A total of 23 employers in Singapore who had illegally deployed their foreign domestic helpers to do other jobs over the past three years have been barred from hiring maids.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Manpower supplied to the Shin Min Daily News, authorities handled more than 400 cases involving the illegal deployment of foreign domestic workers between 2015 and 2017.

Twenty-three of those cases resulted in people being found to have illegally sent their maids to work for someone else or to perform non-domestic chores such as helping out in shops as assistants.

Winnie Wang Yang, an Overseas Recruitment Consultant of Advance Link International Pte Ltd, said that in the past some employers may have unintentionally violated the rule when they were going overseas for a holiday or for a short-term assignment, leaving their maids with a friend or relative, instead of keeping them at home or letting them return home for leave.

However, these were rare occasions in recent years as the ministry stated the employment rule and work permit conditions very clearly, and agencies would also remind employers of the maids’ duties and responsibilities.

At present, foreign maids in Singapore can only work at the residential address stated in their work permits. Employers who violate the rule could face a fine of up to S$10,000 (US$7,452) and might also be banned from employing maids in the future.