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6 Simple Steps to Direct Hire a Maid in Singapore (Without An Agency)

In this article we will go through the criteria to hire a maid in Singapore, as well as the step by step process on how to hire a maid in Singapore without the assistance (and service fee) of a maid agency.

In case you are looking to hire a maid through an agency, you can head on to this maid agency hiring guide.

You can also view our recommended list of best rated agencies here.

Benefits of directly hiring a maid

Before we go through the step by step process, it is important to know what we are getting by directly hiring a maid.

Hiring a maid in Singapore directly may be more cumbersome as compared to going through a maid agency.

However, there are also some benefits to it:

  • They are cheaper than maid agencies. You can save from 500 up to $2000 of agency fees. If you are looking for the cheapest maid agency, why not try hiring one yourself.
  • Your maid is less likely to quit as she has adapted to the environment and has experienced working away from home for awhile.
  • It gives you more control over maid selection and hiring process.
  • No maid loan is required. Your maid is not burdened with huge maid loans.
  • Getting a transfer maid in Singapore starts within a few days. You might need to wait more than 10 weeks for a brand new maid from overseas.
  • Transfer maids are more experienced due to prior work experience. You do not need to spend more time teaching and training the new maid.

As more and more people opt for direct hiring of domestic helper in Singapore, there are more resources online to help you with that. MOM has also made it easier for employers opting for direct hire of domestic helpers.

Find a trusted maid agency in Singapore

In this article, we will also talk about direct hiring a transfer maid and direct hiring a new maid that hasn’t worked in Singapore before.

6 Steps to hiring a maid directly

So now let’s dive deep into the step by step process.

Here are the 6 steps to aid you in direct hire of a maid.

Step 1: Meeting the Requirements Set by MOM

Before you are able to hire a maid as an employer, you must first meet the set of requirements by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore. These requirements state that you must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old or above
  2. Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  3. Have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibilities as an employer
  4. Possess the financial capability to hire, maintain and upkeep the domestic worker in an acceptable accommodation
  5. Have attended the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP)

Step 2: Searching for a Maid

Once you have ensured that you are eligible to hire a maid, you can start your search for the right maid.

There are 2 ways that you can search for a maid without going through an agency.

  1. Word of Mouth

Speak to your friends, neighbours, colleagues or relatives about their past experiences with domestic workers.

It is definitely safer to trust their reviews and recommendations than a stranger’s online.

In addition, you will be able to save valuable time and effort in going through the reviews of individual maid profiles online.

  1. Online

Alternatively, you search through the databases of online directories:

You will be able to select potential maids to hire from their individual online profiles which include their age, nationality, work experience, salary expectations, availability and work permit expiration dates.

Do note the status of the maid that you are interested to hire.

Maid hiring status

This is an example from HelperChoice. Employed means transfer maids. Ex-overseas means the maid has worked as a helper in other countries before, but hasn’t been to Singapore. Ex-Singapore means the helper has worked in Singapore before, but isn’t employed currently. First time overseas means the helper hasn’t been overseas (including Singapore) to work as a helper before.

The statuses will affect the procedures and necessary documents required.

Step 3: Ensuring That the Maid is Eligible

If you are hiring a transfer maid or a maid that has worked in Singapore previously, you do not need to worry about this step.

Once you have selected a few potential maids to choose from, the next step would be to ensure that the domestic worker fulfils MOM’s maid eligibility requirements. The maid that you hire has to be:

  1. Female
  2. Between the ages of 23 to 50 years old at the time of application
  3. From an approved source country or territory including maids from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.
  4. Unrelated to the employer
  5. Employed at your home address as stated on your NRIC
  6. Certified with at least 8 years of formal education 
  7. Certified with the Settling-In-Programme if this is her first time seeking employment as a domestic worker in Singapore. (For new maids, SIP will be done when she arrives in Singapore)

Step 4: Schedule an Interview with the Maid

maid agency singapore dependable - 6 Simple Steps to Direct Hire a Maid in Singapore (Without An Agency)

Conducting an interview with the shortlisted maids from your previous search will definitely assist you in the final selection process.

An interview will definitely allow you to flush out any potential problems that may arise in the future between you and the maid such as communication barriers or a mismatch in expectations.

It is better for you to conduct a face-to-face interview, rather than an online one, if it is a transfer maid (i.e. in Singapore). You will have a better gauge on whether both parties are comfortable with each other’s presences.

Moreover, an interview is an opportunity for your domestic worker to have a first-hand look at her future work and living environment. This is important as her ability to focus on her tasks may be affected if she does not feel comfortable with certain areas of her living environment.

An interview also provides a chance for you to have an open discussion to negotiate the terms of her salary and rest days.

Here are a few important questions that you may wish to ask during the interview:

