We are sorry to hear about the experience of Ms Ivy Teo Siok Cheng (Why were personal details given to maid’s prospective employer?, April 20).
Since 2010, employers have been able to share feedback on their former migrant domestic workers with other prospective employers, to help them make informed hiring decisions.
This practice is similar to how prospective employers may reach out to referees of job applicants.
It is up to employers to decide if they wish to be referees for their former helpers, and to give consent to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for their contact information to be shared with other prospective employers.
About 10,000 employers have done so. They may withdraw their consent any time by writing to MOM.
Ms Teo indicated that she wanted to be a referee in 2011.
She had agreed then that MOM could provide her contact number and e-mail address to prospective employers of her former helper.
This month, upon receiving an application for the same helper, MOM provided Ms Teo’s contact to the prospective employer.
MOM takes its responsibility of safeguarding personal data of its clients seriously.
We wish to assure employers that no personal data other than contact information is provided.
In Ms Teo’s case, the prospective employer may have formed an impression of her former helper’s work experience from another MOM e-service that helps prospective employers find better matches.
This e-service does not reveal the identity of the employers.
MOM has contacted Ms Teo to acknowledge her feedback and provide its explanation.
We have processed her request to withdraw from being a referee, and will introduce a new feature to limit the period of validity of the consent.
Director, Customer Operations
Work Pass Division
Ministry of Manpower