Singapore transfer maid

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Q&A from Employers

Please see below for some of the common questions from employers about hiring a maid in Singapore. Do contact us if your question is not answered here. We will be more than happy to assist you. Contact Us

Q: What are the requirements to hire a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) / Maid/ Domestic Helper?

A:  You must be a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident or an Expatriate with a valid employment pass. There is no specific amount as minimum salary but the general guideline is that the household should earn at least $30,000 per annum before applying for a FDW. For first time employer, it is compulsory to attend the Employers Orientation Program (EOP) as required by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) which can be done online. Also all Employers are required to purchase an insurance plan for their helper.

Q: As an Employer, what are my obligations to my helper?

A:  As an employer, you are obliged to pay your helper salary timely, provide adequate and suitable food, insurance cover, medical care (which covers hospitalization), a safe and conducive working environment.

Q: What are the costs for hiring a FDW?

A:  In order to hire a FDW from an agency, you will need to pay an agency fee, MOM documentation fee of $60 as well as an insurance plan (priced at around $250 to $380 for a 2 year period) for the helper. For transfer helpers, there is a placement fee of $600- $800 where the employer will need to pay on behalf and deduct from the helper’s salary thereafter. For helpers who need to exit Singapore before their work permit can be issued will incur a cost of an additional month of their salary. For hiring of fresh helper (i.e. getting someone new from their country of origin i.e. Philippines, Indonesia or Myanmar), there are also overseas charges for processing of their documents. In addition, the FDW will also have to pay placement fees to the overseas agent and to the agency in Singapore. The placement fee range from 3 months of their salaries to about 7 months (depending on the amount the overseas agent charge. For Singapore agent, MOM has capped the amount to maximum 2 months salary for a 2 year contract.) These placement fees will be paid on behalf by the employer and deducted from the helper’s salary.

Q: What is the difference between fresh helpers vs transfer helpers vs ex-Singapore helpers?

A:  Fresh helpers are helpers who come to Singapore from their country of origin and has no prior working experience in Singapore. They may however have experience from other countries. Transfer helpers are helpers who are currently working in Singapore but are looking to transfer. They may be transferring because their employers are leaving Singapore for good or because their employers no longer require a helper or incompatibility with the employer. Ex-Singapore helpers are helpers who have prior experience working in Singapore but are currently not in Singapore.

Q: How do I go about deciding what type of helpers will suit my family?

A:  Generally we recommend hiring of transfer helpers due to the lower agency fees involved and the possibility of having a face to face interview. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a good personality fit. Transfer helpers are more experienced and hence they command higher salaries and more off days. Hence for families who are looking for helpers who are independent and able to work with minimal supervision and able to provide the helpers all Sundays off, should consider transfer helpers. Ex- Singapore helpers can also be with good experience. Since they are not able to have face to face interviews and also the costs of bringing them in, they generally command lower salaries and willing to accept fewer off days compared to transfer helpers. However, they may still request for more after they come to Singapore. For families who need helpers during Sundays and are unable to provide all Sundays off, will need to consider fresh helpers from overseas. However fresh helpers will require more supervision so it will be feasible if it is a second helper or if there are other family members at home to supervise them. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend employers to provide all Sundays off as it is important for helpers to have off days to rest and recuperate. The option of not giving all Sundays off, may not be sustainable over the long run. The fresh helper after getting to know other helpers will compare and may be dissatisfied in the long run. Maintaining an open communication with your helper and checking in on how she is coping is important for a good long term relationship.

Q: What should I do if I forget to pay my maid levy and her work permit is revoked as a result?

A:  The employer must pay the outstanding levy and apply for the reinstatement of the work permit to MOM together with the receipt of payment.

Q: What are the criteria to apply for levy concession?

A:  An employer is eligible for low levy for each FDW if she/he meets conditions set by MOM. A household that has a child/grandchild who is a Singapore Citizen below 12 years of age or an elderly (employer/spouse/parent/parent-in-law/grandparent/grandparent-in-law) who is a Singapore Citizen aged 65 years old and above may be eligible to apply low levy subject to MOM approval. A household living a person with disability may also be eligible for levy concession.

Q: Can I claim tax relief for maid levy?

A:  You can claim tax relief if:
a. You are a married woman and have elected for separate assessment; or b. You are married and your husband is not resident in Singapore; or c. You are separated, divorced or widowed and living with your unmarried child for The relief is two times the amount of maid levy paid for one maid. It can only be set off against the earned income of the wife. Single taxpayers are not eligible for this relief. You can get the relief even if the levy is paid by the husband.

Q: What happens if the helper I choose does not work out?

A:  All FDWs go through a screening process before deployment, however, some helpers may be found unsuitable to employers due to personality and compatibility issues. We provide advisory services to both the FDW and employers for free. If the current helper still needs to be transferred after, we will provide a replacement maid as soon as possible.

Q: Can I repatriate the helper without going through the agency?

A:  Yes you may repatriate the FDW without going through the agency provided it does not breach any of the clauses in the service agreement between the employer and the agency. However, it is strongly advised to repatriate the helper through the agency so that the employer can be discharged of responsibilities if any.

