Commonly Asked Questions When Hiring Maids In Singapore

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1. Commonly Asked Questions When Hiring Maids In Singapore

It is difficult knowing everything before hiring a maid, especially with Singapore’s strict regulations and policies on foreign domestic workers. Here, we attempt to answer the most commonly asked questions in the maid industry, covering from maid levy to the salary of a maid.


What are the employment rules for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore?

We refer you to for more accurate information.

What is the employer’s guide for foreign domestic worker

We refer you to for more accurate information.

Who can apply for an FDW?

  • What requirements do I have to fulfil to hire a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)?
  • Who can apply a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)?

We refer you to for more accurate information.

In general, the criteria are:

  • Be 21 years old and above
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Have the mental capacity to understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer fully.

Your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep the FDW in acceptable accommodation will also be considered.




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Can I employ two maids?

MOM will consider applications for a second FDW if you have caregiving needs, such as having two or more children below the age of 18 or a parent or parent-in-law over 60 years old living with you.

You will be assessed on your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep more than one FDW in acceptable accommodation.

Can I repatriate the FDW without going through the agency?

Yes, the employer can repatriate the FDW without going through maid agencies as long as such action does not breach any of the clauses in the service agreement between the employer and the agency.

However, agencies protect your interest by discharging your responsibilities when you deal through them, and we strongly recommend you to do so.

What are the obligations of the employer to the maid?

There is a general employer’s guide on hiring a foreign domestic worker.

Generally, the obligations can be classified into the following:

  • To pay her salary on a timely basis
  • To provide rest days and ensure their well-being
  • Having contracts and safety agreements
  • Resolving disputes
  • To provide adequate food and suitable
  • To provide medical care (includes hospitalization)
  • To provide a safe working environment
  • To give her the respect

What are the eligibility criteria before hiring an FDW?

As an employer, you need to meet the eligibility criteria before hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

Who is eligible

To hire an FDW, you must:

  • Be 21 years old and above
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Have the mental capacity to understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer fully.

The MOM also consider your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep the FDW in acceptable accommodation.

If you are a first-time FDW employer, you must attend an Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) before you apply for an FDW.

Refer to this pre-hiring checklist before deciding whether to hire an FDW, also available in MalayMandarin and Tamil.

What is Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP)

The following is from

Employer’s Orientation Programme (EOP) must be attended by individuals who are hiring foreign domestic workers for the first time or have changed workers frequently.

The Employers’ Orientation Programme is a 3-hour programme that will help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

First-time employers must complete the EOP at least two working days before submitting a Work Permit application.

Who should attend?

First-time employer or employer who has changed FDWs frequently. Specifically:

  • You are a first-time employer of an FDW (can be exempted if hit criteria)
  • If you have changed more than 3 FDWs within 12 months, and you want to apply for another one.

When to attend?

At least two working days before submitting a Work Permit application.

How much does it cost?

Classroom EOP: $30 to $34.50.

Online EOP: $46.

Can I be exempted from attending the Employers’ Orientation Programme?

Only if you have valid reasons, for example, medical reason or disability, in this case, you must submit a form to exempt from taking the Programme.

Who conducts the Programme and where are the Programmes conducted?

Currently, PSB Corporation and Singapore Polytechnic conduct the Programme. Singapore Polytechnic also offers an online version of the Programme.


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Where can I find out all the details about the Employers’ Orientation Programme?

We refer you to look at for more accurate information.

What is the procedure of cancellation of the work permit?

You need to cancel your helper’s Work Permit if she no longer works for you or when the Work Permit expires. You also need to return the cancelled Work Permit card.

We refer you to look at for updated information.

Can I employ an FDW if I do not have any income?

The employer’s income is one of the main ways we judge an application for a Work Permit for a foreign domestic worker. Married couples can combine their salaries in the application. Alternatively, you can apply under the Joint Income or Sponsorship Scheme.

There are two main schemes you can choose from:

  1. Joint Income Scheme: Under the Joint Income Scheme, you can combine your income with that of a working family member who is living with you, other than your spouse. Only one extra income can be included.
  2. Sponsorship Scheme: If you are a senior citizen, the Sponsorship Scheme lets you apply for a Work Permit based on the income of up to 2 sponsors.

