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Question regarding expats and agencies.

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Question regarding expats and agencies.

Post by madharuhi » Sat, 19 Jul 2014 10:44 pm

Sorry, not sure if this goes into this section of the forum so I apologize if I'm not supposed to post this here.

I heard this from an acquaintance who works in a blue-collared work industry. He told me that there are a lot of expats over there who come here (most, if not all, from India) regularly to work for three month periods, doing manual labors. He asked some of them and found out that some of them are in fact, well-educated (with degrees from India universities) and all they want is to have "Singapore expatriate" in their resume so that it'll look nicer.

Here's the summarized points that I heard from him:
1. These poor guys earn merely $5 per hour, doing from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily with no rest days and no 1.5* for OT, so they earn 2.1k max if we consider 30 days per month.

2. Their duties detail some extremely tough manual labor, and sometimes they would knock off at 9:00 PM or so instead because they can't take it. They scrimp and save, and have no lodging so they sleep over at the factories for 3 months. Basically, very bad and cruel conditions.

3. The main point I want to ask about. When asked, they said their agents take $4000 from them at the end of the three months. That's at least 63% of their salaries deducted from them, and that's considering if any of them is actually able to work 8-11 daily for 7 days a week. Is this legal? It sounds way too ridiculous to be legal at all. Legal or not, something needs to be done about it because the agents are fattening their pockets while these poor souls work to death.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 19 Jul 2014 11:56 pm

Sure it's legal. Willing seller, willing buyer. Nobody make the labourer sign on the dotted line, do they? Is the agent twisting their arms to make 'em sign it? Nah. in fact, they are beating down their doors to be first in line. When the employer here has to furnish their lodging, transport to & from work and repatriation costs and the usually bunk in clusters of 4 to 8 in a room, they usually get by on 300/mo for food and use prepaid calling cards to keep in touch with home. Therefore, if they don't drink alcohol, they will find themselves saving over half their income to remit home to their families. So, if you want to be Don Quixote and tilt at windmills, feel free to do so. People have been tilting at that windmill for the 30+ years I've been here and haven't made any progress as of yet. Why? Willing seller, willing buyer. Simples. Good luck. You are gonna need it.

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Post by ecureilx » Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:00 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Sure it's legal. Willing seller, willing buyer. Nobody make the labourer sign on the dotted line, do they? Is the agent twisting their arms to make 'em sign it? .
I would have said nobody held a knife to the throat and forced the candidates ... in fact all are recruited by relatives so they know the earning potential, or most agents are relatives ...

oh, I have a standard reply for the sudden do- gooders, just educate YOUR people not to go than constantly blame the agents / employers

the opposite of 'when the buying stops ...' when nobody goes then there is no need to whine ...

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Post by brian_singapore » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 8:13 am

The agencies are able to charge such high amounts because of the supply side and the fact that in a third world country, salaries are very poor.

The part of the equation that is always missing from this type of question is:

What would be the working conditions and wages for the same work in their home country be? The answer is extremely dangerous and a couple of dollars a day.

Sitting on that side of the equation the contracts offered at face value look very good and the amount of money they do take home can be life-changing for them and their family.

Anyone abusing or failing to live up their obligations under these contracts should be sanctioned (including possible prohibited from employing migrant workers) but the basic contract exists because it provides a leg up and is a better opportunity for those who are coming over then those who stay home.

It should tell you something that a university graduate thinks its a good deal.

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