indonesian domestic helpers

The Complete Guide to Hiring a Domestic Helper in Malaysia

  • Category : Regulations, Malaysia, Costs, Hiring Practices
  • Date : May 23, 2019
  • Comments : 10

We've got you covered. Read our comprehensive guide on how you can hire a domestic helper in Malaysia.

With the increasing number of dual income families in Malaysia, most households have a hard time balancing work and family responsibilities. As such, there is healthy demand for domestic helpers and maids to help families alleviate the pressures of maintaining a clean household, babysitting kids, caring for elderly parents, caring for the sick and the usual household tasks of cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.

According to the Malaysian Maid Employers’ Association (Mama), there are more than 250,000 registered domestic workers in Malaysia.

Eligibility on Hiring a Domestic Helper in Malaysia

In order to employ a domestic helper or maid in Malaysia, you have to satisfy these eligibility requirements:-

  • You must be a citizen or a permanent resident of Malaysia
  • Your reasons for hiring a maid must include being a married couple, single parent or individual with:
  • children under 15 years old
    • a disabled child
    • sick or ill parents
    • a sick immediate family member
 

There are also income requirements for employers depending on the helper’s source country. For source countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, a minimum of RM3,000 per month is required. As for countries like Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka, you will need to have at least RM5,000 per month income.

Individuals who are bankrupt, have pending cases with the Immigration Department of Malaysia and/or have been blacklisted by the Labour Department are not allowed to employ domestic helpers.

Other points to note when hiring a domestic helper in Malaysia:

  • Being able to provide medical reports or proof of relationship if hiring for the care of family members
  • A couple is only allowed to have 1 maid employed at a time
  • Muslim employers may only hire Muslim maids
  • The conditions of the employment contract must be strictly adhered to

Countries You Can Hire Helpers From

The countries that employers are allowed to hire from are:

  • Thailand
  • Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Cambodia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Laos
  • Vietnam

Qualifications For Foreign Maids

  • Is a female
  • Aged 21-45 years old during application
  • Should not be blacklisted by the Immigration Department
  • Should not have a temporary working visa for another employer which is active

Now that you have an idea of the regulatory requirements, you’re probably deciding on how best to search for a domestic helper, be it through a maid agency or directly.

Costs of Hiring a Domestic Helper in Malaysia

Since the Immigration Department of Malaysia expanded hiring options for domestic helpers in 2018, you have other ways to go about hiring a domestic helper in Malaysia than through a maid agency. You may choose to source for and hire a helper directly without going through middlemen.

Each route has its pros and cons so let’s break it down by time, budget, and preference.

Hiring Through A Maid Agency

What are the costs associated with hiring a helper in Malaysia?

Let’s break it down into individual costs:-

  • Malaysian agency’s placement fee can start from RM3,000 onwards. This fee is mostly made up of a fee for matching employers to suitable candidates, processing and facilitation of the various employment-related visas and documents
  • Overseas agent’s fees for services such as recruitment of the said helper, arrangement of the helper’s exit visas in her home country
  • Other fees such as work permit costs, flight tickets, training costs, medical check-up fees and insurance costs
 

However bear in mind, the final amount paid by employers will only be a part of the total fees as the other part is the fee paid by the helpers to their agents (typically 2-6 months of their monthly salary). The employer is expected to front the helper’s portion of the fee. The amount will be recovered by the employer progressively over the next few months once the helper starts work.

 

The minimum salary of an Indonesian domestic helper as of 2019 (updated) is RM1,000 per month, a Filipino domestic helper expects to be paid a minimum of US$400 a month, which translates to approximately RM1,600 per month (US$1 = RM4).

However, the actual market rates for Indonesian and Filipino helpers can vary greatly from the official minimum salary level, depending on the helper's experience and qualification. Furthermore, many helpers, especially the experienced ones tend to gravitate to countries that can offer higher pay such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Employers in Malaysia should be prepared to fork out RM1,800 per month for Filipino helpers and RM1,500 per month for Indonesian helpers. 

 

While the Malaysian and Indonesian governments have imposed an official fixed rate of RM8,000 on Malaysian employers for the hiring of an Indonesian maid, in reality, an employer will need to initially fork anywhere from RM12,000 to RM18,000 to employ a maid from Indonesia or from other countries. This comprises of:-

  • Agent’s fee to helper (paid upfront by the employer): RM5,400 - RM9,600
  • Agent’s fee to employer: RM3,000
  • Other ancillary costs
 

 

Costs of a Direct Hire Domestic Helper

Given the prohibitive cost of hiring a domestic helper through employment agencies, the Malaysian government are allowing employers to hire domestic helpers directly from approved source countries online, without going through maid agencies. Read more about the process of hiring domestic helpers directly here.

