CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Myanmar Bans Permit For Nationals Seeking To Work As Domestic Helpers Abroad

A Myanmar national working as a domestic helper abroad is seen in this undated photo.

Myanmar issued a temporary ban for its women nationals seeking work as domestic helpers in Singapore.

The ban came after concerns on exploitation and abuse for female citizens of Myanmar workers abroad as house helpers. This was according to a statement issued by an employment agency in the country on September 13.

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The temporary halt also came after reports of global abuse done to Asian domestic helpers. This included the case of a household helper allegedly tortured for months by her Hong Kong national employer.

The case of Indonesian household helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has sparked international concerns regarding the treatment of domestic helpers abroad.

Myanmar only allowed its citizens to work as domestic helpers abroad last year. However, the new ruling said that it would impose the halt until an agreement with Singapore is met regarding compensation and worker rights.

Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation Vice Chairman Soe Myint Aung told AFP that they have been informed regarding cases wherein Myanmar domestic helpers were abused in Singapore.

Furthermore, the vice chairman said the labor ministry has suspended issuing permits for women seeking overseas employment as house helpers until a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Singapore.

The date of suspension was not mentioned although the vice chairman said meetings have already started about a month ago to discuss the matter.

The migration law of Myanmar has been amended in 2013. This allowed its citizens to work as house hold helpers in countries including Hong Kong and Singapore.

According to the official, issuance of permits to work in Hong Kong has also been suspended although he did not specify the date when it took place. The southern Chinese city has received 19 Myanmar female domestic helpers last February.

On the other hand, migration experts have already warned before regarding the poor treatment for Myanmar nationals who work as domestic helpers abroad.

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