A woman posing in a perfect dress for infographicSingapore Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) / Domestic Helper

Foreign Domestic Workers (also known as foreign home care workers, foreign migrant workers, foreign domestic helpers, transnational domestic workers, foreign domestic employees, overseas domestic workers and domestic migrant workers) are, according to the International Labour Organization’s Convention No. 189 and the International Organization for Migration, any persons “moving to another country or region to better their material or social conditions and improve the prospect for themselves or their family,” engaged in a work relationship performing “in or for a household.”

The Work Permit (WP) for a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) allows to perform domestic works as a domestic helper in Singapore.

Maid: The term “maid” is a degrading term which is still commonly used in Singapore. There is a sense of servitude and immediately puts one lower on the social order which is completely wrong. They are also just working like other professionals. The term “maid” actually reinforces the treatment of domestic workers as lower beings because it subconsciously reiterates the wrongful notion that they are somehow lower in the social order or status.

Our domestic workers are working in Singapore at great personal costs with low wages and often backbreaking hours. We should therefore be mindful of not making their position any worst!

We need to exercise better judgment on our choice of words. Hence we have refrained from using such low grade term which has been replaced with “Domestic Helper”, “Domestic Worker” or “Domestic Assistant”.

Singapore Passes available for Skilled And Semi-Skilled Workers
Comparison of All Skilled And Semi-Skilled Work Passes And Work Permits In Singapore

Key facts on Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) / Domestic Helper in Singapore

Get an overview and key facts about the Work Permit for foreign workers.

Pass Facts

Find out key facts about the Work Permit for FDWs:

Who it is for
  • Foreigners employed as domestic helpers in Singapore. Both employers and FDWs must meet the the eligibility criteria
Who can apply
  • An employer or appointed employment agent needs to apply for the permit.
Qualifying salary
  • No minimum required.
What is the duration
  • Up to 2 years, depending on the validity of the security bond.
Is it renewable
  • Yes.
Foreign worker levy
  • Yes. Employers must pay a monthly levy.
Medical insurance
  • Employers must provide medical and personal accident insurance.
Relevant legislation
  • Conditions of Work Pass
  • Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

Pass Map

Get an idea of what you need to do before, during and after you apply for a Work Permit.

Pass Map For Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) / Helper / Assistant in Singapore
Before applying:
  • Know the eligibility and requirements for hiring an FDW
  • Understand employer’s guidelines
  • Attend Employer orientation (applicable to first-time employer)
Before FDW’s arrival:
Upon FDW arrival:
  • Pay the Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) (GIRO is required)
Every 6 Months:
  • Send FDW for medical examination
As and when required:
  • Notify MOM of any changes
  • Apply for levy waiver in certain specific situations, if eligible
  • Renew a Work Permit
  • Replace a Work Permit card
  • Cancel a Work Permit upon expiry or termination of service / contract

Eligibility and requirements

You need to meet certain requirements to hire a foreign domestic worker (FDW). These include eligibility, security bond and insurance.

Foreign domestic worker eligibility

A foreign domestic worker (FDW) needs to meet age, nationality and education requirements to get a Work Permit.

Who is eligible

The foreign domestic worker you hire needs to meet these requirements:


  • Female.


  • From 23 to 50 years old at the time of application.
  • FDWs above 50 years old can only renew their work permits until they reach 60 years old.

Source country/region

  • From an approved source country or region, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand.


  • Minimum 8 years of formal education with a recognised certificate.
In addition, the FDW needs to:
  • Be employed at your home address as stated on your NRIC.
  • Attend the Settling-In Programme if she is a first-time FDW. MOM will inform the employer if an FDW needs to attend SIP in the approval letter.
  • Not be related to the employer.
  • Not be in Singapore during the application for the Work Permit. She should only arrive after you receive the in-principle approval and buy a $5,000 security bond.
    Note: This does not apply to Malaysian workers.
Criteria for first-time FDWs

A first-time FDW is one who has never worked in Singapore as an FDW before. This includes an FDW who:

  • Doesn’t have an FDW employment record with MOM’s Work Pass Division.
  • Has an FDW employment record with MOM but eventually did not work in Singapore.
Educational Requirements for First-time Foreign Domestic Workers

Employer requirements for hiring an FDW

As an employer, you need to meet the eligibility criteria before hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

Who is eligible

To hire an FDW, you must:

  • Be 21 years old and above
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Have the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer.