We refer you to look at for more accurate information.

What documents do I need to bring down when hiring the maid?

Typically, you would need your Notice of Assessment, Particulars(IC/Birth certificates) of yourself and the members staying in your household, and your certificate from Employment Orientation Program (if 1st time taking a maid).

If additional maid or replacement, we would require the Work Permit particulars of the existing/previous maid.

Am I able to hire more than 1 maid?

Yes, you might be able to hire more than one maid, subject to MOM approval. MOM will consider applications for a 2nd maid if you have special needs such as having two or more children below 18 years of age or a parent/parent-in-law that is above 60 years of age living with you. MOM will also assess other criteria such as the ability to maintain more than one maid.




Full time, Part-time or Transfer maid

What are transfer maids?

Transfer maids are maids who are currently staying in Singapore. Transfer maids can usually be interviewed in person.

What do you mean by “transfer maid”?

Transfer maids are Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) who are currently working in Singapore but are back to the agency to seek new employment for various reasons. They could also be maids who are available locally as they are not to be brought in from their country of origin.

Most transfer maids are from another employer, and they are seeking new employment for various, which includes the expiry of 2 years contract or employers discontinuing the service of the maid.

I wish to transfer my maid, what are my responsibilities?

To transfer a helper, both the new and current employer must carry out certain steps.

A full guide can be found on the MOM website:

If I would like to return my current helper to the agency, will I have my placement fees refunded?

Most maid agencies refund the remaining placement fees to the owner. However, depending on the agency, if you terminate the maid in less than three months (usually), you will be charged an administrative fee for the premature termination.

If I find my maid unsuitable, what is the cost I have to incur to transfer her?

We refer you to for more detailed information.

For the current employer:

You need to:

  1. Send the helper for her 6-monthly medical examination if you have not done so.
  2. Sign on the Declaration form provided by the new employer or employment agent. This tells MOM that you agree to the transfer.
  3. Pay the levy up till the date of the transfer. You must continue to pay levy even if the helper is not with you, e.g. leaving her with the employment agency to look for a new employer.
  4. Return the Work Permit card within 1 week of transfer by posting it to:
    Work Pass Division
    Ministry of Manpower
    18 Havelock Road
    Singapore 059764

MOM will discharge the security bond one week after the helper starts working for the new employer. We will inform you by post when the security bond is discharged.

What do I have to do as a new employer of a transfer maid?

We refer you to for more detailed information.

To sum up, you need to:

  1. Check with the current employer that the helper has gone for her 6-monthly medical examination.
  2. Apply for the new Work Permit for the helper and indicate that you are getting her transferred to you from her current employer.
  3. Log in to print a copy of the Declaration form. Sign it and ensure the current employer and the helper signs it as well.
  4. Log in to get the pass issued online, upload the Declaration form and print the Temporary Work Permit (TWP).

What if I need to change the date of transfer for my transfer maid?

We refer you to for more detailed information.

Processing time: Immediate

As the new employer, you can request to change the transfer date if both you and the current employer agree to it.

You can delay the transfer date by extending the in-principle approval (IPA).

      1. Log in to WP Online.
      2. Use the “Extend Worker’s IPA” function to carry out the extension.

    Print out the new IPA letter, which will show the original transfer date.

What are “new maids”?

New maids refer to potential FDWs who are currently not staying in Singapore. Maids who have worked in Singapore or other countries before are still considered “new maids” as long as they are currently not in Singapore.

Employers will select them based on biodatas proposed by the agency. For some nationalities, employers will be able to conduct a phone/video interview

Can I employ a maid on a part-time basis?

You cannot hire a part-time maid on your own because the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Singapore strictly prohibits the process of hiring part-time maids.

More information can be found on

Postponing the 6-monthly medical examination

If required, you can also request to defer your helper’s 6-monthly medical examination (6ME) while she is on overseas leave.

What if the FDW did not return to Singapore?

If your helper fails to return to Singapore from overseas leave, you must:

Cancel the Work Permit to stop the levy.

Keep a copy of your helper’s travel ticket or a record of departure itinerary as proof.

