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Eligibility for Hiring a Domestic Helper [in Singapore]

Updated: Jun 28, 2018

Find out who you can hire as a domestic helper in Singapore and your eligibility as an employer based on the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower of Singapore.



According to a 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research on work-life balance in Singapore, employees spend longer hours in the office than with their families. This has resulted to an inevitable need for a domestic helper to help working professionals juggle their careers and domestic duties, particularly for dual income families.


A domestic helper is someone who is employed to help with tasks relating to the running of a home. They are also sometimes referred to as a domestic worker, domestic servant, maid, nanny or cleaner. A domestic helper’s job description can vary from general household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, laundry to more specific care functions such as child care, elderly care, nursing care and pet care.


In Singapore, depending on your needs and circumstances, you can choose to hire a live-in domestic helper or a part-time helper.

Typically, live-in or full-time domestic helpers are made up of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) who are hired from a foreign country for this purpose.


Ministry of Manpower of Singapore’s (MOM) requirements for FDWs


These are the main eligibility requirements for FDWs who wish to be employed in Singapore:


  • A FDW must be a female between the ages of 23- 50 years. When a domestic helper reaches 50 years old, her work permit may be renewed up til the age of 60.


The domestic workers can only be recruited from these countries; Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Macau, Bangladesh, South Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, India, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar.

  • FDWs with valid work permits issued to them by the MOM are covered by Employment of Foreign and Manpower Act (EFMA). This act stipulates the employer’s responsibilities towards the FDW and the protections afforded to them, such as prompt salary payment, weekly rest days or compensation in-lieu and provision of basic needs such as accommodation, food and medical needs.


  • A FDW can only be employed on a full-time basis and are not permitted to be employed on a part-time or freelance basis. They must only work for and reside with her employer.


Employers who wish to hire FDWs must be at least 21 years old and have the financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep the FDW properly.

Eventhough MOM does not provide an official figure for the minimum income requirements for employers looking to hire a domestic worker, MOM does state that the employer should have a household income that can realistically support the overall cost of hiring and maintaining a foreign domestic worker.


Not sure about the costs? Read our article on the costs of hiring a domestic helper.


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