MOM will also consider your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep the FDW in an acceptable accommodation.

If you are a first time FDW employer, you must attend an Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) before you apply for an FDW.

Refer to this pre-hiring checklist before deciding whether to hire an FDW, also available in MalayMandarin and Tamil.

You should not be diagnosed with any medical condition that would impair your ability to exercise supervision and control over the well-being of the FDW. Examples of such medical conditions include Alzheimer, dementia and schizophrenia which can cause symptoms such as severe memory lapses, confusion, emotional instability, progressive loss of mental ability, paranoia, etc.

Hiring a second FDW

MOM will consider applications for a second FDW if you have caregiving needs, such as having 2 or more children below the age of 18 or a parent or parent-in-law over 60 years old living with you.

You will be assessed on your financial ability to hire, maintain and upkeep more than one FDW in acceptable accommodation.

Use the pass map to get an idea of the steps you need to take when hiring an FDW.

Security bond requirements for Foreign Domestic Worker

You need to buy a security bond for your helper, unless she is Malaysian. You can buy the bond at any bank or insurance company.

What is a security bond

A security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government (up to $5000) if you break the law or the conditions governing the employment of a helper. You need a bond for every helper you employ, unless she is Malaysian.

Bonds usually take the form of an insurance. The insurers guarantee to pay the government should you break the rules; then the insurers pursue you for the money.

You cannot ask your helper to pay for the bond.

When to buy the bond

Before your helper arrives in Singapore, you must buy these for her:

  • Security bond
  • Medical insurance
  • Personal accident insurance.

You can buy these items as a package or separately.

Please ensure that your insurer sends MOM the security bond details (takes up to 3 working days) before she arrives and that the bond takes effect on her arrival date. If not, she will be refused entry and you will have to pay to send her home.

You can check the status of the security bond.

When the bond will be discharged

You will be discharged from the security bond liability only if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You have cancelled the Work Permit.
  • The helper has returned home.
  • You did not breach any of the conditions of the security bond.

If all conditions are met, the security bond will usually be discharged one week after your helper left Singapore.

You’ll be notified by post when the security bond is discharged.

When the bond will be forfeited

Your security bond may be forfeited if:

  • You or your helper violate any of the conditions of the Work Permit or security bond.
  • You don’t pay her salary on time.
  • You fail to send her back when her Work Permit is expired, revoked or cancelled, or if she goes missing.
    If the helper goes missing, half of the security bond ($2,500) will be forfeited if you have made reasonable effort to locate her and have filed a police report.

You will not be liable for your helper’s violations (such as those relating to pregnancy) if you can prove that you have:

  • Informed her of the Work Permit conditions she must comply with.
  • Reported a violation when you first become aware of it.
Insurance requirements for Foreign Domestic Worker

You need to buy medical and personal accident insurance for your helper. Find out the coverage required and how to submit the insurance details.

Before your helper arrives in Singapore, you must buy medical insurance and personal accident insurance as part of your medical obligations to her.

You cannot pass on the cost of purchasing the insurance to your helper.

Medical Insurance

You need to buy medical insurance with a coverage of at least $15,000 per year for inpatient care and day surgery during your helper’s stay in Singapore.

You also need to submit the medical insurance details online when you are issuing or renewing your helper’s Work Permit. You can get your employment agency to submit the details for you.

