Filipinos awaiting approval to work in Singapore for the first time may have to defer jobs there due to the government’s latest suspension of issuing overseas employment certificates (OECs) to citizens.

The Philippine government announced on October 15 that it would suspend the processing of applications for OECs for 15 days so it can investigate illegal recruitment practices, and that period could be extended if necessary, Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.

Singapore employers in various land-based industries would all be hit by the temporary unavailability of Filipino maids, private nurses and engineers, K Jayprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), said.

The organization appealed to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to shorten the suspension period if possible, she added.

According to statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, there were 141,453 Filipinos working in Singapore for various land-based industries in 2015.

Many Singapore families with working parents were upset by the policy, a report by Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) said.

At least 30 families were affected, a spokesman for the Best Home Employment Agency said. And the number could rise to 50 families if the suspension was extended.

Winnie Wang, from Advance Link International Pte Ltd, said one-third of her clients, most of whom have children, would not able to welcome their Filipina maids as scheduled.

Read: Manila suspends processing of maids’ work certificates