• Photo 1564846824172 dee7b0a26785
    May 26, 2020
    Hiring a helper: Engaging agency vs. Doing it Yourself
    • Post By: Eugene Chan

    So you’ve decided that you require a helper to assist with chores in your household, and wish to find out more about hiring one. There is a possibility to hire a helper all by yourself without an agency, but this is only possible for transfer helpers, who are already based locally and are about to complete or have completed their contract with the current employer. For new helpers, it is also possible to hire by yourself if you are able to source a reliable worker who is willing to work as an FDW.

    It will definitely be a more tedious process if you intend to hire a direct transfer helper by yourself compared to engaging an agency as there are quite a number of processes to adhere to. However if you are willing to overcome these tedious processes your efforts will benefit from a savings of $500 up to $2000 of agency fees and if these costs are a considerable savings to your expenses it might well be worth the effort.
    A transfer helper is one who has already completed a full contract or are looking to transfer employers based on a number of reasons and this can only be done so with the current employer’s acknowledgement. You would also not be required to furnish The Maid loan which is a fairly considerable amount when the helper is newly deployed into the current country for work. They are also already fairly settled in to the local environment and has less tendencies of feeling home sick as she has already spent some time in the current country of employment, also less training may be required in terms of skills but of course a clear communication of expectations and house rules must be discussed with the potential candidate so there is less disputes in future. If you are independently engaging in the whole direct hire process, you also have more control over your decisions when choosing the right helper without any agency intervention. 
    Furthermore, as more and more people opt for direct hire in Singapore, there are more online resources to assist with the steps of the process, especially on the Ministry of Manpower website and the e-Services available there. If you wish to engage a new helper we would suggest engaging an agency as they would have trusted sources in the country of the helper’s origin and basic training has been provided to her but of course if you have a reliable helper from the country of origin you may apply for her employment by yourself. You may hire new helpers through our network of trusted maid agencies on Searchmaid, you can rest assured that your future direct hire helper will be a great match to you and your household.
    Now let’s take a look at the steps to hiring a helper by yourself. In general, there are 6 steps to this process.
    The first step is making sure that you as an employer meet the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower. The criteria are:
    1. Be at least 21 years old and above
    2. Not be an undischarged bankrupt
    3. Are in good mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibilities as an employer
    4. Possess adequate financial capability to hire, maintain and ensure appropriate quality of living for the domestic helper with acceptable accommodation and meals
    5. Have attended the Employer’s Orientation Programme(EOP)
    If you check all of the above, congratulations, you can now begin the employment process or search for your direct helper! Once you have found your candidate, you should also make sure that the potential candidate is an eligible helper that meet the following criteria:
    1. Female
    2. Between 23 to 50 years of age at the time of application
    3. From an approved country where the applicant is able to work as an FDW such as Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, India etc.
    4. Has no relation to the previous employer
    5. Will be employed to work at the address stated on you(the employer’s) NRIC
    6. Have at least 8 years of formal education
    7. If the helper is new without experience, you will need to arrange for her to attend the Settling In Programme once she arrives in her country of work
    You should conduct a thorough interview regardless of new or transfer helper and establish a clear communication of expectations and a healthy professional work agreement to avoid future disputes. One more benefit of hiring a direct transfer is that you will be able to conduct interviews in person. For questions you can ask during the interview check out this article https://searchmaid.com.sg/blog/interviewing-potential-helpers we posted earlier.
    Check for her employment status as well if she is a transfer helper, you can check via the wp online portal by logging in with your Singpass and then referencing the FDW’s work permit number. If she is still currently employed her employer must furnish an acknowledgment letter that they are willing to transfer the helper to you. If the current employer is unwilling it is still possible to hire, but the helper must first leave Singapore and return before you are allowed to apply for her new work permit.
    The next step is providing necessary documents and going through the applications process. It is advised that you set up a general interbank recurring order (GIRO) account with sufficient funds to ensure smooth monthly levy deductions by MOM, as failed deductions may result in the revocation of the helper’s permit.
    For transfer maids, here are the steps:
    1. Agree on a transfer date with the current employer
    2. Check with current employer that she has gone for her 6 monthly health checkup and that it has been done at least 30 days before the work permit expires.
    3. Apply for her new work permit via the MOM e-Services portal
    4. You will then receive the In-Principal Approval (IPA) which you will have to print out a declaration form. The current employer, helper and yourself are required to sign the form.
    5. On the agreed date of transfer, login to the MOM E-Services portal and upload the declaration form. Print out her temporary work permit and hand it to your maid, and the previous permit will be automatically cancelled. The helper is not able to commence work until the work permit is received.
    For new helpers here are the steps:
    1. Apply for a new work permit via the MOM E-Services portal. Each work permit has a validity period of 2 years and there are quite a number of requirements that comes with Work Permit Application which can be found here: https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-domestic-worker/eligibility-and-requirements
    2. Once MOM has approved your application, an IPA will be sent to you and its validity period will be mentioned in the letter.
    3. Arrange for the helper to enter Singapore, which should be done within the validity period stated in the IPA letter.
    4. Arrange for the helper to attend the Settling-In Programme within the first 3 working days of her arrival. You should book and secure a slot before her arrival to Singapore
    5. The Pre employment medical exam should be conducted within 2 weeks of arrival or risk being repatriated
    6. After her work permit is issued, you are required to bring her to the MOM services centre for fingerprint registration and photo-taking within 7 calendar days
    Insurance application is also required for both types of helpers and this should be done as soon as you have the In Principle Approval Letter. For new helpers, you are required to furnish a security bond of $5000 with MOM, which will be forfeited should you break any employment rules. This amount cannot be covered by the helper, only the employer. The bond is refunded if your worker has returned home, cancelled work permit, and both you and her did not breach any terms of the bond. 
    Finally once she has begun work for your household, here are some recommended best practices:
    • Ensure that clear professional and household guidelines are clearly discussed such as rest days, work requirements, salary, termination notices etc.
    • Keep a record of her 6 monthly medical check ups and a record of her salary slips and payment

    We wish you all the best in your endeavours of hiring your future helper!