Click the below link to learn more about upcoming enhancement of Medical Insurance to S Pass & Work Permit holders including Domestic Helpers

Enhanced Coverage For SP, WP-FW & WP-FDW

Personal Accident Insurance
If you’re doing any of the following Your helper’s PAI
  • Applying for new Work Permit from 1 October 2017.
  • Renewing existing Work Permit with PAI that takes effect from 1 October 2017.
  • Must have a sum assured of at least $60,000 per year.
  • Must cover sudden, unforeseen and unexpected incidents resulting in permanent disability or death.
  • Must not contain extra exclusion clauses that are not in the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations.

This is to protect your helper and her family by providing a lump sum compensation if she suffers from permanent disability or passes away due to an accident.

The compensation must be made payable to your helper or her beneficiaries.

Pre-employment medical examination for FDW

You need to send your foreign domestic worker (FDW) for a medical examination before her Work Permit is issued. Find out the requirements for the check-up.

You must send your helper for a medical examination by a Singapore-registered doctor within 2 weeks of her arrival in Singapore. Bring along the medical examination form when she goes for the tests.

Her Work Permit will only be issued if she passes the medical examination. Otherwise, she will have to be sent home.

The medical examination screens the helper for 4 types of infectious disease (tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis and malaria) and checks if she is fit to work.

You may want to send her for more tests if you have specific concerns about her health.

If you want to know the results of the medical examination, you can ask the doctor for a copy of the report.

For transfer FDWs, you need to send your worker for the six-monthly medical examination, if it is due.

Six-monthly medical examination (6ME) for Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)

During your FDW’s employment, you must send her for a medical screening every six months. This medical examination screens for pregnancy and infectious diseases such as syphilis, HIV and tuberculosis.


The 6ME test results must be certified by a Singapore-registered doctor. You must pay for the 6ME and any medical expenses arising from it.

Tests done during 6ME

Our 6ME letters will state the tests your helper needs to do:

Tests for



  • Every 6 months
  • Every 6 months


  • Every 2 years


  • Once, upon 2 years of stay in Singapore
Get the 6ME done at home

You can use the home-based 6ME service if you meet these conditions:

  • Stay in Simei or Tampines (new locations to be added later).
  • Your helper is only due for pregnancy and syphilis tests.
When to send your FDW for 6ME

You will receive a notification letter and 6ME form by post when your helper’s 6ME is due. You must send her for the 6ME before the due date.

You can also log in to the FDW eService to check the previous 6ME’s date. You can then know when the next one is due, and also reprint the 6ME form.

If your FDW is on overseas leave

If the 6ME is due when your helper is away on overseas leave, you can request to postpone it until she returns.

Prepare the following information:

  • Helper’s full name, Work Permit number and date of birth.
  • Helper’s return flight details.
  • Your details:
    • NRIC or FIN number
    • Residential address
    • Contact number

Send to MOM the information and request to postpone using iSubmit. Choose option 5: Work Permit Application Matters for Foreign Domestic Worker (Supporting documents and Appeals) and 6ME for FDW & FW.

If your FDW’s employment is ending soon

You can choose not to send your helper for the 6ME if you are sending her home within 1 month after the 6ME is due.

When to apply for waiver

If you intend to keep her more than 1 month after her 6ME is due, you need to apply for a waiver.

Prepare the following information:

  • Helper’s full name, Work Permit number and date of birth.
  • A copy of the helper’s confirmed travel ticket.
  • Your details:
    • NRIC or FIN number
    • Residential address
    • Contact number

Send to MOM the information and request for waiver using iSubmit. Choose option 5: Work Permit Application Matters for Foreign Domestic Worker (Supporting documents and Appeals) and 6ME for FDW & FW.

If your FDW fails the 6ME

If your FDW did not pass her 6ME, you must cancel her work permit and send her home immediately.

You must attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) if you are hiring a foreign domestic worker for the first time or have changed workers frequently.

