1. I am a first time employer. I would like to find out what are the associated costs with hiring a Foreign Domestic Helper (“FDW”) ?

Actually hiring a FDW/ maid is a lot cheaper than hiring a nanny or regularly hiring part-time cleaners. 😀 In my opinion, with just $15-20/day for their salary, we get to free up our energy and time to spend with our kids and our loved ones, it’s very worth it. Haha. Many of my clients also experience better spousal relationship. ☺

In terms of elderly care, it’s still much cheaper hiring a helper as compared to hiring a care taker or sending the elderly to a care centre.

Hiring a FDW consists of firstly the Agency fees (which covers the new helper’s overseas recruitment costs, making of passport, air tickets, pick up from airport, medical check up, work permit application and issuance). The FDW Insurance, MOM’s compulsory settling-in-program for first-time helpers etc are all one-time payments. All the above mentioned costs added up to total around $1.3k - $2.5k (depending on nationality). Other associated recurring costs would be their monthly salary and levy.

2. How much is the Levy that I have to pay, and how do I pay?

For Levy, it is payable to MOM. If there are singapore citizen elderly above 67 yo/ Singapore citizen kid(s) below 16 yo living together in the same household, the levy will be be $60/- monthly. https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-domestic-worker/foreign-domestic-worker-levy/levy-concession
If not, it will be $300 monthly.
It’s deductible by GIRO every 17th of the month. https://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/budget2018/faqs-on-fdw-levy-framework-changes.pdf?la=en

So, if u have kid(s) below 16 yo or elderly above 67yo living in the same household, only subsidised rate of $60/- 😉

This is the MOM’s FDW Levy GIRO form:


You can fill this and send out soon so that for earlier processing. If GIRO form is not processed in time for successful deductions, you may have to use SAM machine to pay the levy separately for the first or 2 deductions. MOM will send u a letter on this matter.

3. What about the salary for the FDW?

Salary is relatively low especially for fresh helpers (fresh is a general term which refers to helpers who have never worked in Singapore before). These helpers whom native language is not English will speak very basic and minimal English, and requires more patience in training and guiding them during the first few months of employment.

A) Filipinos (Fresh) will be around $600 (basic salary) + $69 (compensation for 3 off days) + 1 off day
B) Indonesians (Fresh) will be around $500 (basic salary) +$80 (compensation for 4 off days) + no off days
C) Myanmar (Fresh) will be around $430 to $480 (basic) + their compensation for either 3 or 4 off days.

4. I heard that I have to pay their salaries in advance in a form of loan payment?

Yes this loan amount or advance salary is often referred to as the placement fees. Most employers treat it as salary that is paid in advance first. In actual fact, employers are helping the FDW to pay their foreign recruiter/ supplier upfront about 1-6 mths (depending on nationality and helper’s experience). The helper will then repay this amount by working for the employers (a loan deduction schedule will be given and explained to employers 😊).

5. I am a first time employer, I heard there is a compulsory course I must attend and what is that?

MOM now requires new employers to go through a compulsory course known as the Foreign Domestic Worker- Employer Orientation Programme)
(“FDW-EOP”). 😄 It is offered both as an online course or a physical lecture-based course. Participants can choose to attend either one, to obtain the certificate.

In e meantime, You can go www.sp.edu.sg to register and attend. Just go top right hand corner search bar and search “FDW-EOP” can find it already. Once you get the cert do email to us 😉

Or try this directly: https://www.sp.edu.sg/pace/courses/course-type/online/fdw-eop-foreign-domestic-worker-employers'-orientation-programme-(online)

You can register first, as it takes one working day to send u the link to study. Once you get the cert, can email us together at Master_employment_agency@hotmail.com

6. What is the minimum income I must have to be qualified to hire a FDW?

Based on MOM guidelines, household income should be at least $30k to qualify for hiring a helper. To download your Notice of Assessment (NOA), please go to https://mytax.iras.gov.sg/ESVWeb/default.aspx and log in to Personal Tax with your SingPass.

Upon logging in, go to the tab on Notices/ Letters and click on the latest “Notice of Assessment (Individual)”.

7. Which FDW nationality should I go for, which nationality is better?

There are no stereotypes for every nationality. You see, Singapore is so small but there are already so many different types of personalities and individuals. Furthermore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines are way bigger than Singapore with different states, provinces and villages and we should not judge an individual based on her nationality. It’s better that we get your requirements and find a suitable helper for you!

8. Is there any tax relief I can claim?

Yes, as a female employer who is working full time, you can claim the Foreign Maid Levy (“FML”) relief. FML Relief is given to encourage married women to stay in the workforce. Married women and divorcees/widows with school going children may claim relief for foreign domestic worker levy paid in the previous year. However, Singles and married men are not eligible for this relief. 😅

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.


9. Are the helpers trained?

There are different categories of helpers. Some are totally fresh, which means they have not worked as a domestic helper before. These helpers are usually trained at their respective training centres for basic household chores.

There are also helpers who have worked as domestic helpers in their own countries or other countries such as in the Middle East, Taiwan or Malaysia etc. The ones with the most relevant experience would be usually those who have worked in Singapore previously. Of course, the more experienced they are, the higher salary they command.

That said, because every household is different, every elderly and baby needs are also different, we advise that first few months at your new household will be their probation and training period.

10. May I interview the helper?

Yes! After knowing your pre-requirements (We have more than 15 questions for you 😜), in the following days/ weeks we will be screening through all the datas and send u some Pre-selected bio datas to your needs. ☺ And with the recommended profiles to you, if you like what you see, you can interview them immediately through the convenience of WhatsApp video call. (Working employers usually just need to sneak a short 5-10mins toilet break to interview the helpers). This saves a lot of time and they don’t have to take half day leave to come all the way down to agency to interview the helpers.

Oh btw, we do video conference too, as some employers prefer us to facilitate the interview process 😃😃😃

11. How Long is the entire process?

Once MOM application is approved, we can usually bring the Indonesian and Myanmar helpers in within 10-14 working days. Passport processing usually takes the longest, so if you are urgently looking for a helper, do remember to find one with ready passports so that application can be proceeded immediately upon confirmation.

Passport Processing in foreign countries(1 week - 3 weeks)
Application Approval (MOM estimates to be 1-14 working days)
Insurance inception (1-3 working days)
Flight arrival (around 1 week after)
Singapore Medical checkup, work permit thumbprint and SIP course (2-3 working days)