After we have verified that your helper has left and not re-entered Singapore, we will proceed to discharge the security bond.

You can also apply for a levy waiver for the whole period of absence.

If the FDW re-enters Singapore before the security bond has been discharged, you must send the FDW home immediately. Otherwise, the security bond may be forfeited.

What are the countries I can employ maid from?

You cannot hire maids from any countries. You can only employ maid from MOM (Ministry of Manpower) approved source of countries for FDWs. The countries are Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.


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What is the average salary of a Myanmar maid?

The average Myanmar maid salary is 500SGD. The more the experience, the higher the pay.

What is the average salary of a Filipino maid?

The average Filipino maid salary is 600SGD. The more the experience, the higher the pay.

What is the average salary of an Indonesian maid?

The average Indonesian maid salary is 550SGD. The more the experience, the higher the pay.

Read more about the cost of hiring a maid in Singapore.

Maid Levy

What is the current maid levy in Singapore?

As per MOM (Ministry of Manpower) regulation (to date), an employer is required to pay the Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) levy of $265 or $60 per month if you qualify for concessions. Do take note that levy payment should be made via GIRO only.

What is the foreign worker levy?

The foreign worker levy, commonly known as “levy”, is a pricing mechanism to regulate the number of foreign workers in Singapore.

As an employer, you don’t have to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for your helper. However, you must pay a monthly levy for her.

If your helper is a first-time FDW, the levy will begin on the 5th day of her arrival (including the arrival date). Otherwise, the levy will begin the next day after she arrives.

The levy ends when the Work Permit is cancelled or expires.

For more information, please look at

How much is the maid levy?

We refer you to look at more accurate information.

As of writing (June 2018), the levy rates are as follow:

Typical: 265 SGD monthly, 8.72 SGD daily

Concessionary: 60SGD monthly, 1.98 SGD daily


Daily levy rate applies only to workers who did not complete a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate x 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.

The concessionary rate applies to families with a young child, elderly member or person with a disability. Find out if you qualify for levy concession.

When and how to pay the levy

We refer you to look at more accurate information.

As of writing (June 2018), You must pay the levy via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO).

What are the criteria to be eligible for a levy concession?

We refer you to look at for more accurate information.

As of writing (June 2018), You can get levy concession if you are an elderly person who wishes to hire a foreign domestic worker (FDW). You can also qualify if you are hiring an FDW to care for a child, elderly person, or person with a medical condition who needs help with at least one activity of daily living (ADL), living at the same registered address as you.

As an employer of an FDW, you may be eligible for the concessionary levy rate of $60 per month under any of these schemes:


  • The levy concession for 1 FDW is granted based on one eligible person in the household.
  • You can apply for the concession for up to 2 FDWs (for two eligible persons in the household)

Penalties for not paying the levy

If you don’t pay the full levy on time, you may face the following penalties:

  • You will be charged a late payment penalty of 2% per month or $20, whichever is higher, for late payment.
  • Your helper’s Work Permit will be revoked.
  • You won’t be allowed to apply for or issue a new Work Permit, or renew an existing Work Permit.
  • You may face legal action to recover the unpaid levy.

Can I claim tax relief for the maid levy?

Qualifying for FML Relief

To claim this relief for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2018, you must satisfy all these conditions:

You or your husband employed a foreign domestic worker in 2017; and

In 2017, you were:

  • married and lived with your husband; or
  • married and your husband was not a tax resident in Singapore; or
  • separated from your husband, divorced or widowed and had children who lived with you and on whom you could claim child reliefs.

You may claim twice the total foreign domestic worker levy paid in the previous year on one foreign domestic worker. This is regardless of whether you or your husband paid the levy.

Can I get a levy waiver if my maid goes on home leave?


You can get a levy waiver for the time she is away and defer her 6-monthly medical examination if needed.

Before your helper goes for her overseas leave, you need to:

  • Check ahead with her embassy on her home country’s immigration requirements.
  • Make sure she brings along her Work Permit card and passport. She will need these documents to re-enter Singapore.
  • Keep a copy of her travel ticket or departure itinerary.