At a glance
Who must attend
  • First-time employer or employer who has changed FDWs frequently.
When to attend
  • At least 2 working days before submitting a Work Permit application.
How much it costs
  • Classroom EOP: $35 to $60
  • Online EOP: $35
An image containing info-graphic facts of EOPWhat is the Employers’ Orientation Programme

The Employers’ Orientation Programme is a 3-hour programme that will help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW).

First-time employers must complete the EOP at least 2 working days before submitting a Work Permit application.

Who needs to attend

You need to attend the EOP if:

  • You are a first-time employer of an FDW (you can be exempted if you meet certain criteria).
  • If you have changed more than 3 FDWs within a 12 month period, and you want to apply for another one.

Note: You will have to attend a classroom Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) or attend an interview with MOM before MOM processes your application. You cannot appoint a representative to attend on your behalf.

Register for EOP

You can take the EOP either in the classroom or online. However, MOM encourages you to attend the classroom EOP. The case studies and personal experiences shared in class will give you a better understanding of employing and managing a domestic helper.

Note: Ensure that the information in the EOP registration and Work Permit application forms is the same so that MOM can match the records.

Register for classroom EOP

You can register for classroom EOP at the following Accredited Training Providers (ATPs):

Grace Management & Consultancy Services Pte Ltd


198 Geylang Road


Singapore 389263

Contact Details

Tel: 6299 4333

Email: eop@gmcs.com.sg

URL: www.eop.com.sg


English or Mandarin (alternate weeks)

Malay or Tamil (based on demand)

Course fee 

$35 – English

$40 – Mandarin

$60 – Malay or Tamil


3 hours


Every Friday, 6 pm to 9 pm

How to register

Online at: https://www.eop.com.sg/


  • Please check with Grace Management & Consultancy Services as the class schedule may change.


Nation Employment Pte Ltd


135 Jurong Gateway Road


Singapore 600135

Contact Details

Tel: 6388 8888 & 6665 8199

Email: enquiry@nation.sg

URL: www.nation.com.sg


English or Mandarin (alternate weekly)

Course fee   



3 hours


Every Wednesday, 6 pm to 9 pm

How to register

Walk In


  • Please check with Nation Employment Pte Ltd as the class schedule may change.


Register for online EOP
Grace Management & Consultancy Services Pte Ltd



Course fee 



2 hours

Contact Details

Tel: 6299 4333

Email: eop@gmcs.com.sg

URL: www.eop.com.sg

How to register

Register online at:   https://www.eop.com.sg/


We Are Caring Pte Ltd



Course fee  



2 hours

Contact Details

Tel: 3163 4636

Email: eop@wearecaring.com

URL: www.eop.sg

How to register

Register online at:   https://www.eop.sg/


Appoint a representative or sponsor to attend the EOP

If you are a first-time employer, you are required to attend the EOP as a prerequisite for employing FDWs. However, you may be allowed to appoint a representative or sponsor to attend the programme on your behalf if you meet the following conditions:

If you And one of the following applies to you

Meet one of these conditions:

  • Suffer from a chronic medical condition.
  • Have a physical disability and are unable to walk.
  • Are 60 years old and above and suffer physical discomfort.
  • Have a sponsor or representative (above 21 years old) who has attended EOP on your behalf.
  • Have a sponsor or sponsor’s spouse who has employed an FDW.
  • Are a new or expectant mother
  • Your date of delivery is within 1 month from the date you applied for your spouse to represent you to attend the EOP.
  • You delivered a child within 1 month or less from the date you applied for your spouse to represent you to attend the EOP.

Once your representative or sponsor has attended the EOP, you or a third-party (e.g. employment agency) are required to apply online at www.mom.gov.sg to appoint your representative or sponsor. You will be notified of the outcome immediately.

You will need to provide the following information when applying:

  • SingPass.
  • Employer’s personal particulars.
  • Personal particulars of the sponsor, spouse or representative.Important: Use the same name and identification number as the one used to register for the EOP.
  • Employment agency’s contact details (if applicable).
If you have been advised by MOM to attend the EOP because you have changed FDWs frequently, you must personally attend the classroom EOP.


