Step-by-Step Guide on Hiring a Caregiver

By Anglo Caregivers
We help you find your right caregiver.
By Anglo Caregivers
We help you find your right caregiver.
Download a copy of our resource(s) for your use.
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Step-by-Step Guide on Hiring a Caregiver

About Anglo Caregivers

Our agency specialises in helping families find caregivers and trained maids to live in and take care of their elderly or disabled loved ones.

In this guide, you will learn the step-by-step procedures of hiring a live-in caregiver to care for your loved one with at home.

Live-in caregivers in Singapore are hired on a Foreign Domestic Worker work permit issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

READ: Who is a Live-in Caregiver?

This step-by-step guide of procedures is divided into 3 sections:

  1. Before hiring a caregiver
  2. Before your caregiver joins you
  3. After your caregiver joins you

► Attend Employers’ Orientation Programme

Check if you are required to attend the Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP) before proceeding with a Work Permit application.

The EOP is a 3-hour programme that will help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a caregiver under the FDW work permit. You can do the EOP online or in a classroom setting. You can register here.

Who must attend?

  • You must attend the Employers' Orientation Programme (EOP) if it is your first time being the employer of a Foreign domestic worker (FDW). You must complete the EOP at least 2 working days before submitting a Work Permit application.
  • If you have changed FDWs more than 3 times within a 12-month period, you will need to attend a classroom EOP or an interview with MOM before they process your application.

My care recipient will be the employer but he is unable to attend EOP due to health reasons. What should I do?

Appoint a representative to attend EOP The MOM allows a first-time employer to appoint a sponsor or representative (above 21 years old) to attend EOP on the employer’s behalf if the employer:
  • Suffers from a chronic medical condition; or
  • Has a physical disability and are unable to walk; or
  • Is 60 years old and above and suffer physical discomfort.
Exempt employer from EOP After attending the EOP, the employer or a third-party (e.g. employment agency) are required to apply here to appoint the representative or sponsor. It would take at least 2 working days from date of EOP attendance before you may be able to perform this. The required information includes:
  • SingPass
  • Employer’s personal particulars
  • Personal particulars of the sponsor, spouse or representative. Use the same name and identification number as the one used to register for the EOP.
  • Employment agency’s contact details (if applicable)
The outcome will be notified immediately. The Work Permit application can then proceed 1 working day after successful application to appoint the representative or sponsor.
Retain the documents The following documents need to be retained for at least 3 months for audit purposes:
  • Employer’s 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

► Gather your family’s care requirements

Discuss with your family on your caregiver requirements. These include factors such as the requirements of the caregiver including skills and spoken language(s), your budget range for the monthly salary of the caregiver, where she will be staying and who will be her employer.

READ: 9 Tips on Choosing the Right Live-in Caregiver

► Source for your caregiver

With a clear understanding of your requirements and budget, your next step is to start looking for caregivers available for hire.

While it is not mandatory, employers commonly look to employment agencies as they provide a pool of potential candidates and process all the paperwork needed making it easy, convenient and hassle-free for employers.

(i) Agencies placing general domestic workers

Most agencies provide general domestic workers. These domestic workers are usually trained or experienced in performing general household chores such as cleaning, washing and cooking.

They can be employed for any type of domestic work, ranging from housekeeping to babysitting to taking care of children, elderly or the disabled. There are more than a thousand of such licensed employment agencies available for you to choose from.

(ii) Agencies placing specialised live-in caregivers

If you are looking to hire someone more specialised and skilled - a caregiver with caregiving training and experience or nursing qualifications and background, there are agencies that specialise in this niche area.

Such specialised agencies provide families with caregivers who are certified caregivers, experienced caregivers, nurse aides or nurses in their home countries.

To look for agencies specialised in providing domestic caregivers (like our agency - see biodata here) in your Google search query, you will need to use more specific terms such as ‘live-in caregiver’ or ‘caregiver agency’ instead of the generic terms like ‘maid agency’, ‘maid’ or ‘domestic helper’. This will land you more search results relevant to caregiving.

READ: Maid vs Caregiver - 4 Differences, 4 Considerations

Pro Tip!

Search for specific caregiver terms like “live-in caregiver” to find agencies that specialise in placing domestic caregivers with caregiving training or experience.

Get in touch with your agency to share with them your requirements and request for the profiles of available caregivers.

