraged to take additional measures to protect the vulnerable.

This includes monitoring the health of those under the migrant domestic worker’s care, conducting regular temperature screening, and reaching a mutual agreement on rest day arrangements between the employers and migrant domestic workers.

Under the same advisory as above, migrant domestic worker agencies and employers are advised to encourage their migrant domestic workers to not gather in public areas when they’re out running errands. This is to prevent community spread.

Home leave arrangements

For agencies in charge of migrant domestic workers who plan to travel back home, they should discuss and come to a mutual agreement to postpone home leave until the situation stabilises. Employers of the said migrant domestic workers should also inform them that they may be subject to Stay-Home Notice upon returning to Singapore.

Maintaining open communication with each other (migrant domestic worker agency, employer, and migrant domestic worker) during this period will help to ensure the safety of all involved.

In conclusion, migrant domestic worker agencies here in Singapore can and will continue to adapt to the changes during this pandemic to ensure that every household need is met.

Homekeeper can help with your household needs

If you’re looking to hire a migrant domestic worker with the help of a migrant domestic worker agency here in Singapore, Homekeeper is here to help with the tedious and time-consuming process. You only need to reach out to us and we will take care of the paperwork and training.

We can also help to process the necessary documents for you and your migrant domestic worker. On top of that, we provide maid pre-employment training to ensure that your migrant domestic worker meets your household needs. Reach out to us by calling (65) 6468 5220, WhatsApp (65) 8515 5527, or email

About the Author

Linda Seh has over 20 years of experience in the Employment industry. She takes the time to thoroughly interview each family and helper to understand their requirements, personalities, and preferences. Her intuition and insight has helped her make placements that result in lasting, harmonious working relationships. Linda now leverages this expertise and experience to simplify your search and ensure you find the ideal and qualified helper to become a valued member of your family.