  1. Transfer and work history: If she is leaving a contract early, find out why. Even if she is transferring from a completed contract, do check her reasons for moving on.
  2. Personal situation: Her personal situation (her marital status, etc) may affect her interactions and capabilities as a helper. Try to find out about her personal status without intruding her too much into her privacy.
  3. Religion: Most maids from Indonesia are Muslim, and as such are unable to handle or eat pork. They are also forbidden to live with family pets like dogs. However, most maids will be willing to compromise certain religious codes in order to seek employment easier. You should check with her personal thoughts on her religious restrictions.
  4. Future Plans: There is a high chance that your maid is working here in order to support her family back home. This means that she will be intending to return to her home country once her employment in Singapore ends. Her plans may have relevance to how long she will be able to stay with you.
  5. Children: You should make sure that your maid likes taking care of children if you expect her to do so with your kids. If so, you should check if she has any prior experience with taking care of kids.
  6. First Aid: If you have kids, it is very likely for accidents to occur every now and then. It is essential that your potential helper possesses some basic knowledge on first aid. Ask if she has taken any first aid courses and if not, would she be willing to go for one? You can also check how she responds to different hypothetical first aids scenarios.
  7. Daily Routine: Talk to her about her daily routine during her stay with her previous employers. Get her to rank the different types of household chores according to her experience.
  8. Cooking: Check her culinary skills and ask her to name ten meals she is confident in cooking. If she really does know how to cook this will be easy for her.
  9. Pets: If you have furry creatures living in your home, then you should check whether she any experience in caring for pets.
  10. Off Days: Ask her if she has any hobbies and what she enjoys doing when she is not working. Her answers will give a really good clue as to her character.
  11. Grocery Shopping: How does she feel about doing the marketing and which supermarkets in Singapore is she familiar with? Does she feel comfortable with making grocery decisions by herself?
  12. Food: What does she like to eat? Does she prefer her own food, or will she be happy to eat whatever you and your family are eating? Does she expect a food allowance? Is she allergic to any food? Are there foods she is unwilling to handle? Food can be a huge minefield if you end up with a helper who only eats meat when your family are strictly vegetarian!

Engage an agency instead

Check for employment status (for maids previously worked in Singapore)

If you are hiring a transfer maid, importantly, you must check if she is still working with her previous employer. You can check through the wp online portal by logging in with your Singpass and the FDW’s work permit number.

In the portal, you can also check her past employment history.

If she is working with her previous employer, you must check with the employer if he/she is willing to transfer the maid to you. If the employer is willing to, both the employer and you will need to follow the transfer steps in step 5.

However, if the employer is not willing to transfer, do you worry. She is still able to work for you, but she will need to leave Singapore before you are allowed to apply for her work permit.

Step 5: The necessary documents and applications

Do set up a general interbank recurring order (GIRO) account. This is to ensure smooth monthly levy deductions by MOM. Ensure that there is always enough money in the GIRO account, else MOM may revoke the maid’s permit.

For transfer maids:

  1. Decide on a transfer date with the previous employer
  2. Check with current employer whether the maid has gone for her 6 monthly medication examination. Please check this at least 30 days before the work permit expires.
  3. Apply for a new work permit here. This should also be done at least 30 days before the work permit expires.
  4. When you receive the In-principal approval, log in here to download and print a declaration form. Get the current employer, maid and yourself to sign the form.
  5. On the agreed date of transfer, log in here to upload the declaration form. Print the Temporary work permit and pass it to your maid. The previous permit will be cancelled automatically. Do note that the maid cannot commence work until the work permit is received.

For new maids

  1. Apply for a new work permit here. Each work permit is only valid for a maximum of 2 years. There are a lot of requirements that come with the work permit application. More info can be found here.
  2. Once MOM approves your application, an In-Principle Approval Letter will be sent to you. The validity of the IPA will be mentioned in the letter.
  3. Arrange for your maid to enter Singapore. The validity is the time period you have to bring the foreign worker to Singapore.
  4. Make the maid attend the Settling-in Programme (SIP) within first 3 working days of her arrival. You are advised to book and secure a slot before her arrival to Singapore.
  5. Within 2 weeks of arrival, the maid must also go through a pre-employment medical examination, else she will be repatriated back home.
  6. After work permit is issued, bring the maid for fingerprinting and photo-taking at the MOM Services Centre – Hall C within 7 calendar days.

Step 6: Applying for a Security Bond and insurance

You will need to obtain the In Principle Approval letter before applying for insurance and bond.

You are required to deposit a $5000 security bond with MOM.

Your maid is not allowed to help you cover this deposit. The deposit will be forfeited if you break the employment rules.

The bond will be refunded to you only when:

  1. Your domestic worker has returned home
  2. You have cancelled the work permit
  3. You and your domestic worker did not breach the terms of the bond

However, the bond may be forfeited if:

  1. You did not pay your domestic worker her salary on time
  2. You fail to send her back home when her work permit is no longer valid
  3. Your domestic worker goes missing from your home, which is the official employment address for her (you will have to forfeit half of $5000 here)

Therefore, you should inform your maid about the conditions of her work permit. You are advised to report any violations of the permit immediately.

You also need to purchase the necessary medical insurance policies for your maid. You can purchase the bond together with the insurance policy as a coverage i.e. you do not need to pay the full price of the bond. The insurance company will notify MOM after your purchase. This may take up to 3 working days.

Do ensure that you secure the security bond before she arrives. The bond should take effect on her arrival date. Without the security bond, she will be refused entry to Singapore and you will need to incur additional costs to send her home.

Get quotes from a few maid agencies


  • After everything has been processed, you are encouraged to sign a safety agreement with your maid. This is a sample of a safety agreement.
  • Next, draw up an employment contract stating the work requirements, rest days, salary, termination notice etc. This is a sample of an employment contract.
  • Record the maid’s required 6 monthly medical check ups and ensure that she goes for all of them.
  • Finally, make a record of her salary – salary amount, date and both parties’ signature.

Find reliable maid agencies in Singapore

If you are looking for maid agencies to match your personalised requirements, you can contact SGHomeNeeds for a more quick and fuss-free experience. SGHomeNeeds also offers a list of reliable maid agencies in Singapore in the following areas:

If you have any further questions, you can view our commonly-asked questions hiring maids.

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