Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

Complete guide on obtaining a Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) in Singapore

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on acquiring a Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore. This article covers essential information, eligibility criteria, the application process, and everything you need to know about hiring a foreign domestic worker in Singapore.

To apply for a Work Permit for a foreign domestic worker (FDW) in Singapore, the employer can either apply on their own or through an employment agency. The employer must be at least 21 years old, not bankrupt, and mentally able to supervise the FDW. The FDW must be female, over 23 years of age and below 50, from one of the eligible countries, and have at least 8 years of formal education. The processing time for the application is about 1 week if no additional information is needed, and it may take longer if additional information is required. Once the application is approved, the employer will receive an in-principle approval (IPA) letter and declaration forms for the FDW to sign. The FDW needs to register her fingerprints and photo at the MOM Services Centre within 1 week of issuing the Work Permit. The Work Permit card will be delivered to the employer’s address within 5 working days after the FDW’s documents are verified.

What is a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)?

Foreign Domestic Workers are individuals from specific countries who come to Singapore to work in the homes of Singaporean employers, assisting with household and domestic chores. The FDW Work Permit is one of the various types of work passes and permits offered to foreign workers in Singapore.

Eligibility Criteria for Employers

To qualify for hiring a foreign domestic worker, employers in Singapore must meet certain eligibility criteria:

Age Requirement

The employer must be at least 21 years old.

Bankruptcy Status

The employer cannot be an undischarged bankrupt.

Mental Health Condition

The employer cannot have any mental disorder or disability that may impair their ability to supervise the FDW and take charge of their well-being.

Eligibility Criteria for Foreign Domestic Workers

Foreign domestic workers, too, need to fulfil specific criteria to be eligible for a Work Permit:

Gender Requirement

The FDW must be female.

Age Requirement

The FDW must be over 23 years old and below 50 at the time of applying. Applicants over 50 can only renew their Work Permit.

Nationality Requirement

The FDW must be a national of one of the following countries:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

Education Level

She must have at least 8 years of formal education.

Conditions for Employing a Foreign Domestic Worker

When hiring an FDW, employers must adhere to specific conditions:

Valid Work Permit

The FDW must possess a valid Work Permit.

Single Employer

The FDW can work for only one employer.

Household Chores

The FDW is restricted to performing domestic and household chores.

Working Address

The FDW should work only at the address where the employer resides.

Exception for Child or Elderly Care

An exemption is made if the FDW is taking care of the employer’s children or elderly parents at another location during the day.

Live-In Arrangement

The FDW must live in the same household as the employer.

No Other Employment

The FDW is not allowed to take up any other work, even part-time.

Rest Day

The FDW is entitled to one paid rest day per week.

Additional Requirements for Employers and FDWs

In addition to the aforementioned conditions, there are other requirements both the employer and the FDW must comply with:

Health Insurance

The employer is responsible for obtaining foreign domestic worker medical insurance covering:

  • At least $15,000 per year during her stay in Singapore.
  • Hospitalization, medical emergencies, and surgeries.

The employer must also secure Employer Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) with a minimum coverage of S$60,000 to protect against unexpected accidents resulting in the helper’s permanent injury or death.

Medical Examination

Within two weeks of the FDW’s arrival in Singapore, the employer must arrange for her to undergo a medical examination conducted by a Singapore-registered doctor. The Medical Examination Form, available on the Ministry of Manpower’s website, should be brought along during the visit.

The medical examination determines the FDW’s fitness to work and checks for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis, or malaria. Failure to pass the medical examination will result in the denial of the Work Permit.

The FDW is required to undergo a medical examination every six months throughout her work permit duration.

Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP)

Employers applying for the Work Permit for the first time, as well as those who have repeatedly changed FDWs, are obliged to attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP). This three-hour program, which can be taken either in a classroom or online, must be completed at least two days before applying for the Work Permit.

Settling-In Programme (SIP) for the FDW

First-time FDWs coming to Singapore must attend the Settling-In Programme within the first three days of their arrival. The one-day program covers various topics, including an introduction to Singapore, home safety, employment conditions, stress management, and more. The FDW cannot commence work until completing this program.

Security Bond

Employers are required to purchase security bonds for each FDW they hire, except for Malaysian workers. The security bond serves as insurance, ensuring the employer pays a fee of up to S$5,000 to the government in case of any violation related to employing a foreign domestic worker.

The employer must pay the security bond in situations such as:

  • Violation of Work Permit or security bond rules by the employer or the worker.
  • Delay in paying the FDW’s salary.
  • Failure to ensure the FDW’s return home after the Work Permit expires.
  • Absence of the FDW without proper notice.

In cases where the employer makes an effort to find the missing FDW, they may only have to pay half of the bond.

FDW Levy

Employers are required to pay a monthly levy for each foreign domestic worker they employ, following the levy rates below:

  • First-time FDW: S$300 per month
  • Subsequent FDW: S$450 per month
  • Levy Concession: S$60 per month (if the employer has a child, a person with a disability, or an elderly person in the household)

Required Documents for FDW Work Permit Application

When submitting the Foreign Domestic Worker Work Permit application, the Singaporean employer must include several supporting documents, including:

Singaporean Employer

If the employer is a Singapore citizen, a copy of their ID card is required.

Non-Singaporean Employer

If the employer is not a Singapore citizen, they must provide a copy of their Employment/Dependent’s Pass.