If your helper is away for an extended period of time, you can choose to cancel her Work Permit. If you cancel her permit, you will need to apply for a new Work Permit to employ her again.

Applying for levy waiver

You will continue to pay the levy when your helper is on overseas leave.

You can apply for a levy waiver when she returns to Singapore.

In order to qualify for levy waiver, the overseas leave must be at least seven consecutive days and the waiver period is capped at a maximum of 60 calendar days per calendar year.


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General Questions

What is the entire process of hiring a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)?

  1. You can start choosing your preferred foreign domestic helper by looking at the available biodata the agency has
  2. In order to get to know the foreign domestic helper better, the agency can also help to arrange a Skype session for you to speak to the maid personally.
  3. Once you have chosen the helper, you can proceed to pay a deposit to the agency to proceed with the booking.
  4. Upon collection of the deposit, the agency’s Employment Agent (EA) will assist you in the application process.
  5. Once everything has been approved (e.g. MOM work permit, insurance), the EA will arrange for the helper’s arrival.
  6. Once the helper has arrived in Singapore, the EA will contact you. You can then come down to our agency to pay the remaining charges and fetch the helper back to your place!

Why should I engage a maid agency?

Most maid agencies provide professional assistance in helping you find a suitable maid. Maid agencies are adept at handling the hassles of the work permit application, understanding Singapore FDW rules and regulations, and assist in handling security bond, insurance, travel arrangement, medical screening, etc.

As each maid agency pricing, packages and services offers may differ, we strongly encourage you to check with the agencies themselves first on their services.

Here is a guide to hiring a good maid agency in Singapore.

Who are the licensed maid agencies in Singapore?

The most updated list of license maid agencies in Singapore is maintained by MOM (Ministry of Manpower)


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How long does it take to get a maid from overseas?

Once the application is completed and information is filled correctly, it will usually take between 1-4 weeks for the maid to arrive and start working. It usually depends on the country of maid.

Can I hire a maid without an agency?

Yes, you can hire a maid without an agency. However, there are a lot of procedures and processes that you need to take into account. Everything that is handled by an agency will now be handled by you.

We have prepared an article here to help those that are hiring without an agent’s help.

Do I have to pay the maid salary when she goes on home leave?

According to the MOM website, employers do not need to do so unless this is provided for in the employment contract.

What is a security bond requirement for FDWs and how much is it?

A maid security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government (up to $5000) if you break the law or the conditions governing the employment of a helper. You need a bond for every helper you employ unless she is Malaysian.

Bonds usually take the form of insurance. The insurers guarantee to pay the government should you break the rules; then the insurers pursue you for the money.

You cannot ask your helper to pay for the bond.


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When do I need to buy the bond?

The following is from

Before your helper arrives in Singapore, you must buy these for her:

  • Security bond
  • Medical insurance
  • Personal accident insurance.

You can buy these items as a package or separately.

Please ensure that your insurer sends us the security bond details (takes up to 3 working days) before she arrives and that the bond takes effect on her arrival date. If not, she will be refused entry, and you will have to pay to send her home.

You can check the status of the security bond.

When will the bond be discharged?

The following is from

You will be discharged from the security bond liability only if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You have cancelled the Work Permit.
  • The helper has returned home.
  • You did not breach any of the conditions of the security bond.

If all conditions are met, the security bond will usually be discharged one week after your helper left Singapore.

You’ll be notified by post when the security bond is discharged.

When will the bond be forfeited?

The following is from

Your security bond may be forfeited if:

  • You or your helper violate any of the conditions of the Work Permit or security bond.
  • You do not pay for her salary on time.
  • You fail to send her back when her Work Permit is expired, revoked or cancelled, or if she goes missing. If the helper goes missing, half of the security bond ($2,500) will be forfeited if you have made reasonable effort to locate her and have filed a police report.

You will not be liable for your helper’s violations (such as those relating to pregnancy) if you can prove that you have:

  • Informed her of the Work Permit conditions she must comply with.
  • Reported a violation when you first become aware of it.

What are other alternatives available against the $5000 security deposit?

The employer can purchase an insurance policy, such as NTUC Income, which is a much cheaper alternative as compared to making the $5000 deposit.