You should also learn about the agency’s service fees, placement fee or ‘loan’ to caregiver, replacement policies and estimated processing time.

Pro Tip!

Check your agency’s track record in the MOM EA Directory before proceeding. Look out for the customer rating as well as if your agency is under any Revocation, Suspension or Surveillance.

► Shortlist and interview potential caregivers

Compile and shortlist your potential caregivers based on the requirements that you have discussed with your family earlier.

READ: How to Choose the Right Live-in Caregiver

Once you have your shortlist, you can contact the respective agencies to set up interviews with your potential caregivers.

For caregivers who are currently in Singapore, you are typically able to request for a face-to-face interview with them.

For caregivers who are still abroad, the interview will usually be conducted via video calls.

We have compiled a list of interview questions with tips and guides to help you hire the right caregiver.

READ: 74 Interview Questions to Hire the Right Caregiver

► Sign the contract with an employment agency

Decide on the caregiver whom you want to employ and sign the required documents with your agency.

We have compiled a guide on things that you should know before signing any contract with the agency.

READ: 16 Things to Know Before Signing an Agency Contract

Pro Tip!

Ensure that your agent explains the provisions of any form or document given to you and provide sufficient time for you to read through and clarify before signing.

The following is a list of documents that you may expect to sign. You should receive a copy of any form or document that you have signed.

  • Service agreement between the Employer and the Employment Agency
  • Employment contract between the Employer and the Caregiver
  • Biodata of the Caregiver with Employment History
  • MOM form for Application for a foreign domestic helper work permit
  • MOM Authorisation Form for Foreign Domestic Worker Work Pass Transactions
  • FDW Insurance Application Form
  • Itemised receipts for any form of payment

Pro Tip!

Ensure that you have received a copy of any form or document that you have signed with your agency.

► MOM Work Permit Application

With the forms and documents signed and payment made, your agency will proceed to make the Work Permit Application for your caregiver with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Note: If your caregiver’s new passport is still being processed, your agency will not be able to make the application until the new passport is ready.

Following the application, there will typically be a response from the MOM within 7 days from the date of application. Your application may be approved, rejected or there may be a request for further documents or clarifications.

If your application is rejected, appeals may be made within the stipulated period of time. If further clarifications or documents are requested, they need to be submitted within a period of time online.

There are various scenarios that may result in MOM’s request for more details or a rejection.

For example, if your dwelling is a studio apartment or 1 or 2-room HDB flat, you may be required to provide further clarifications or documents on how you will provide your caregiver with sufficient space and privacy.

Or if you are hiring a second or third FDW within the same address, you may be asked for further clarifications or documents to substantiate your need for an additional worker.

When further submissions of documents or appeals are required, the processing time of the application is extended. Typically, each time a document is submitted online to the MOM, there will be a period of up to 14 working days to process your application.

Pro Tip!

To prevent delays in application, your agency would typically guide you on the documents to prepare in anticipation of any appeal or submission required.

Common documents include a doctor’s memo, functional assessment report, employer's declaration on accommodation arrangement for smaller apartments etc.

When the Work Permit application is approved, you will receive an email notification from the MOM with the In-principle Approval (IPA) and Declaration Form attached.

Your agency will facilitate in providing your caregiver with her IPA. Your agency will also notify you to sign on the page for ‘declaration by employer’ in the Declaration Form.

► Embassy processing

Following the work permit approval, the next step involved is the processing of documents such as authentication or endorsement of employment contracts with the respective embassies.

After that, your caregiver may undergo further processing in her home country such as pre-departure orientation and medical examination before she can depart for Singapore.

Your agency may or may not require this step depending on their procedures and agreements with their overseas agents.

► Security bond, medical and personal insurance

Your agency will also purchase your caregiver’s security bond and medical and personal insurance. Minimally, the insurance needs to provide coverage for:

  • at least $15,000 per year for inpatient care and day surgery during your caregiver’s stay in Singapore; and
  • at least $60,000 per year for personal accident.
  • Personal accident insurance must cover sudden, unforeseen and unexpected incidents resulting in permanent disability or death.
  • Personal accident insurance must not contain extra exclusion clauses that are not in the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations.

Pro Tip!

Be sure that you have a copy of the certificate of insurance and policy schedule.

► Arrival in Singapore

Once the flight is booked, typically, your agency will inform you the estimated date you are able to pick up your caregiver from your agency’s office.

