If you’re thinking about hiring a domestic helper, then you may have heard from your friends that it’s no easy task, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
This guide will cover the most basic things you need to know about hiring a full-time maid in Singapore during COVID-19. We’ve gathered the requirements and laid out some costs you can expect in the process.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Know Eligibility Requirements
If you’re planning to employ a migrant domestic worker, the first thing you should do is meet eligibility requirements. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), employers must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Not be an undischarged bankrupt
- Have the mental capacity to understand and carry out their role as an employer
If you’re employing a domestic helper for the first time, the next thing you need to do is to attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP). This is a three-hour programme that orients you on your roles and responsibilities as an employer.
The most important thing to remember is that you are essentially responsible for your domestic helper’s wellbeing and living arrangements. Apart from her wage, you must afford to pay for her food, medical expenses, lodging, and other related expenses.
Apply for a Work Permit
Say you’re eligible. What next? Well, there are two ways of moving forward.
First, you can start by gathering all required documents proving that you’re a capable employer. This includes proof of income, accommodation, bank statements, among other things.
Once that’s settled, you may now start scouting for potential applicants. Just make sure to keep in mind MOM’s basic requirements when looking for a domestic helper:
- She is not related to the employer of your home address.
- She has to be female.
- She is 23 to 50 years of age during the time of application.
- If it is her first time applying as a domestic worker in Singapore, she needs to be certified with the Settling-In-Programme.
- She is from an approved source country such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Bangladesh, Macau, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia.
Once you’ve hired someone, you may begin the process of applying for her work permit through MOM’s website. Be sure to carefully check and comply with each requirement from your end and for your domestic helper’s.
You may need to supply additional documents such as a letter of employment for your domestic helper’s visa application, for instance. For a complete and updated list of requirements, visit MOM’s website.
The second route to take is to hire a reputable maid agency that will take care of everything, from scouting domestic helpers to processing your documents and your domestic helper’s work permit.
While taking this route will definitely free you from the hassles of processing everything, note that it would cost you more, ranging from $200 to $2,000.
If you’re paying low agency fees, chances are that the agency is charging your domestic helper a higher placement fee, which they pay for out of their own pocket.
This is why we always recommend asking the agency for a breakdown of fees to make sure that you and your maid are being charged fairly.
You also have to pay a levy monthly for your migrant domestic worker, which you can read more about here. Note that this levy is mandatory.
Alternatively, you can also choose to hire a part-time cleaner instead if you wish to skip the lengthy hiring process. These workers are either Singaporean citizens or permanent residents, which is why hiring one doesn’t require plenty of things.
Consider COVID-19 Requirements
So you’ve managed to go through all that. Well, we hate to break it to you but you’re not out of the woods just yet.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you’ll need to comply with more stringent requirements today if you wish to bring in a domestic helper to Singapore.
This includes an entry approval from MOM, a negative COVID-19 swab test result, and a Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) accommodation.
It’s highly recommended to engage an employment agency to submit an application on your behalf. That way, you won’t have to worry about keeping yourself updated with the measures, which are always changing.
Just keep in mind that the medical insurance you’re planning to get for your domestic helper should cover COVID-19 related medical expenses.
This insurance must cover at least S$10,000 for the workers’ medical expenses if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, including testing positive within 14 days of arrival in Singapore.
Because entry to Singapore is still limited, getting an entry approval for your domestic helper would take about three to six months on average. Note that entry applications are only open to vaccinated domestic helpers.