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 himself as well. 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.
*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. If this situation applies and that your maid is Indonesian, it will be best to ensure that her KPIS (Kartu Pekerja Indonesia Singapura) card has been renewed under the new employer before she returns home.
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. Thereafter, Heartland Boy even sent his foreign domestic worker to some training courses to brush up her care giving skills!
Nice articles on Maid Insurance.
Hi thanks for the clear guidance.
My family is about to move to Singapore from Hong Kong. I know a very good Indonesia helper who’s worked in Hong Kong for years but hasn’t had the experience of working in Singapore. Can I try to get her in without an agency?
Yes, you can try! Just follow the steps listed on my article.
Wow, Alison, this article is unique and one of its kind. As a person reading all kinds of blog, newspapers and magazines, this is my first time reading an article on DIY maid transfer.
Thank you for your compliments. I guess this is unique because such cases are rare in itself and few people bother penning their experiences down. I just hope that this will be useful for others who intend to go through this route in the future.
Thanks for the detailed write up! I’m in a process of doing this and would really appreciate any help from you. Will definitely be using the link to purchase the insurance.
I’m going to hire my relatives’ helper but she wants to go back for 2 weeks. I’ve already bought a return ticket for her. I’m confused if her work permit is not issued yet when she’s flying back to SG. is that ok? She just needs the IPA letter only right?
Hi, I have PMed you
Hie there.. I think its not fully explained. I have settled all the necessary steps as shown however my fdw from Indonesia was refused to board the flight at Semarang Airport as she was told that she did not have the ktkln card. Is it true. Now I have to urgently find ways of how to bring her over.
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate incident. The KTKLN card has already been replaced by KPIS card. As your maid is a transfer maid, she should have an existing KPIS card (or at least expired). That may be sufficient for her to get pass immigration. If that does not suffice, I think the next best solution is to get help from embassy? Sorry if i am not able to help much.
Nonetheless, i will update my article to indicate that the Indonesian maid should renew her KPIS card before returning home first.
Hi would like to check with you if you happen to have the template for safety agreement in English and Bahasa Indo? Thank you!
Hey, I do not have this. Can you explain the context and i see how i can assist?
Thanks for your article.
What if the FWD is still under contract with Employment Agency and wants to transfer to a direct employer?
Will the new employer have to deal with the Agency or Current employer? Will this guide still be applicable?
I am not sure if this guide is still applicable, especially under current circumstances. I recommend you check with either MOM or any of the companies offering maid insurance. They would be most helpful
Really appreciative of this article. I learn lots. As mentioned, just read and read and DIY. Understand the MOM guides and red tapes and move along. Else the agencies are making tons$ and yet there is no prior reviews..
Thanks for your compliments. I am glad this article is of use to you! Hope you have an enjoyable relationship with your new transfer maid.
If both you and your spouse are first time employers, do both of you have to complete the EOP?
Both my wife and me are first time employers. Only my wife completed the EOP as she is the designated employer
Great Article. Can u pls share details of websites or online forums where we can find the details of Transfer maids who are available for new contract?
I have heard from friends who found theirs on FB groups.
This article is a good reference, thanks!
I’ll like to ask, before you even applied for the work permit, did you have to get a written consent from the FDW’s current employer first? It’s mentioned on mom website, and its an additional step on top of the declaration form signing. So was wondering if its mandatory, or just a good-to-have thing before the work permit application. https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-domestic-worker/transfer-to-a-new-employer
Thanks for your compliments. If my memory serves me well, it was a good-to-have document when I made my application. Ultimately, the current employer has to sign the declaration from attached to the IPA letter consenting to the transfer.
Really appreciate your reply, and such a quick one too! Very often, many authors do not respond to comments on old posts, so kudos to your efforts. Your article and reply gives me a much better idea of what I should do now. Thank you!
Thanks for the article, well written. How about the contract sign between you and your helper? Do you happen to have one?
SHC, it will be issued by the respective embassy. For my helper case, it is from Indonesia.
Hi not sure if you’re still answering questions on this post. When you apply for IPA, can the date of transfer be set 4 months in advance. Means we do the paperwork today, but we only want to transfer her in June. (Transfer maid case)
Yes, you can but you are probably starting the paperwork too early. I wrote that “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.”
Hi there , would you be able to assist me in the whole application process as I’m quite the dummy in computer and online stuff.
Really need help .. I am 65 .. appreciate much 🙏