I FULLY agree with the “Still a Frustrated Employer” (Opinion page letter dated Nov 1, 2014). The relevant department should reveal us the reasoning behind fixing the agency fee at $2,900.
After my daughter finished her studies and got herself a stable job, she tried to apply for a maid quota. But it was rejected by the Labour Department after an interview, the reason being both her parents are still healthy even at old age and she is still young and single.
My daughter told them she worked late most of the time, so she needs someone to do the house chores like cooking and laundry but most importantly to have someone at home to give her parents company.
The lady who interviewed her said her mother even after the age of 60 remains healthy and handles the housework herself.
My daughter kept reiterating that her parents have already retired, and her mother should completely relax at her age while someone can take care of them.
But the officer refused to listen to her and rejected her request. We have hired a part-time amah now which costs us $20 for eight hours. The agency said they cannot do anything as my daughter is single and doesn’t have children.
Some people have offered us their quota at an annual fee of B$300 and $50 per month to get an amah, but we have to pay and arrange for the amah with the agency. Honestly, we once tried using such a quota, but unfortunately the amah didn’t last long.
The agent had sent the amah to our place. Her previous employer didn’t want her as she was too young and didn’t know how to do housework. We didn’t mind and gave her a chance. We let her get used to the environment first as she was new and had just been transferred from her previous employer. But within a week she told us she wanted to go back.
If my daughter gets an amah to take care of people around her age, I will certainly find it ridiculous. But my daughter wants to get a maid for the family. I don’t know why the relevant department had rejected her request?
We had even found a nice lady that we wanted to hire as our maid after our close friend had some financial problem and had to send her back. We tried to get her but we could not get the quota.
My daughter doesn’t want to take the risk of using other people’s quota and it’s not right. There are people who have multiple quotas – one driver, one gardener, two-three amahs just for two old people in one big house. If the authorities want to control the number of domestic workers in Brunei, they should target people with multiple quotas instead of people like us asking for just one.
Even though we are paying much higher to hire a part-time maid, this maid of our choice has good character and domestic skills. If we take from an agency, we are sure we will not get this quality.
The agencies should let us meet maids and engage them on a trial period. The government should let us have our right to get the maid ourselves, and not give all the rights to agencies to take all our money and the maid, too.
Maids who are hired through agencies end up working without pay for the first six months as they have to pay the agency. Is it not ridiculous after the agency charges the employer $2,900?
If we are allowed to bring amahs ourselves, there is no need to spend so much money in the first place and we can get the process done and bring the maid by plane to Brunei. The amah can also start earning straight away as she won’t have to forego her six-month wages to the agency as commission.
Why are we giving chances to those agencies to “eat” our money?
– Senior Citizen