Yes, you can purchase an insurance policy such as those from NTUC Income and others to avoid making the $5000 deposit. However, you may (depending on the insurance package and options you purchase) still be liable for the $5000 if you fail to repatriate the maid.

What is Personal Accident Insurance?

The following is from

Before your helper arrives in Singapore, you must buy medical insurance and personal accident insurance as part of your medical obligations to her.

You cannot pass on the cost of purchasing the insurance to your helper.

Medical insurance

You need to buy medical insurance with a coverage of at least $15,000 per year for inpatient care and day surgery during your helper’s stay in Singapore.

You also need to submit the medical insurance details online when you are issuing or renewing your helper’s Work Permit. You can get your employment agency to submit the details for you.

Personal accident insurance

For the full table, please visit:

This is to protect your helper and her family by providing a lump sum compensation if she has a permanent disability or passes away due to an accident.

The compensation must be made payable to your helper or her beneficiaries.

Do the maids need to undergo check-ups and how often?

Yes, Within 14 days from the date of to Singapore, the maid must get herself examined by a certified medical institution and only if she passes her medical test as deemed to fit for working then she can work for the employer. Such medical examination is required every six-month for the medical screening, for VDRL, pregnancy, and HIV.

Who bears the responsibility for the medical expenses of the maid?

Employers are liable to pay the full cost of the medical expense, including hospitalization. It is recommended to have insurance coverage for hospitalization expenses for your maid.

You can always contact the following insurance companies like Etiqa, Anda, or NTUC Income.

How do maids remit money to their home country?

There is a variety of choice, and you can easily Google to find a list of remittance service providers in Singapore.


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What should I do if my Maid went missing?

The answer can be found on

If your foreign domestic worker (FDW) has run away, she will become an overstayer once her Work Permit is cancelled. As an overstayer who is in breach of Singapore’s immigration regulations, she can be fined, jailed or both before she is sent home.

Job Specific Questions

1. Years in business/experience

How many years of experience or expertise does the maid or the maid agency have in this line of work?

2. Are you a licensed maid agency?

Maid agencies in Singapore must be licensed in order to operate.

3. Do you provide any social activities for maids supplied by your agency?

Some agencies do provide social activities for maids. An example is ECTC Caregiver’s Course, where caregivers can upgrade their caregiving skills such as learning practical information during the caregiving process, from taking care of the elderly’s daily personal hygiene routines to developing solutions to medical emergencies.

Another example could be competency on-site training programs, where the agency trainer will go to your home to conduct on-site training for your FDWs.

4. Can I interview the FDWs even if they are not in Singapore?

Most agencies allow webcam and/or telephone interview for the choice of FDW not in Singapore to facilitate the selection. Due to the accessibility of some remote centres, prior notice is required for the arrangement of such an interview.


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5. What happens if the FDW I employ does not match up to my expectations?

Most agencies do provide counselling services to the FDWs and advisory service to employers. Usually, such problems are due to personality or compatibility issues. If the existing FDW needs to be transferred, the agency often will provide the employer replacement as soon as possible.

6. What after-sales service can I expect from the maid agency?

After-sales service varies from agency to agency. A few examples are:

  • counselling of the FDW
  • renewal of work permit and passports
  • home-leaves
  • endorsement of embassy document
  • replacement of FDWs
  • upgrading skill courses
  • arrangement of air-tickets, and
  • repatriation of the FDWs upon completion of their contracts.

7. What are the modes of payment accepted for the transactions?

Most maid agencies accept cash, Nets, cheques and credit card payment.

8. How many transfers am I entitled to and what are the penalties?

We offer several service packages comprising of different FDWs replacement entitlements and fees. We could customize the service package to the employer’s needs if necessary.

Other Common FAQs

  1. What makes the agency stand out from the rest?
  2. What are their worst cases and how did they handle it?
  3. Can I book a maid before coming down to make the full payment?
  4. Will the placement fee be refunded if I find that the maid is not suitable?
  5. How tight is their diligent process when selecting the maids for employment in Singapore?
  6. Do you provide other services other than just helping to help hire the maid?
  7. Do you have any issues or demerit points from MOM or other government agencies?

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