The COVID-19 pandemic has been around for 2 years and counting. This has caused tremendous setbacks for majority of industries across the board – Foreign Maids being one of them. Due to the ever changing travel restrictions between borders, the inflow of maids to Singapore were at one point as little as zero to none.
No doubt, borders of our neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar have started to reopen, the demand for overseas maids far outweigh the trickling supply. Transfer maids could just be the solution to this supply outage.
Types of Maids
There are 3 types of maids you can employ for your household:
- Fresh Maids
- who have no prior working experience or with some experience in their home countries
- Overseas Experienced (aka Ex-Abroad)
- Maids who have prior working experience in Singapore/Hong Kong/Taiwan, and currently back in their home countries
- Maids are presently in Singapore and their current employers allow them to transfer out to a new employer. The working experience could vary between as short as a few months to as long as 15 years or more.
Pros of Hiring Transfer Maids
Maids without working experience may pose as a huge obstacle for many employers as it would require tremendous time and effort to train the maid to the desired ways of working. Basic skills of handling general household electronics and appliances (Vacuum cleaner, washing machines, dryers, cooking stove, soap dispensers, etc) will have to be introduced and demonstrated very clearly and from scratch. Some of these appliances are often not available in their households back home.
Careful education and guidance from the employer is very much needed. On the bright side, one of the biggest plus points of hiring transfer maids is for the fact that the employer generally do not have to face the issues of having the need to invest a lot of time to handhold the maid through the job.
Ultimately, all households have different ways of working/cleaning and have different electrical appliances, so employers should still take some time to educate their transfer maids . This definitely applies to all those expensive high tech equipment. In short, the adaptation period for transfer maids to get used to the job scope or schedule will be much quicker than those without experience.
Ability To Cook
Do not have a finesse in cooking or time to cook for your loved ones? Transfer maids just might be the solution you are looking for.
Apart from operating household appliances, transfer maids often already have the skill set to whip up a delicious meal for you. Some maids have the opportunity to work for employers with various nationalities and backgrounds. Allowing them the opportunity to learn exotic recipes and cuisines for you.
Though, if you are not too much of an adventurer or risk taker, most transfer maids can prepare simple local Chinese, Muslim or Western dishes. What’s more is that if the transfer maid has prior experience taking care of an elderly or baby, you can expect them to be able to tweak their cooking style to match the specific palates or dietary requirements.
By hiring a transfer maid, you would avoid one of the biggest headaches that most employer express when hiring an in-experienced or fresh helper. On the surface level, educating the helper on our local culture may not seem like a big deal, but the latter will beg to differ.
Transfer maids often already have prior experience dealing with local currency, taken public transportation (Buses, MRTs and Taxis) to commute around, head off to supermarkets or wet markets to purchase fresh produce and items, general laws, emergency contacts, and many more. Employers who employ fresh or inexperienced maids will also go through the basic etiquette as well, saving you the hassle of going through it all. Hiring a transfer maid will allow you to reap the benefits of other employers who have already done the hard work for you.
Lower Upfront Costs
Across the domestic maid industry, the upfront cost for hiring a transfer maid will be more affordable than hiring one who is currently overseas.
The total payable for hiring overseas maids will always include placement loans. This can rack up to around 2 to 5 months of the maids’ basic salary. This loan will cover all the expenses required for the maid to enter the designated country, in this case Singapore. These expenses include items such as medical checks, passport renewals and transportation.
In comparison of hiring a transfer maids, majority of employment agencies charge a placement loans. But on the contrary, we do not. We understand that these maids are here to make a living through the hardships of a maid, thus we refrain from subtracting off their income which are commonly used to support their families back home.
In terms of risk factor, hiring a transfer maid amidst this pandemic would be the safest route with the lowest risk. Majority of transfer maids in Singapore have completed both their vaccination as well as their booster shot. Even if they do get infected with COVID-19, they will be able to fight off the virus much better.
Independence and Initiative
Experienced transfer maids require minimal supervision since most of them have mastered their own daily routine or already know how to value add in the local household. They know what, when and how they are supposed to do during certain tasks during certain situations. For instance, they know the school hours, what time to send and pick the kid from the school bus.
Transfer maids generally have a decent command of English. You do not need to go through the awkward situation of conversing with hand gestures and constant repetition of the same word but in different tones. As mentioned earlier, the previous employers would have spent a considerable amount of time educating them to improve their standard of English. Many of the maids who have a couple of years under their belt taking care of elderly often can also speak and understand simple Chinese, Hokkien, Cantonese as well as Bahasa.
Cons of hiring a Transfer Maid
Hiring transfer maids over types of maid will definitely be the safest, most convenient and hassle free option. There are a couple of setbacks to be weary of as well.
High Expectations/Demands (Salary off day)
The more experience they have, the more they know and consequently the higher the pay and benefits they will expect. For those who are highly specialised or experienced, it is only normal for them to expect a higher pay.
Just like anyone of us, the more experience we have, the better we are able to do our respective jobs, and thus expect a higher pay. Maids who have a considerable amount of years in Singapore, are more aware of their rights, salary to workload ratio and benefits. In comparison, fresh/ex-abroad maids are more accepting towards zero to one off-days, whereas transfer maids often want two to four off days. Although, there are some outliers who are willing to accept lower number of off-days.
On the side note, we would recommend you to allow your maids to go for their off-days as it gives them the opportunity to socialise, rest and relax. In return, will allow them to be able to start the week afresh and with a positive mindset. Just like any one of us, we too need time to switch off, rest and recuperate.
Difficulty to Control
While the experience of these maids may seem to be a great addition, it might also create issues in the household. Some maids are reluctant to pick up new skills or may be used to do a certain task in a certain way. It is important to give the maid sufficient time to readapt to their new environment, to learn and understand your household’s way of working.
It is also important to manage expectations, especially for the maids’ first few days. They may not be able to perform at the same level as a family member who has been working in your household for many years. Encourage them and give them support, without putting pressure on them.
Overall, transfer maids are very much in demand due to their their wide range of experiences, skillsets and knowledge. If you do not have the luxury of time to guide and spoon feed the maid, and need assistance urgently, then hiring a transfer maid would be ideal option. Alternatively, if you do have some time to spare and do not need the maid in urgently, then hiring an ex-abroad maid might just be the better option.
Ultimately, it is really up the the eye of the beholder to qualify which value they perceive more important and which risks they are willing to accept.