A pilot scheme in Singapore that allows families to hire foreign workers to clean their homes for short periods could be expanded to include foreigners providing part-time caregiving services, according to a senior government official.

The Household Services Scheme, which has been piloted since September 2017, permitted 25 cleaning service companies in the country to hire foreign women from Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka as cleaners to provide hourly-based services, the Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.

Melvin Yong, parliament member representing Tanjong Pagar GRC, noted that the scheme currently was only for companies that provide cleaning services and thus he urged the ministry to extend the scheme to caregiving services.

Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, replied in a parliamentary meeting on May 7 that the ministry will look into the suggestion. However he stressed that it depended on there being sufficient demand for such a service.

Yong also asked for the rationale for giving foreign domestic workers a two-year work permit, while Desmond Choo, representing Tampines GRC, asked whether the Manpower Ministry would introduce shorter-term work permits for them.

The mandatory two-year-long permit was intended to provide a duration which was sufficiently long enough to help the foreign women pay their debts to their employment agents as well as give them and their employers time to build a relationship that works, Low replied.

It was meant to provide “certainty and stability” for both the workers and employers, she added.