  • Your spouse, sponsor, sponsor’s spouse or representative has to attend the EOP on your behalf at least 2 working days before you apply online to appoint your representative or sponsor.
  • You can proceed with your Work Permit application one working day after your application to appoint a representative or sponsor is successful.

Note: For detailed instructions, download the flowchart on online application procedure

Documents to keep

If your representative attended the EOP on your behalf, please retain all documents for at least 3 months for audit purposes.

If one of the following applies to you Retain these documents
  • You have a chronic medical illness.
  • You are unable to walk.
  • You are 60 years old and above and suffer from physical discomfort.
  • Your NRIC or FIN.
  • Sponsor’s, sponsor’s spouse’s, or representative’s NRIC or FIN.
  • Medical documents.
  • Sponsor’s or representative’s certificate of attendance of EOP (if applicable).
  • Your date of delivery is within 1 month from the date you applied for your spouse to represent you to attend the EOP.
  • You delivered a child within 1 month or less from the date you applied for your spouse to represent you to attend the EOP.
  • Your NRIC or FIN.
  • Your spouse’s NRIC or FIN.
  • Birth certificate of your child or doctor’s certification of expected date of delivery.
  • Your spouse’s certificate of attendance of EOP.

Settling-In Programme (SIP)

You will have to send a first-time foreign domestic worker (FDW) for the Settling-In Programme when she arrives in Singapore.

All first time foreign domestic workers (FDWs) must attend the FDW Settling-In Programme (SIP) before they are deployed to their employer’s homes. They are also required to bring their full set of In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter (Employee’s copy) to attend the SIP.


At a glance
Who must attend
  • First-time FDWs
When to attend
  • Within 3 days of FDW’s arrival, excluding Sunday and public holidays.
What is the duration
  • 1 day.
When to start work
  • Only after FDW has attended the SIP.
How much it costs
  • $75 (including GST), borne by the FDW’s employer.
  • Conducted in the FDW’s native language.
What is the Settling-In Programme

The Settling-In Programme (SIP) is a 1-day orientation programme for first-time FDWs to educate them on safety precautions and living in Singapore.

The topics covered include:

  • Introduction to Singapore.
  • Employment conditions.
  • Safety at home.
  • Safety in other areas.
  • Relationship and stress management.


  • Your FDW can only start work with you after she has attended the SIP.
What if my MDW does not attend the Settling-In Programme (SIP)?

If your migrant domestic worker fails to attend the SIP within 3 working days of completion of SHN, excluding Sunday and public holiday, she will not be issued her Work Permit and will be sent home.

Working days are Monday to Saturday, excluding Sunday and public holidays.

Register for SIP

When: Before the FDW’s arrival in Singapore

To ensure that your FDW secures a training slot within the first 3 days of her arrival in Singapore, you are advised to register her for the SIP before she arrives in Singapore.

You can register with these Accredited Training Providers (ATPs):

Accredited training provider


Absolute Kinetics Consultancy

Register online at: http://www.sg-akc.com/course.aspx

Tel: 6690 5555

Email: enquiry@sg-akc.com

Address: 31, 33, 35 Hillview Terrace, Singapore 669249.

Grace Management & Consultancy Services

Register online at: http://gmcs.com.sg/etsac

Tel: 6299 4333

Email: gracemgt@gmcs.com.sg

Address: 198 Geylang Road, #03-01, Singapore 389263.

NTUC LearningHub

Register online at: http://tiny.cc/ctjziz

(Note: Shotened URL for easiness)

Tel: 9189 0511

Email: sip@ntuclearninghub.com

Address: 260 Sims Avenue, ECM Building, #03-01 and #04-01, Singapore 387604

Documents required

You will need to submit the following documents when your FDW goes to the SIP training centre:

  • IPA letter (full set)
  • FDW’s passport
  • A copy of FDW’s educational certificate


Frequent changes of FDWs

If you have changed foreign domestic workers (FDWs) multiple times within a year, you have to meet certain requirements before you can employ another worker.

