Revolutionizing Domestic Help Search: Hire a Maid Directly in Singapore Without an Agency

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How do you direct hire a maid in Singapore? Many homeowners are asking the question due to the rising costs of getting the services of a maid employment agency. However, bear in mind that a maid agency in Singapore only follows the mandate of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the current costs of the usual expenses included in hiring a maid.

But still, if you’re willing to take the extra steps of looking and direct hiring a domestic helper and filing all the paperwork, you will save a lot in the end. Moreover, it’s not only you who will save money but your domestic helper as well. Both you and the maid can benefit from the process.

In this article, you will learn how to hire a maid without a maid agency and why.

Getting a Foreign Domestic Worker or Maid Directly and Without a Maid Agency

So if you are among the homeowners wondering if this can be done, the answer is yes. You can hire maid without agency through direct hiring. This do-it-yourself way of maid hiring will benefit households with limited income sources but in dire need of a domestic worker.

You are not to blame if you’re thinking this way. Some maid agencies require upfront payment equivalent to more than five months’ domestic helper salary. The amount equates to your convenience. This is because the maid agency deals with the nitty-gritty parts of the maid hiring process.

These include getting or helping you purchase maid insurance and a temporary work permit and coming up with a safety agreement and employment contract. It also deals with a previous employer when hiring transfer maids, arranging the transfer date of your new maid, and managing the air ticket, monthly levy, IPA letter, and other necessary documents.

You see, hiring a maid is tasking. Hence, the fees are required by a maid agency. But if you think you can handle the hard work and great responsibility as a future new employer, then let no one stop you.

Benefit: Save Money by Hiring Maid Without an Agency

In reality, a maid agency acts as a middle person between you and a foreign domestic worker. So it doesn’t only earn from you but from the maid as well. It’s a common scenario for a domestic worker to forego their first few months’ worth of salary to pay for the maid agency.

By handling all admin work when you hire a maid directly, you will save money and give your domestic worker a good deal.

So how do you go about the hiring process of getting transfer maids or a new maid to help you with household chores or look after an elderly family member? The following will guide you on the step-by-step process of hiring a maid without a maid agency.

Step 1: Attend the Employer’s Orientation Programme (EOP)

One of the conditions set forth by MOM for all employers who want to hire maids is attending the EOP. You must also qualify for the following requirements:

  • Mentally and financially competent to hire a maid
  • Aged 21 and above
  • Not an undischarged bankrupt

The EOP is only required if you are a first-time employer or an employer who has changed maids often (i.e., MOM has tagged you for red flag behaviors). Depending on whether you do it in person or online, the price ranges from S$35 to S$60. For all first-time hirers, you must attend the EOP, and the MOM page has all necessary details.

Step 2: Search and Filter Suitable Candidates

This is the challenging part of the process: locating and filtering the maid who will fit your requirements. Since every employer has different criteria for what they’re looking for, you are free to set the qualifications.

However, regardless of your particular circumstance, the maid must finish all MOM requirements. These include the following:

  • Maid personal information – gender, age, home country, home address, educational background
  • Participate in the Settling-In Programme (for first-time maids in Singapore)

So, where do you begin the hunt?

Employers who choose to handle things themselves may already have someone in mind, usually a maid who comes highly recommended by a friend or family member. They are called transfer maids since they have experience being employed in Singapore.

However, you can also use internet databases in the process. Note that these databases may be limited to transfer maids and those still working in Singapore. The procedures you would need to follow to hire someone will depend on their standing. Moreover, you might be required to pay a minimal fee to access the databases.

Step 3: Negotiate Your Terms

After shortlisting ideal candidates as a maid, it’s time to get in touch with them to discuss your terms. You have to explain the scope of the job. This will vary depending on the needs of your family member or household.

You must also take into account the following factors about the applicants as maid:

  • Religion
  • Family situation
  • Abilities
  • Medical requirements
  • Rest day preferences

Be clear with your expectations. As an employer, you have a great responsibility to enforce rules but not abuse your position. With or without a mandate from MOM, you must never bully a maid or abuse your power. It will tarnish not only your reputation but Singapore as your country as well.

Step 4: File for a New Work Permit

After finding “the one,” the next step is to handle the time-consuming process of managing and filing the paperwork. First, visit the MOM webpage to submit an application for a new work visa for your maid.

Next, acquire a work permit, which validity is two years. You will also read on the website of MOM information about the rules for getting a transfer maid or a maid who is still based abroad. You can apply for the work permit yourself, through MOM’s web application.

Step 5: Pay the Security Bond Set by MOM

You need to comply with the mandates of MOM regarding some insurance requirements for your maid. Some inclusions are S$15,000 for hospitalization insurance every year and S$60,000 for personal accident insurance.

You have a variety of maid insurance alternatives at your disposal. To make the best decision, go over the list of the top maid insurance plans and special offers and review each.

Also, MOM will require you to pay a security bond amounting to S$5,000. It may be expensive, but it is required, not unless your new maid is Malaysian. You will only get the security bond back once the work permit of the maid has lapsed and they have returned to their home country.

In most instances, you can buy a package consisting of both the security bond and insurance. You can do this even when hiring a transfer maid. The details for insurance can be found, again, in a handy guide by MOM.

Moreover, you will shoulder the cost of the airline ticket of the maid if they are from other countries, such as the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, and more. Upon the arrival of your maid in Singapore, you must be done with the work permit application and contract.

Next, take your maid to a photo-taking studio and fingerprinting within a week after you have obtained their work permit. Then, your maid must undergo a medical examination within two weeks of arriving in Singapore.

Step 6: Paying the Monthly Levy by Setting Up an Interbank GIRO

MOM ensures the number of maids working in Singapore does not exceed. This is why it requires employers to pay levy costs monthly.

Prepare S$300 for the levy. But you can also get a discounted rate of around $60 if you are eligible for the discount. If you have more than one maid or transfer maid, expect the levy to increase to S$450. You can pay all these through interbank GIRO. You can check the monthly levies you must pay before proceeding with the transaction.

Step 7: Sign Employment and Safety Contracts with Your New Maid

Finally, you are almost done with the process once you’ve obtained the work permit of your maid. You only have a few paperwork to finish. One, sign a safety agreement or written consent as mandated by MOM. You can download it from its website, and the form is available in different formats and languages.

For your assurance, make your maid sign an employment contract. This contract includes the agreed-upon payment, a notice period, and the number of rest days per month.


Hiring a maid without an agency entails a lot of effort and hard work for employers. But it will save you and your maid money. If you decide to push through with it as an employer, ensure that you have covered everything. You have to work on the new work permit, insurance, pay agreement, declaration form, security deposit, security bond, and other things mentioned above.

If you ever change your mind or want guidance from a pro, you can get in touch with RC Caregivers to help make the process easier. We’re a dedicated maid agency with years of experience. We can help you find what you’re looking for within the timeframe you have set and the budget you can afford.

Joshua is the founder of RC Caregivers. Having been the primary caregiver of his father, he has been undertaking ways to provide affordable and quality care, not just to his father, but to all elderly in Singapore. He has founded multiple care companies, such as Red Crowns Senior Living, and has been featured in Straits Times, Zaobao and Money 93FM. He has also been lauded by DBS, with the company being the recipient of the DBS foundation grant.
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