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Maid says agency wants S$700 to replace her lost passport – Singapore News

“Is the passport made of gold? Charging $700 is tooooo much & robbery, at most $150 for their service,” one netizen commented

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SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic helper who lost her passport in Indonesia said her agency wanted S$700 in order to help.

In an anonymous post to a support group for domestic helpers and employers, the maid wrote that she is an Indonesian woman. Her agent offered to help her get her passport replaced in Batam for almost S$700. She asked netizens if this was a normal price. Along with the hefty price tag, she would have to stay in Batam for almost a month and would have her salary deducted for repayments for five months. She asked netizens if the price was normal and reached out to other agents or helpers with experience to advise her.

Out of those who responded in the group, it became quickly clear that S$700 to replace her passport was too high an amount. One netizen said it was done for less than S$60: “just go to any imigrasion (sic) at ur place,my son once lost his passport then apply online within one week done and only paid 600rb or $55″. Another netizen said that for Filipino passports, replacements usually cost S$104, with replacement Indonesian passports costing S$35. A third commenter said: “Is the passport made of gold? Charging $700 is tooooo much & robbery, at most $150 for their service. Agency are ‘like robbers’, don’t care if they overcharge you, dare care if you are DW earning a decent living so long their agency earn from you”.

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Earlier this year, another foreign domestic helper took to social media asking how many months of salary deductions an agency could make.

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Well, according to the Manpower Ministry (MOM), “Singapore employment agencies (EAs) are allowed to collect no more than 1 month of a worker’s fixed-monthly salary for each year of service, capped at 2 months’ salary. This fee cap is in place to protect vulnerable workers who may not have bargaining powers. Foreign workers can refer to the in-principle approval (IPA) letter that MOM issues to them before their arrival in Singapore. The IPA letter includes details such as a worker’s fixed-monthly salary and fees paid to the Singapore EA”.

“It is an offence for an EA to charge excessive agency fees. Workers who are being overcharged can contact MOM for assistance. All information will be kept strictly confidential,” the MOM added.

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