Some Singaporeans who employ foreign domestic workers will face higher government levies next year, especially those who have more than one maid.

Currently, employers who do not qualify for lower “concessionary” charges must pay a levy of S$265 (US$200) per month for the privilege of having a maid. If they have a second maid, they must pay S$265 for her as well.

But as of April 1 next year, the levy for the first maid will go up by 13% to S$300 a month, and for the second maid by a whopping 70%, to S$450 a month.

The increases were announced on Monday by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as part of his 2018 budget statement, Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.

Most Singaporeans qualify for concessionary levies, which are considerably lower, just S$60 a month. These are charged for maids hired to care for elderly family members, children, or disabled people. However, the minimum age for the elderly concession will go up in April 2019 from 65 to 67 years.

The policy changes are primarily aimed at avoiding over-dependency on foreign domestic workers, Heng said during his budget speech to Parliament.

Over the past decade the number of foreign maids in the country has increased by about 40%, to 240,000 persons in 2017.