Q: What is the criteria for hiring additional helper?

A:  To be eligible to hire an additional helper, your family must consists of 2 children under 18 or 1 child below 18 and 1 elderly above 65 years old. The combined annual income should be at least $50,000 or more.

Q: What is a security bond? Do employers need to pay for this?

A:  A security bond serves as a security deposit amounting to $5000 for every foreign domestic worker as required by the MOM. Employers are responsible to repatriate the helper after the end of the usual 2-year contract unless it is renewed or the helper transferred to a new family. If you fail to repatriate the foreign domestic worker, you risk losing the $5000 security bond. You may purchase an insurance policy instead of depositing a security bond which is much cheaper than making the cash $5000 deposit. However, you are still liable for $5000 should you fail to repatriate the helper for any reason required by the Singapore Law unless you have purchased the waiver of counter indemnity for the guarantee bond.

Q: What is the waiver of counter indemnity?

A:  Waiver of Counter Indemnity for the Guarantee Bond of $5,000 to MOM is an optional insurance cover. It means the insurance company will waive their rights of recovery of the sum paid to MOM against you, subject to the first $250 which you would have to bear. For instance if the helper goes missing and you have tried to relocate the helper, you will only have to pay $250 if you have purchased this waiver of counter indemnity and the insurance company will have to pay the remaining vs $5000 if you did not purchase it.

Q: What happens if my helper get pregnant?

A:  You will need to repatriate your helper immediately.

Q: What happens if my helper is missing?

A:  You should cancel her work permit immediately to stop the levy payment. You are then given one (1) month to locate and repatriate her. Depending on the insurance cover you purchased, you may risk losing between $250 to $5000.

Q: If I allow my helper to transfer, what are my obligations??

A:  You must sign a written “consent to transfer letter” and you will still need to pay the levy up to the day the new work permit has been issued. In the event that the transfer is unsuccessful and the work permit has been cancelled or expires, the current employer must repatriate the foreign domestic helper within 7 days from the date of work permit cancellation/expiry.

Q: Is it possible to terminate the contract with the FDW before the end of the contract?

A:  Yes, you may allow her to transfer or if not to repatriate her. If she has been of great help, do provide her with a reference letter which will be helpful for her to get new employers.

Q: My helper is sick, who should pay for her medical expenses?

A:  As an employer, you are responsible for the upkeep and well-being of your helper. You are required to bear the full cost of her medical treatment including hospitalization. You can also check with us on the insurance plan you purchased and whether the hospitalization expenses will be covered.

Q: I am a first time employer, what type of questions should I ask the helper? What should I look out for?

A:  At Best Housekeeper, we can provide our employers a list of questions they may ask the helpers depending on their requirements as well as a timetable template. Also during the interview, make sure the helper is fully aware of the job scope and what is required of them. Be as detailed as possible eg: let them know the time you expect them to wake up or sleep, discuss a timetable with them to ensure both parties are comfortable. Further, personality fit is very important. Some employers prefer helpers who are bubbly and cheerful while some employers prefer helpers who are more reserved and quiet. In addition, if you are hiring a helper to look after an elderly, make sure you find a helper that is patient while if you are hiring a helper to look after kids, you will want someone more energetic and cheerful.


Q&A from FDW

Please see below for some of the common questions from foreign domestic helpers about working in Singapore. Do contact us if your question is not answered here. We will be more than happy to assist you. Contact Us

Q: I have only completed primary education but I have many years or experience working in other countries. Can I apply to be a FDW in Singapore?

A:  No. Anyone who wishes to work as a domestic helper in Singapore must have a minimum of 8 years of formal education and possess the necessary educational certificates as proof of her education.

Q: I am 23 years old in a months time, can I apply to be a FDW?

A:   No. Anyone who wishes to work as a domestic helper in Singapore must have a minimum of 8 years of formal education and possess the necessary educational certificates as proof of her education.

Q: I am not happy working with my employer, can I be transferred to another employer?

A:  You may transfer to another employer provided your current employer will allow you to. A “consent to transfer letter “ should be signed by the current employer before any transfer can be done.

Q: My contract and WP is expiring soon, my employer allows me to transfer, when should I start looking?

A:  With consent from your current employer, you may start looking for a new employer as soon as possible. Take note that application for transfer (MOM) should be done at least 20 days before the work permit expires. If its less than 15 days, we will not be able to apply to MOM for you unless your current employer agrees to extend your work permit by another month. If not, you will need to exit Singapore which will incur additional costs for you

Q: I found my new employer one week before my WP expires, how can I be transferred?

A:  You will need to exit Singapore before we can apply for your new WP.

Q: My employer cancelled my permit, how long can I stay in Singapore?

A:  You can stay in Singapore for maximum 7 days under a special pass. A special pass will be issued to you upon cancellation. If after 7 days, you have not find an employer, we can apply for an extension of a final 7 days. However if you still do not find an employer by then, you will be required to leave Singapore.

Q: Can I do part time job during my off days?

A:  No. You are only allowed to work with the employer and at the address stated in your work permit.