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22 November 2010

Raising the bar for employment agencies, employers and workers

22 November 2010

Today in Parliament, we introduced the Employment Agencies (Amendment) Bill 2010, which regulates the activities of all employment agencies in Singapore. 

When the Employment Agencies (EA) Act was last amended in 1984, there were only about 300 licensed EAs. Since then, it has grown more than seven-fold to over 2,500 EAs, with over 1,000 agencies involved in placing foreign workers. The amendments are therefore needed to keep pace with the new EA landscape we see today.

In recent years, MOM has also received an increasing number of complaints against unlicensed agencies. These include individuals or groups who pretend to be bona fide, but actually are not licensed or qualified to carry out EA work. Many were found to be involved in malpractices, including exploiting foreign and local workers and deceiving employers. They bring a bad name to the industry.

The proposed changes to the regulatory framework aim to raise the standard of recruitment practices in Singapore, as well as minimise abuse and malpractices. 

This will lead to heightened confidence in standards and professionalism of the industry. Employers will be assured of greater certainty and transparency in the recruitment process. For workers, local and foreign alike, their interests will be better protected. As a whole, the standard of recruitment practices in Singapore will improve, and in turn ensure Singapore remains a choice destination for experienced and skilled workers. These are all elements of an efficient and healthy labour market to support our vibrant and competitive economy.

Lee Yi Shyan
Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Manpower

Email your comments to blogback@mom.gov.sg

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