I am hoping to bring my helper from Hong Kong to Singapore. What is the process to do this? Can I bring her from Day 1 with me, when my family fly over? (We will not have a permanent place to live but will live in a serviced apartment, my helper I assume can go to a boarding house).
Unfortunately you cannot bring your helper on day one. Fortunately Singapore bureaucracy is rather efficient so it does not take very long compared to Hong Kong. In the interim, an alternative is to use a cleaning service and/or a nanny service.
The quickest way to process the Foreign Domestic Worker paperwork is through the Ministry of Manpower’s WPonline* system. This takes one day from application to approval. However there are a couple of prerequisites. To use WPonline, you need a SingPass**. To get a SingPass, you must have a work permit. You can apply for a SingPass on the Monday after your work permit has been issued. The SingPass will be mailed to your Singapore Address.
If you want to use the manual application route for the Foreign Domestic Worker paperwork, it takes seven working days.
Before the helper starts, you must go through the three-hour Employers’ Orientation Programme (EOP). The helper must also go undergo a mandatory medical examination within two weeks of arrival.
While your helper can probably enter Singapore on a tourist visa, she may not work in any capacity on that visa. If she is caught working for you, she may be deported and you may get a fine.
Just like in Hong Kong, Foreign Domestic Workers must live in the employer’s residence. While there are those who live in boarding houses this is illegal and the Ministry of Manpower periodically performs raids and gives out fines.
** SingPass requirements: https://www.
Andreas Rosboch was born and raised in Sweden by an Italian father and a Swedish mother. He has been an expat for more than ten years and plans to keep it that way. He has spent most of his career in the information technology field, handling everything from brand management to customer support. He is the author of one of our most-recommended books Hiring & Managing Domestic Help – an absolute must-have for Singapore mamas (psst– and you can buy it here). He lives in Hong Kong with his wife, two children and dog.