Upon your caregiver’s arrival in Singapore, your agency will arrange for transport to fetch her from the airport and provide her with temporary food and accommodation.

► Medical examination

Your agency will send her for her pre-employment medical examination by a Singapore-registered doctor. The medical examination:

  • is mandatory before her work permit is issued;
  • needs to be done within 2 weeks of her arrival in Singapore;
  • checks if she is fit to work;
  • includes tests screening for HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and syphilis;
  • your agency will give you a copy of medical examination results during handover.

► Settling-In-Programme (SIP)

If your caregiver is working in Singapore for the first time, your agency will arrange for her to complete the mandatory Settling-In Programme (SIP). The SIP:

  • is a 1-day orientation programme designed to educate first-time FDWs in Singapore on safety precautions and living in Singapore;
  • needs to be done within 3 days of your caregiver’s arrival, excluding Sunday and public holidays.

► Temporary Work Permit issuance

Before your caregiver joins you, your agency will issue your caregiver’s temporary work permit. The temporary work permit:

  • is valid for 1 month from the date of issue;
  • must be given to your caregiver. It allows her to work, stay, and travel in and out of Singapore while waiting for the Work Permit card;
  • states if your caregiver needs to register her fingerprints and photo at the MOM Services Centre.

Pro Tip!

You can request for your agency to apply for a POSB account for your caregiver. This option is available when your agency issues your caregiver's work permit with the MOM.

► Card registration

If your caregiver needs to register her fingerprints and photo:

  • Your agency will either arrange to send her first or liaise with you to schedule an appointment for this at a later date.
  • Your caregiver needs to register within 1 week of issuing the Work Permit.
  • This is done at Hall C of the MOM Services Centre at 1500 Bendemeer Road Singapore 339946.

► Pick up your caregiver

Your caregiver is ready to be picked up from your agency’s office. Your agency will also collect your caregiver’s loan amount from you (agreed upon in the agency agreement and employment contract) if it has not been collected yet.

Below is a reference list of documents you will have received from your agency at the end of the handover:

  • Temporary work permit
  • Employment Contract
  • Medical examination report
  • Settling-In-Programme Certificate
  • Salary (with Repayment) Schedule
  • Banker’s Guarantee for Security Bond
  • Certificate of Insurance and Policy Schedule
  • GIRO form for Foreign Domestic Worker Levy
  • MOM Safety Agreement Form between employer and caregiver
  • Itemised receipt for caregiver loan amount (if applicable)

► Send your caregiver for training

If your care recipient is currently still warded in the hospital, you may be able to arrange with your hospital for caregivers training and handover. This may be done by the nurses and therapists in the hospital. You will need to check with your hospital.

If your care recipient is at home, you may choose to arrange for a caregivers training for your caregiver at home or in a classroom.

You can tap on the Caregivers Training Grant (CTG) administered by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to cover the part of the cost of the training. This can be utilised if your care recipient has specific care needs that your new caregiver is not experienced in, for example, trachea care and suctioning.

► Receive the Work Permit card

  • Your caregiver’s work permit card will be couriered to the nominated address and needs to be collected by the authorised recipients. Your agency will have submitted the address and authorised recipient(s) to the MOM during card issuance. If you are unsure, you will need to check with your agency.
  • The authorised recipient(s) will get an SMS or email with the delivery details at least 1 working day before delivery.

► Receive bank account documents for your caregiver

If, during card issuance, your agency applied for your caregiver to get a POSB account, you will receive two mails in your mailbox within 7 working days – one for her POSB ATM card and a separate one for PIN number.

To activate the card, you will need to bring your caregiver to the nearest POSB ATM machine. Your caregiver is to keep her own POSB ATM card thereafter.

The employer is not allowed to keep or safekeep the ATM card.

With her POSB bank account, you can credit your caregiver’s monthly salary online.

Pro Tip!

You may also assist your caregiver in downloading and installing the POSB app in her mobile. The app allows your caregiver to perform the following from her mobile:

  • View her account balance and transaction history and verify her receipt of her salary.
  • Top up prepaid SIM cards.
  • Remit salary back home.

► Pay your caregiver’s monthly salary

According to MOM regulations, you must pay your caregiver every month. The salary must not be lower than what was declared to the MOM.

