Singaporeans have been warned that they may see fewer foreign domestic workers coming to the city-state if it does not make improvements to the protections and welfare of migrant workers.

In a commentary published by Channel News Asia, columnist Anju Mary Paul acknowledged that compared with some other places, Singapore was relatively good at taking care of foreign workers.

“It is true that compared [with] countries in the Middle East, Singapore has a much better track record when it comes to the treatment of foreign domestic workers,” Paul said.

However, she said more than half of the maids working in Singapore used their experience as a stepping stone to secure jobs in more attractive overseas destinations such as Hong Kong and Canada.

Maids opt to work in countries such as Canada because they are protected under their labor laws. In Hong Kong, domestic workers earn a higher monthly salary than in Singapore and are entitled to a weekly rest day. They are also protected under the Employment Ordinance.

“If Singapore does not position itself as a top destination for such migrants, the best of these workers will continue seeking out destinations where they can enjoy better working conditions and protections,” Paul said.