You are a Frequent Change Employer if you have changed foreign domestic workers (FDWs) multiple times within a 12 month period. You have to meet certain requirements before you can employ another worker.

If you have changed more than 3 FDWs within a 12 month period, and you want to apply for another one, you will have to attend a classroom Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) or attend an interview with MOM before processing your application. You cannot appoint a representative to attend on your behalf.


Employment Agency’s (EA) service agreement with a foreign domestic worker’s (FDW) employer

The service agreement is a contract that states the EA’s terms and conditions, such as replacements, fee refunds, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Employment Agencies must sign a written service agreement with employers of Foreign Domestic Workers. This helps both parties clarify their obligations and reduces the likelihood of disputes.

EAs and FDW employers can use the recommended service agreement, which includes the terms and conditions based on the requirements of the Employment Agency Comprehensive Licence Condition 16.

Click here to download MOM’s recommended service agreement between the Employment Agency (ea) and the employer of FDW.

Refer to the following basic guides for more information of employing an FDW or you may visit MOM online for detailed information, guides, rules and regulations with current updates:  

Checklist to apply for FDW

Employer’s Guide including Rest days and well-being for FDW

Employer To Notify MOM of any changes

Replacement of Work Permit Card For FDW

Learn more about Levy For a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)

Learn More About Enhanced Levy Concession For a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)

Learn More About Applying For Levy Waiver For a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)

Click here to download MOM’s recommended service agreement between the Employment Agency (EA) and the employer

Click here to learn about Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) Interview By MOM


Conversion or Upgrading of a Work Permit (FDW) to an S Pass

When you are holding a Work Permit either as Foreign Worker or a Foreign Domestic Worker and wish to upgrade to an S Pass, you can make it provided you meet out the stricter criteria set by MOM which you could check your eligibility by using the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) first before you proceed for such conversion or upgrade which is open to all Nationalities.

Learn more about Conversion or Upgrading of Work Permit (FDW) to S Pass

Renewal of Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker (Helper)

You must renew your helper’s Work Permit before it expires. Before renewing, you also need to complete certain steps, such as getting your helper’s insurance package (security bond, medical and personal accident insurance).

Learn more about renewal of Foreign Domestic Worker’s Work Permit

Cancellation of Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker (Helper)

You must cancel a Work Permit if she no longer works for you or when the Work Permit expires. You must also discard the cancelled Work Permit card.

Learn more about cancellation of Work Permit for Helper / FDW 

FAQ on Work Permit for Migrant (Foreign) Domestic Worker (Helper / MDW / FDW)

You can find answers to your commonly asked questions about the Work Permit for your domestic worker (Helper).

Learn FAQ on Work Permit for Migrant Domestic WorkeR (MDW)


You may download the soft copy of the FDW handy guide using the links below:


Available Language

Shortened URL For Copy & Paste


Bahasa Indonesia
  • http://tiny.cc/wh6hmz


  • http://tiny.cc/oe6hmz


  • http://tiny.cc/ji6hmz


  • http://tiny.cc/3i6hmz


Entry Approval and Stay-Home Notice Requirements (SHN) For All New and Returning Foreign Domestic Workers / Helpers / FDW / Maids

In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the world, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has introduced new measures for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) with effect from 16 March 2020, 2359 hours. The new measures take into consideration that FDWs live with families, many look after young children and the elderly.

Learn more about Entry Approval and Stay-Home Notice Requirements (SHN) For FDWs


Please refer to MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg &/or www.cpf.gov.sg for more detailed information and up-to-date guidelines with regulations.


ACHI BIZ is one of the licensed Employment Agencies in Singapore. We will assist your work pass related applications and appeals at our level best with the regulatory authority Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) for successful outcome.
Please refer to our GUIDES for more information, SERVICES to meet your requirements or CONTACT us if you wish to avail these or many other services.