Your caregiver’s salary must be no later than 7 days after the last day of the salary period. The salary period must not exceed 1 month.

The MOM encourages you to pay her salary directly into her bank account.

  • Her bank account should not be a joint account with you as her FDW employer.
  • You must pay your caregiver via direct bank transfer if she requests for it.

If you pay by cash,

  • You must keep a record of the salary payments.
  • Be able to produce the salary records if required.
  • Both you and your caregiver must each sign salary payment record to confirm that payment was made.

From 1 January 2019, as an employer, you must not keep your caregiver’s salary or any other money belonging to her, even if she requests for it. You must not keep her bank book or bank card.

TOOL: FDW Rest Day Pay Calculator
TOOL: Monthly Caregiver Salary Calculator

► Provide adequate food and accommodation

You will need to provide your caregiver with 3 meals a day.

An example of a day’s food intake for a female engaged in moderate activity is as follows:
Breakfast 4 slices of bread with spread
Lunch 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
Dinner 1 bowl of rice + three-quarter cup of cooked vegetables + palm-sized amount of meat (fish/poultry/beef/lamb) + fruit
Source: MOM

Some caregivers may not be able to take certain foods due to allergies or religious beliefs. You will need to make arrangements to cater to her dietary requirements.

You will need to provide your caregiver with adequate accommodation. While it is common for caregivers to share a room with their care recipients, you will need to ensure that your caregiver has sufficient space and privacy as well.

Below are the requirements for FDW accommodation stated by the MOM
Adequate shelter The accommodation must adequately protect your FDW from environmental elements such as sun, rain or strong winds.
Basic amenities You must minimally provide your FDW with a mattress, pillow, blanket, bathroom amenities and toiletries. Examples of toiletries include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
Sufficient ventilation Your FDW’s accommodation must be sufficiently ventilated. Mechanical ventilation (e.g. electrical fan) must be provided if natural ventilation is inadequate.
Safety Your FDW must not sleep near any dangerous equipment or structure that could potentially cause harm or hurt to her.
Modesty Your FDW must not sleep in the same room as a male adult or teenager. If you install video recording devices at home, you must inform your FDW of the devices and where they are placed. You must not install them in areas that will compromise her privacy or modesty, e.g. where she sleeps, change clothes, or the bathroom area.
Space and privacy You should provide your FDW with a separate room. If that is not possible, you must ensure that her accommodation has adequate space and privacy.
Source: MOM

► Provide medical care

As the employer, you are responsible for your caregiver’s medical needs. You will need to provide your caregiver with any medical care, including hospitalisation, as well as medical and personal accident insurance at your expense.

► Send her for 6-monthly medical examinations

You will need to bring your caregiver for 6-monthly medical examinations (6ME) and pay for the 6ME as well as any medical expenses arising from it. The examination includes pregnancy and syphillis tests every 6 months andHIV every 2 years and tuberculosis (once, upon 2 years of stay in Singapore).

You will receive a notification letter and 6ME form by post when the 6ME is due. The tests to be done will be stated in this letter. You must send her for the 6ME before the due date.

► Going for home leave

Upon completion of the 2-year contract, if both you and your caregiver agree to a renew the contract, your caregiver will, most of the time, need to go back to her home country for a home leave to spend time with her own family before coming back to start her new contract with you.

You will need to purchase a two-way air ticket for her. The duration of the home leave is typically stated in the employment contract.

Before your caregiver goes for her home leave, you need to

  • Ensure that she has a valid passport
  • Check ahead with her embassy on her home country’s immigration requirements.
  • Make sure she brings along her Work Permit card and passport when she leaves. She will need these documents to re-enter Singapore.
  • Keep a copy of her travel ticket or departure itinerary.

If her home leave is for at least 7 consecutive days, you will be able to apply with MOM for levy waiver for the period of her home leave. You need to apply online here. After logging in, choose Application for Waiver of Foreign Worker Levy (Domestic). The waiver period is capped at a maximum of 60 calendar days per calendar year.

*By using this tool, you agree to our disclaimer.

Download a copy of our resource for your use.
The following tool is available to help you.

Related Guides

Anglo Caregivers Employer's Guide to Caregiver Hiring

About Anglo Caregivers

Our agency specialises in helping families find experienced or certified caregivers to live in and take care of their elderly or disabled loved ones.


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Originally published
June 8, 2020
July 27, 2022 1:45 PM

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