The Settling-in Programme (SIP)  for new maids, expected to start in the middle of 2012, is likely to cost $50 to $120 for a one-day or one-and-a-half-day course, reported the Straits Times,  December 21, 2011.

This estimate was given as the Ministry of Manpower conducted a briefing for likely providers of the course. Among conditions course providers would have to meet are the capacity to hold classes for 45,000 maids each year in four languages: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Myanmar and Tagalog.

This nugget of information signals MOM’s projection of the annual inflow of new domestic workers and the likely source countries, generally unchanged from previously. However, Singapore also has some domestic workers from Sri Lanka and India, although they are few in number. In the absence of SIP in their native languages, what are the implications for future sourcing of domestic workers from there?

The other significance of the figure of 45,000 new domestic workers a year is that with 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore currently, this works out to an average stay of four-and-a-half years per worker.

The Straits Times included a line from TWC2’s recent press release on SIP:

Migrant welfare groups hope the course content will meet the needs of maids and not just the demands of employers. Said Dr Noorashikin Abdul Rahman, vice-president of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2): ‘We urge the ministry to emphasise the rights and dignity of the workers… We don’t want the helpers to be trained just to always say ‘yes’ to their employers.’