As stated by Immigration Department Director-General, Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, the overall cost of hiring a foreign helper directly will range from RM1,600 up to RM2,500, including levies, depositing fee, and other processing fees.

The employer will also be required to shoulder other costs such as the flight fees  depending on which country your domestic helper is from, insurances and other fees for training and medical checkup.

Maid Agency VS. Direct Hire: What Are The Pros and Cons?

Having looked at the costs, here are the things you should consider when deciding between the two options.

Maid Agencies

The major drawback of using an agency is the high cost. Aside from its higher rates, there have been complaints about the completion timeframes. For a typical placement, it takes about 2 to 3 months for you to hire a maid. Some agencies also require additional fees to hasten the process.

However, using an agency is an ideal solution for those who want a easy and hassle-free process from sourcing candidates to negotiating the terms, completing the visa/work permit arrangements and finally settling the logistics of getting the helper into the country themselves.

Furthermore, many agents include additional services as part of their fees to include the helper’s training, orientation, replacement policy for changing helpers and counselling and mediation services should there be any issues between the employer and domestic helper.

Specialist agencies can also source for helpers who have special skills in newborn care, elderly or nursing care.

Direct Hire Maids

For direct hiring, its low cost may already be a winning factor for some. Once you have identified your prospective candidate, processing your application through the MyOnline*Maid system is expected to take only about 5-7 days.

Even so, there are still things you should be mindful of. If doing all the legwork is not an issue for you, it’s might be harder to find a maid on your own without having various candidates to review from an agency’s database.

Unless your prospective helper is already in the country and possesses a social visit pass, it might be challenging for you to search for and identify the right candidate all the way from Malaysia. This translates into a longer recruitment process and you should factor this in when deciding between a direct hire maid or agency.

Other Alternatives

Apart from hiring a full-time live-in helper, you may wish to consider looking for part-time domestic help.

While local Amahs are not so easy to find nowadays, there are still part-time domestic helpers who are willing to come in a couple of hours every day to help with chores such as cleaning, cooking and laundry. Local live-in amahs can command salaries of up to RM2,500 to RMR3,500 a month in the Klang Valley area.  

If you have kids, opting for a daycare center may also be another option, coupled with family members who can help you with the school drop-off and pick-up.

The key here is to weigh your options against your individual circumstances and requirements. Whether you’re going through a maid agency, opting for a direct hire or a combination of direct hire - agency to help with the documentation, always go the extra mile to ensure each option satisfies your requirements with respect to convenience, time and budget.

Written by the I Want Helper team.

I Want Helper helps employers connect with domestic helpers and agencies. Find a domestic helper by posting a job or browse candidate profiles. The employment agencies on our platform are verified and personally visited by the I Want Helper team.

Share this post:

10 comments

Admin Support

Hi Bev,
Only Malaysian citizens or Permanent Residents are able to apply for a helper through the MAID Online system. You may wish to refer to the FAQs on https://maid-online.imi.gov.my/maid/main?faq. For further guidance you may contact the Immigration Department of Malaysia's Foreign Domestic Helper unit on their hotline at 03-88801468 or via email admin_maidonline@imi.gov.my

Jun 02 , 2019, 02:44 pm 

Leonard

Is there any way that I can find a potential helper on my own without going through a local hiring agency?

Aug 07 , 2019, 05:25 pm 

Nizam

Is there a minimum wage increase for Indonesian Maid for Thirth year And Forth year of contract set by Indonesia

Aug 09 , 2019, 08:54 am 

Admin Support

Hi Leonard,
Malaysian employers may hire a domestic worker directly without an agent in Malaysia.
However please note that local governments in the workers' respective countries may have their own regulations relating to the hiring of said workers.
For example, Malaysian employers hiring domestic workers from the Philippines are required to engage the services of a duly-licensed Philippine manpower agency which is accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Sep 08 , 2019, 01:44 pm 

May

Hi. I have identified a Filipino helper whom I want to hire directly without an agency. She is currently in the Philippines. What is the procedure for me to hire her, can I only start processing her application (including FOMEMA etc.) once she is in Malaysia? In which case, is she to enter the country as a tourist?

Oct 03 , 2019, 03:06 pm