With a newborn and a new house to take care of, the Heartland family are constantly exhausted from all the household chores. With both of them having full-time jobs to handle, they needed to outsource some of the more menial daily activities to an external person. They tried a part-time maid but that was not a perfect solution for their household. As such, they commenced their search for a foreign domestic worker (‘FDW’), or commonly known as maid or domestic helper in Singapore. They took the unorthodox path of applying for a transfer maid without the help of a maid agency. Here is their experience and how you can also save thousands of dollars from doing so.
Looking For Transfer Maid
Beginning of 2019, Heartland Boy actively told his friends and colleagues during lunches that he would be looking for a maid once he has moved in to his new BTO. He was hoping that his network of friends would have a good transfer maid to recommend. This unofficially kick-started their search process for a transfer maid. In only the second referral*, a successful match was found. She was working for one of the financial bloggers and this is her CV:
- 10 years of experience working in Singapore as a helper
- Experienced with children since she took care of employer’s baby
- A mum herself
- An Indonesian but able to converse in simple English (no issue as Heartland Boy is able to converse in Bahasa Indonesia)
This referral ticked all the right boxes that Heartland Boy would have wanted in a full-time maid. After an informal interview, both families decided that they would apply to Ministry of Manpower (‘MOM’) to transfer the maid over. Here is a step by step complete guide on how to transfer maid without a maid agency in Singapore.
*Note that the first referral did not materialise as Heartland Boy’s BTO could not come soon enough for the maid whose work permit was expiring.
For the Future Employer Of The Transfer Maid
1. Complete Your Foreign Domestic Worker Employers’ Orientation Programme
If you are a first-time employer (such as Heartland Boy) or employer who has changed Foreign Domestic Worker (definitely not Heartland Boy) too frequently that sets off alarm bells, you are required to attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (‘EOP’). It costs $46 online or $30 – $34.50 for a classroom EOP. As a time-pressed working adult, Heartland Girl opted for an online EOP. Yes, the self-proclaimed smarter adult took this great responsibility for the household.
Note that Step 1 must be completed at least 2 working days before Step 2.
2. Apply For Maid’s New Work Permit
Go to MOM’s website to apply for the new work permit for the transfer maid. Application for a new work permit costs $35 and the outcome should be known within 1 week. (2 days for Heartland Boy’s case) If the outcome is successful, you will receive an in-principle approval (‘IPA’) from MOM. Note that the IPA lasts for a week but it can be extended for a month at no extra cost. Heartland Boy extended their IPA as their overzealousness caused them to start Step 2 too early.
3. Give MOM a $5,000 Security Bond And Purchase Maid Insurance
Rather than part $5,000 away with MOM, Heartland Boy decided to purchase the compulsory maid insurance that comes with the $5,000 Security Bond “rider”. Such a maid insurance policy means that the insurance provider will step in and provide the security deposit on behalf of the employer (Heartland Boy) should the situation arises. Heartland Boy went for this option as he earns $271 of interest by keeping the $5,000 security bond in the Citibank MaxiGain Savings Account (@2.5% interest for 26 months)
Heartland Boy purchased his maid insurance policy via InsuranceMarket.sg. This was a super hassle-free process as the widget allows him to toggle his preferences (eg: duration of the policy to match the FWD contract) Here is his referral link should you need to renew your maid insurance policy or purchase a fresh one. Pro tip: you can toggle your preferences in the widget before clicking “show my quotes” to get your competitive quote!
*Note that the earliest MOM allow for advance transmission is 14 calendar days from the start date of your maid’s new work permit. That is, if you want the transfer maid to start working for you on 15 June, the earliest the insurance provider can submit the maid insurance policy to MOM is 1 June. That also means that you need not purchase the maid insurance policy any earlier than 1 June.
4. Apply To Pay Monthly Levy Via Inter-bank GIRO
Foreign domestic worker’s levy is a recurring cost to the employer. To ensure that this levy is paid to the Government on a timely basis, it is compulsory to arrange for inter-bank GIRO facility. The current foreign worker levy is $60 per month.
5. Purchase Air Ticket (optional)
This only applies if your transfer maid has gone back to her hometown before commencing work with you. This was the case for Heartland Boy and hence he has to purchase an air ticket for the transfer maid to arrive in Singapore to commence her work.
6. Issue New Work Permit
On the start date (i.e. 15 June in the example stated in this article) of the transfer maid’s contract, you can log in online to instruct MOM to issue her new temporary work permit. You will be required to upload the duly signed declaration form. The current employer, transfer maid and new employer will all be required to sign this consent letter to inform MOM that consent has been duly obtained.
It costs $35 to issue the work permit. The permanent work permit will be delivered to your house via registered mail within 5 working days and that will round up the entire process of hiring a transfer maid with no agent or middleman involved!
Advantages Of Hiring A Transfer Maid
A. Save On Agency Fees
Agencies that provide maid hiring services typically charge an average of $2,000 and upwards in fees. This average fee does not include the placement fee/maid loan. The Do-It-Yourself process of hiring a transfer maid only cost Heartland Boy $684 as shown in Diagram 2.
All it took was a couple of hours reading up the instructions online and Heartland Boy managed to execute the process without much hiccup. This small hassle of DIY in exchange of thousands of dollars in savings is definitely worth it. Moreover, the maid starts work in a happier state as she is debt-free since she need not pay any commission to the middlemen back in her home country.
B. Trusted and Proven
When you go to an agency, you may request for experienced maids. However, you would not be able to hear reviews from the previous employer of her work performance. When applying for a transfer maid, you would be able to talk to the current employer to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of her. This is akin to a hiring manager speaking to a job candidate’s referees to find out about the actual work experience.
The merits listed above concludes the process of hiring a transfer maid without going to a maid agency in Singapore. This entire maid transfer procedure listed from Steps 1 to 6 can be done within a couple of weeks and is really super convenient.