You just found out that your helper has borrowed some money from money lenders. Your helper shared about it with you or you received a call, SMS or an in-person visit from a lender asking for the money back. You are not sure how to react and what are your obligations.
First, don’t panic. You are not liable to pay for any loan taken by your helper. And we invite you to follow the advices below.
Find out who she borrowed from as there are two categories of money lenders: Licensed and Unlicensed. You can check through the licensed money lenders list to see who your helper has borrowed from. *Note: Unlicensed money lenders are considered “Loan Sharks”.
Next, you should access the situation and check for the following things: (1) How much she have borrowed, (2) How many money lenders she have borrowed from, (3) The interest rate, (4) Number of installments and (5) why she borrowed. The reason she borrowed could be due to family issues, or celebrating positive events of their loved ones (i.e. Graduation, Wedding). Sometimes, it may be due to trivial things such as buying a new mobile phone.
If your helper has borrowed from licensed money lenders:
First, you can contact your agency to ask for advice on what to do and how to proceed. Secondly, you can proceed to the money lender to negotiate for a reduction in the loan. If you want to be involved, you can have an informal arrangement with your helper to pay back the loan via an installment plan.
If they are harassing you, they are breaking the law and you are advised to report the harassment to the police “999”.
If your helper has borrowed from loan sharks:
Do not worry, you are not obliged to pay back the loan! You can expect that they will harass you through threatening text messages, sending disturbing videos as well as knocking on your house door.
If you are being harassed at your doorstep, you should ask the harasser to show their identification and call the police immediately. Normally, the harasser would be reluctant to show their identification and would leave.
If you are receiving threatening text messages or videos, you should be doing the following:
(1) Do not reply or interact with the loan shark
(2) Notify the police via the police emergency hotline “999” or via i-Witness, or call the National Crime Prevention Council’s X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5564
(3) Report the number as “Spam” and block the number using readily available spam filter application
Once you have accessed the situation, you have the option of going through this difficult situation with your helper or the possibility of cancelling the work permit or transferring your helper. *Note: We Are Caring Agency does not accept helpers who have borrowed from money lenders.
Of course, the saying “Prevention is always better than cure” rings true for many. As such, you should always advise your helper on financial management or can even approach Aihda for courses on financial management for your helper.