after 4 years of working for us, our maid has finally decided that she will go home this year, at the end of validity of her working permit in early june. she has been with us since naia was 3 months old and has been working with my family even way longer than that. she started working for my mom when i was still in the US.
so now that it means we need to look for a new maid, we decided that we should take care of the working permit application ourselves. no need to involve a maid agency in the process. from my past experience when applying for the renewal of the working permit, it seems that the process is quite fast and easy. everything in singapore is fast and easy, and everything is spelled out clearly on the websites. as long as we can find someone from indonesia who would be willing to work for us for at least the next 2 years, we’re all set.
my mom is the one who helped finding this new maid. she worked in kuwait before, for 5 years, taking care of her employer’s children. so it’d be perfect. the only different is that, she is much older than my current one. fortunately, still within the legal limit to work in singapore. i figured, i want someone older this time because i need someone who’s serious about working here and hopefully will stay with us long enough.
after identifying that she is ready to come and work for us in singapore, we helped her to make her new passport. she has her old passport before but because it was done through PJTKI (somehow marked and can be used as a “target” when she enters or leaves indonesian immigration), we decided to make a new one for her. in the meantime, i asked her to prepare the translation of her secondary school diploma, birth certificate and a letter from her husband stating that he gives permission for her to work.
i’ve had too many experiences with my current maid that everytime she enters indonesia, she got stopped and told to go through a different lane specifically for TKW (indonesian non-skilled worker sent abroad). upon going into this lane, they become the target for some unauthorized people who would try to ask for money. of course, i wound interrupted and dismissed this. though there are plenty of stories we heard about this. and i couldn’t quite understand why indonesian immigration would stop my maid when entering her own country. it’s like she cannot work outside of indonesia, when in fact she was making good money for her and her family. she has the permit to work in singapore and legal to stay. for this purpose, and since our maid is not going through any employment agency, we want her passport to be unmarked and treated like the general tourist.
so, once the passport is ready, i apply for an IPA (In-Principle Approval) letter which she will need to bring once she enters the country. along with IPA, i also apply the medical insurance and security bond, which is mandatory by the MOM (ministry of manpower) before she enters the country. all is done through MOM’s website.
for a first-time maid (FDW – foreign domestic worker) to be eligible to work in singapore, she must:
1. be a minimum of 23 years old, max of 50 years old.
2. has completed a min of 8 years of education (secondary school or junior high school)
3. medically fit to work
4. enrolled in a Settling In Programme (SIP) which is a replacement of the entry english test.
the english test was a mandatory for all FDW who come to singapore to work. they must pass the test after 3 tries in 3 days. if she does not pass the test, she will have to leave singapore and try again. as of May 1, 2012 this test was omitted and replaced with SIP, an all day program where the FDWs are required to attend the workshop about working and living in singapore. the SIP is currently organized by 2 vendors (both names can be found in MOM’s website) and the fee is $75.
for a first time employer of FDW, s/he has to go through an employer orientation. this can be done online and only takes about 3 hours. you can also attend the class if you want. i did it online during my first maternity leave, so i don’t have to go through it again this time. oh, btw, this whole application thing must be done using your singpass. so, better apply for it once you receive your pass (dependent pass, employment pass, or PR)
an employer is allowed to apply for a FDW in her household if she has child(ren) below 12 years old or parents who needed help (sick).
once everything is in place, i applied the working permit online for the IPA. i applied at 9.30AM and got the approval by 3.30PM, the same day! after the approval came, i contacted NTUC and requested for a Foreign Maid Package. this package is bundled specifically for FDW employer to buy. it has all the requirements that MOM requested, health insurance and $5000 security bond. for 2 years period, the cost is about $256.
since everything is done online, they only requested for the transmission number appears in the IPA, so that they can linked and apply for the health insurance for the said FDW. all these documents must be brought by the FDW when she enters the country. the immigration will then scan the docs to ensure all the necessary items have been applied and in place.
hubby took an overnight trip to jakarta to pick up my new maid. since he needs to bring all the documents, we wanted to make sure that everything is safe and proper when she enters the country. of course, our main concern was not on the singapore immigration, it was in fact in indonesian immigration that we were worried. from the KTKLN requirements, to a marked passport. good thing, it was done smoothly, though she was asked and given weird comments from the indonesian immigration.
so on her way out leaving indonesia, the indonesian immigration officer asked my maid on her intention to travel. she answered that she’s going on a trip to singapore with her cousin (pointed to my husband). the immigration officer then asked, “for how long?”. she picked up a number from a sky and answered, “10 days”. the officer replied, “make sure you don’t work there!”
excuse me? who says she cannot work? even if she does want to work, it’s not up to him to deny it. it’s up to the government and immigration in the destination country who can say that she is allowed or not allowed to work. weird, isn’t it?
anyway, she entered singapore smoothly since all docs are on hand.
early on monday morning, the next day after she arrived to singapore, my hubby took my maid to attend the SIP. during the registration, they checked the documents such as the school diploma, passport and birth certificate of the FDW. as mentioned, it’s a whole day program, so she was there pretty much from 9am to 6pm. hubby picked her up at 6pm and she was given a certificate to proof that she has completed it.
since it was too late to go for medical check up, the next day we took her to see a doctor at the local clinic nearby our apartment. we brought the medical check-up form that we printed off of the MOM website so that the doctor knows what kind of things needed to be checked. this includes a blood test and an x-ray test (cost about $72 in total, i went to a local clinic). it took less than 2 days for the result to come up. once the result is received, we would know that based on the tests, the doctor would give his OK to confirm that the FDW is fit or unfit to work. once the result shows as fit to work, i applied for the issuance of the working permit online. for this we will need to pay $20 for processing of the card. the approval came in an instant, where we would be given an instruction on what to bring for the card issuance. this includes the medical check up form (signed by the doctor), birth certificates of the employer’s children, passport, photo, etc.
this is done through the work permit office at the tanjong pagar complex. my hubby and my maid went there for the submitting all the docs requested (most of them needed the signature, therefore we need to submit the hardcopies), fingerprint and photo image. once this is done, then she’s all set.
4 days after, we just need to go back to pick up the working permit, which took less than 5 minutes to do. the whole process is completed in less than 2 weeks after her arrival to singapore.
when my first maid arrived here, i didn’t think that it was this easy to go through the whole process ourselves. so we engaged with a maid agency. we spent about $1K for the whole thing. going through the process ourselves only costs us less than $200. yes, it also costs us time, but not too much time as everything is done very fast and simple.
i guess it’s worth taking our leave than paying that much money to a maid agency. so if you are new in singapore or going to move to singapore with your maid, just follow the above steps. log on to MOM website and apply for your singpass. that’s all you need to have and you’re all set!
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