Understanding ethical recruitment for migrant workers and foreign domestic helpers (maids)

Published on 18 Dec 2023, last updated on 2 Feb 2024


Who are migrant domestic helpers?

Migrant domestic helpers are considered one of the most vulnerable groups of migrant workers. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) their vulnerabilities are often linked “to precarious recruitment processes (including passport and contract substitution as well as charging of excessive fees), the absence of adapted assistance and protection mechanisms, the social and cultural isolation they can face at the destination due to language and cultural differences, lack of advance and accurate information on terms and conditions of employment, absence of labour law coverage and/or enforcement in the country of destination, and restrictions on freedom of movement and association, among other things”.


What are placement fees?

Placement/recruitment fees are fees collected by the agency for their service in assisting migrant workers in successfully finding employment abroad.

According to the ILO, placement/ recruitment fees include:

  • payments for recruitment services offered by labour recruiters, whether public or private, in matching offers of and applications for employment;
  • payments made in the case of recruitment of workers with a view to employing them to perform work for a third party;
  • payments made in the case of direct recruitment by the employer; or
  • payments required to recover recruitment fees from workers.

These fees may be one-time or recurring and cover recruiting, referral and placement services which could include advertising, disseminating information, arranging interviews, submitting documents for government clearances, confirming credentials, organising travel and transportation, and placement into employment.

According to the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers and the Indonesian Embassy, migrant domestic helpers cannot be charged placement fees.

According to the ILO, related costs are: “any fees or costs incurred in the recruitment process in order for workers to secure employment or placement, regardless of the manner, timing or location of their imposition or collection”.

Recruitment-related costs include:

  • Travel-related costs, such as passport, visa, return flights, lodging, including for training, interviews, consular appointments, relocation, and return or repatriation, etc.
  • Medical-related costs, such as pre-departure medical examinations, tests, or vaccinations
  • Insurance costs
  • Training costs, such as mandatory government-required training
  • Any administrative or overhead fees associated with job placement, such as fees to prepare, obtain or legalise workers’ employment contracts, identity documents, passports, visas, background checks, security and exit clearances

Pinkcollar’s no-placement-fee policy

Pinkcollar follows the standards above in that we strictly do not charge placement fees to migrant domestic workers, nor do we permit employers to deduct salaries of workers upon commencing employment.

We also cover the following recruitment-related costs: pre-departure and post-arrival medical examination, insurance costs, training costs, international travel, visa and work permit costs, accommodation, notarisation and other administrative fees associated with job placement.

*As per the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration guidelines, passport application is a chargeable cost to overseas Filipino workers. Pinkcollar does not charge workers any fees for passport application, though we expect all workers who apply to work at Pinkcollar to already have a valid passport.


What is safe and dignified work?

As a social business, Pinkcollar has a zero tolerance approach for human trafficking, modern slavery and any other unethical and illegal conduct. We are also guided by the Philippine and Indonesian employment contracts that govern the legal, safe and dignified employment of migrant domestic helpers.

Our Ethical Hiring Pledge states that:

  • Workers must hold their own passport and identity documents at all times, as mandated by the Malaysian Passport Act 1966
  • Worker must be permitted to practise their religion and expressions of worship freely
  • Workers must not be deprived of communication with their friends and family, and must be permitted to hold onto their mobile devices
  • Workers rest days must be respected and workers must be permitted to leave the family home

Have more questions?

Pinkcollar is more than happy to guide you through the hiring process. View our services or give us a call—our friendly Pinkcollar officers are ready to share our service offerings with you.

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