Hiring Indonesian, Filipino And Indian Maids In Singapore: The Difference In Cost

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Besides paying for COVID-19 related costs, employers of Indonesian maids will now have to fork out an additional $3,000. Here’s how much (and how difficult) hiring a maid can cost today.

One in five households in Singapore employ a maid. However, COVID-19 has made it more difficult for employers to hire foreign domestic workers (FDW) in Singapore. Those that are able to enter Singapore have to take swab tests and undergo stay-home notice (SHN), an additional cost that employers have to bear. 

On that note, FDWs have been making up a portion of our imported COVID-19 case count in recent weeks. For example, on 22 December 2020, of the 29 new COVID-19 cases, 21 were FDWs employed to work in Singapore. 

FDW in Singapore: High demand, low supply

Families looking to employ maids will find it more challenging than ever. 

Due to COVID-19, travel restrictions have been imposed and fewer flights are now being operated. it can now take up to three months to bring in a new maid — up from one month or less pre-COVID. 

For every transfer FDW available, there are 15 to 20 potential employers vying for them.

Cost of hiring Filipino, Indonesian or Indian Maids 

Hiring a FDW in today’s climate is a lot more costly than before. With COVID-19, employers must now pay for the incoming FDW’s swab tests if they are coming from a high-risk country and SHN at dedicated facilities. This can add up to about $1,700.

When hiring a maid, you’ll have to pay her monthly salary. This differs based on the country your maid is from as there is a minimum wage for FDWs:

Home countryMinimum monthly wage
Indonesia$550
Philippines$570
Myanmar$450
Sri Lanka$497
IndiaNo minimum wage set by their Embassy

The monthly wages also depend on the worker’s nationality and experience. For example, an experienced helper from the Philippines could command a salary of up to $900 per month. This is up from $700 previously.

Besides the minimum monthly wage imposed by their home country’s embassy, nationality also matters because of factors such as language proficiency. For example, Filipinos are known to be more fluent in English.

The latest on hiring an Indonesian maid

About half of the 252,000 FDWs in Singapore as of June 2020 are Indonesian. If you’re looking to hire an Indonesian maid, you’ll have to foot additional costs.

From January 2021, Indonesian authorities have implemented a new rule that will pass the cost of the FDW placement fee onto employers. This will add an extra cost of up to $3,000.

This is a one-time fee that must be paid in order for the new Indonesian FDW to enter Singapore debt-free. It will help to cover expenses such as transportation, accommodation and medical examinations — expenses incurred by new FDWs when coming to Singapore. 

Previously, these costs were borne by the maid, having their salary deducted for the first few months, or close to a year. 

Here’s a breakdown of what the costs incurred by the employer as well as the Indonesian authorities looks like: 

Now that it’s more costly to employ an Indonesian maid, some employers might look for FDW of other nationalities instead, especially if they’re looking to lower cost and are not picky about the maid’s nationality.

If you’re going to hire a maid, don’t forget to get a maid insurance plan for your domestic helper (made compulsory by the Ministry of Manpower)!

Read these next: 
Best Maid Insurance Promotions and Discounts
Maid Insurance 2021: What To Look Out For and How To Find the Best Plan?
7 Most Reliable Maid Agencies In Singapore 2020
Step-By-Step Guide to Hiring a Maid Without an Agency in Singapore
If I Get COVID-19, What Will I Need To Pay?


By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.