LTVP Holder Employer

For employers who hold a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP), the following documents are necessary:

  • Copy of their LTVP Pass
  • Copy of their child’s birth certificate or Student Pass (if applicable)
  • Documents proving the employer’s income and that of their spouse.

FDW’s Passport

A copy of the FDW’s passport must be submitted.

Additional Documents for Malaysian FDWs

If the FDW is from Malaysia, the following documents are required:

  • A copy of her ID Card
  • A copy of her SPM certificate (The Malaysian Certificate of Education)
  • Copies of the birth certificates of the employer’s children (if applicable)
  • Copy of the ID Cards of the employer’s parents or parents-in-law.

Please note that the list of documents provided above may not be exhaustive, and the Ministry of Manpower may request additional documents if necessary. All documents submitted must be in English; if not, they should be translated by an official translator.

How to Apply for a Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Workers?

The responsibility for submitting the Work Permit application for a foreign domestic worker lies with the employer in Singapore, although they can also appoint an employment agency to handle the application on their behalf. The application process can be done either online or manually.

Applying Online

The online application process for a Work Permit for an FDW involves the following steps:

  • FDW’s Consent: The FDW gives a letter of consent to the employer, stating her agreement to be employed.
  • Online Application: The employer logs in to the Ministry of Manpower’s Online Application Tool and completes the application. Required documents are attached during this step.
  • Application Fee: The employer pays the application processing fee, which amounts to S$35.
  • In-Principle Approval (IPA): If the application is approved, the employer receives an in-principle approval (IPA) letter or a letter of notification, which must be given to the FDW to allow her entry into Singapore. The online application processing time for an FDW Work Permit typically takes about one week.

Applying Manually

The manual application process for a Work Permit for an FDW involves the following steps:

  • FDW’s Consent: The FDW gives a letter of consent to the employer, stating her agreement to be employed.
  • Download the Application Form: The employer downloads the Work Permit application form from the Ministry of Manpower’s website.
  • Prepare Documents: All required documents are attached to the application form.
  • Pay the Processing Fee: The employer pays the S$35 processing fee and retains the receipt.
  • Submission: The application is submitted at a SingPost branch, from where it will be mailed to the Ministry of Manpower.
  • In-Principle Approval (IPA): If the application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower will mail the employer an in-principle approval (IPA) letter or a letter of notification, which must be given to the FDW to allow her entry into Singapore. The manual application processing time for an FDW Work Permit typically takes about three weeks.

Once the application, either online or manual, is approved, and the FDW has arrived in Singapore, the employer can proceed with requesting to issue the Work Permit.

Requesting to Issue the Work Permit

Before the employer requests to issue the Work Permit, the FDW must complete the Settling-In Programme (SIP) and undergo a medical examination.

The process for requesting to issue the Work Permit is as follows:

  • Submit Request: The employer logs in to MOM’s Online Application Tool and makes the request.
  • Provide Delivery Address: The employer provides the address to which MOM can deliver the Work Permit card.
  • Pay Fee: The employer pays the S$35 fee.
  • Temporary Work Permit: The employer prints the Temporary Work Permit, which allows the FDW to enter and leave Singapore until the formal card is delivered. The Temporary Work Permit also allows the FDW to start working immediately. If required, it notifies the FDW about the need to register her fingerprints and photo.

Registering the Fingerprints and Photo

If the Temporary Work Permit indicates that the FDW needs to register her photo and fingerprints, she must do so within one week at the MOM Services Center. During this visit, she must bring her passport, appointment letter, and Temporary Work Permit.

The MOM will mail the Work Permit Card to the employer’s address within four working days after registering the fingerprints and photo.

Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker Renewal

A Work Permit for a foreign domestic worker is initially valid for a maximum of up to two years, and it can be renewed. Once renewed, it remains valid for another two years. The Ministry of Manpower sends the employer a renewal letter approximately eight weeks before the foreign domestic worker’s permit expires.

Upon receiving the FDW renewal letter, the employer can proceed with submitting the application to renew it online.

What is the process for applying for a Work permit for a Foreign Domestic Worker in Singapore

To apply for a Work Permit for a foreign domestic worker (FDW) in Singapore, the employer can either apply on their own or through an employment agency. The employer must be at least 21 years old, not bankrupt, and mentally able to supervise the FDW. The FDW must be female, over 23 years of age and below 50, from one of the eligible countries, and have at least 8 years of formal education. The processing time for the application is about 1 week if no additional information is needed, and it may take longer if additional information is required. Once the application is approved, the employer will receive an in-principle approval (IPA) letter and declaration forms for the FDW to sign. The FDW needs to register her fingerprints and photo at the MOM Services Centre within 1 week of issuing the Work Permit. The Work Permit card will be delivered to the employer’s address within 5 working days after the FDW’s documents are verified.

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Acquiring a Work Permit for a Foreign Domestic Worker in Singapore may seem like a complex process, but with careful attention to the eligibility criteria, document preparation, and adherence to the guidelines, employers can navigate the application smoothly. By fulfilling the necessary requirements and submitting the appropriate documentation, you can welcome a skilled and reliable FDW into your home to assist with domestic chores, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life. Remember, the FDW Work Permit is a vital step towards building a harmonious and productive working relationship with your domestic helper.