Foreign domestic helpers allowed to return

Aziz Idris

Foreign domestic helpers (housemaids) are allowed to return to Brunei Darussalam to work for their employers provided that protocols and procedures set by authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 virus are fulfilled.

This was said by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong in response to a question regarding households having difficulties balancing work and house chores in the absence of housemaids, during the press conference at the Ministry of Health yesterday.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) through the Labour Department and the Immigration and National Registration Department will permit foreign domestic helpers who faced delays in returning back to employers (in Brunei) due to COVID-19 restrictions as long as procedures set by the authorities are followed. This includes swab test, paying airfare and other travel advisories,” he said.

According to local regulations, the application for foreign domestic helpers is to be made at the Immigration and National Registration Department. Individuals entering the country must be negative in the COVID-19 test result taken 72 hours before departing for Brunei Darussalam. Upon arrival, they must undergo mandatory self-isolation at a government approved hotel for a period of between two to 14 days.

It is the responsibility of the traveller or sponsoring agency to contact hoteliers and secure accommodation before arrival.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act (Amendments) Order 2020, travellers arriving in Brunei Darussalam are required to undergo mandatory self-isolation. Failure to comply is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204) and if found guilty, will be liable to a fine for up to BND10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to six months or both.