Sama, a Singapore-based start-up registered agency is becoming popular among migrant workers who want to get jobs in Singapore. The job-matching platform ensures that poor migrant workers from countries such as Bangladesh and India do not have to pay lakhs to agents.
Co-founders Nemanja Grujicic and Kirtan Patel launched Sama in April. They said their agency is different from other local agencies because this agency charges a maximum fee of two months' salary and they are convincing companies to pay the fee, rather than the worker.
"We believe that workers are more productive when they are working not to avoid debt but to earn more and build a life," Co-founder Kirtan Patel told The BBC.
To reduce workers' reliance on foreign agents, the company is also applying for a licence to operate in Bangladesh and India, fellow co-founder Nemanja Grujicic said.
"If you lose control of any part of the recruiting chain there is a massive probability someone is going to charge the worker several thousand dollars," Grujicic said.
Job hunters can communicate with the company via WhatsApp. There they can submit their documents such as training certificates, identification and work history. Then they are given a link to the online platform and matched to jobs in Singapore, based on their skills.
Currently, the platform has 1,500 people registered, and also allows workers to have their salary put into a digital wallet so they can transfer money home instantly.
Bangladeshi migrant workers are already benefitting from Sama.
Ali Zahid, 28 years old, has been working in Singapore for five years. He was among the first to find employment through Sama as a driver for a construction company. After his previous job finished and needed a new job after his previous one finished.
"They helped me to get a good job and it was not hard," he told The BBC.
He earns around $700 each month and sends much of that back to his family in Bangladesh. He hopes to return to the country and start a business by saving the rest of the money.
Employers are also using this platform to recruit, such as Chua Chee Pin. He is the director of his family's sawmill and woodwork business, Tat Hin Timber.
He employed one person through Sama and paid the platform's fee. "If I look after my workers' basic needs, I hope they will look after my business by being responsible and motivated," he told The BBC.
Singapore's Ministry of Manpower said in a statement that "most employers in Singapore are responsible and enlightened" and that a 2018 survey found migrant workers were well treated and happy.
It also said that while it cannot regulate foreign agents, it "continues to engage their embassies and relevant counterparts when we are made aware of malpractices in their home countries".