27 September 2019

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Manpower on September 27, 2019, two domestic workers were fined and banned from working in Singapore for illegally helping other maids to acquire loans from money lenders.

The two maids, Obillo Arlenes Manale (50) and Jenalyn Masirag Gannaba (39), were found guilty of working illegally as middlemen for a moneylender and sentenced. They were fined S$5,000 and S$8,000, respectively, according to a news release by MOM. The domestic worker’s work permits are likely to be revoked and barred from entering or working in the country.

Gannaban and Manale had helped other maids to acquire loans from a licensed money lender and were earning a monthly commission ranging from $100 to $400. Based on MOM’s investigations, the two scheduled appointments with VM Credit to facilitate loan processing for other maids. In return, they received $10-$30 from their colleagues for each loan application approved. Janalyn is believed to have earned $100 to $150 monthly, and Obillo earned around $300-$400 between June 2017 and November 2018.

Some of the common reasons domestic workers resort to borrowing from moneylenders are to meet healthcare and education expenses for their families at home. This is because most domestic workers are the breadwinners of their families. This could pressure them to seek the help of licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

A foreign domestic work is perceived to be working without a valid work pass in the individual who has a second job, according to MOM. If found guilty, they’re fined up to $20,000 or sentenced to a maximum of two years in jail. The convicts will also have their work permits revoked, be deported back to their home countries, and be barred from entering and working in Singapore.