The Cost Of Hiring A Domestic Maid In Malaysia

Able as you are, there will be times when a pair of helping hands is needed – more so if your time and attention has to be devoted to the demanding mistress you call a job.

Source: Disney

But unless you have family members, friends, or a dray of rodents that are both willing to help you and are experienced in the art of babysitting, cleaning, and cooking, chances are you will look towards hiring domestic help.

According to the latest data from the Malaysian maid services Employers’ Association (Mama), there are more than 250,000 registered domestic workers in Malaysia.

This is lower than the recorded 300,000 registered domestic maid services some six or seven years ago, due to the tightening of hiring rules by the local and source countries’ governments in recent years, as well as the high cost of hiring in the country.

The Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in Budget 2018 that in 2018, the hiring of foreign domestic helpers can be done directly from nine selected countries without going through an agent. This was lauded by many parties, especially the middle-class population who are struggling to juggle family and career.

The exorbitant cost of hiring foreign domestic helpers has been an obstacle for many households due to the agency cost, which can come up to RM12,000 to RM18,000 in total.

The cost of hiring a foreign maid through an agency

An October 2017 article published by New Straits Times reported that the cost for a Malaysian to hire a domestic worker through an employment agency is between RM12,000 and RM18,000. However, the official rate fixed by the Malaysian and Indonesian governments was only RM8,000.

The agency fee makes the bulk of the cost, as these agencies supposedly take away the stress of hiring a domestic helper by recruiting, obtaining work visas and training the maids.

The fee of RM8,000 was made up of RM3,000 for management costs and about RM4,800 to ‘buy’ biodata of a prospective maid from Indonesian recruitment agencies. Of the total cost, you, as a prospective employer will pay RM6,000, while the remaining RM1,800 will be borne by the maid via deductions of RM300 from her monthly salary over six months.

As an employer, you are also required to pay a minimum monthly salary of RM900 for an Indonesian maid, with no current laws on maximum monthly salary. The employers can pay as much as they want as long as it’s more than RM900 per month. For a Filipino foreign domestic helper, the minimum monthly salary is set at US$400 a month, which translates to about RM1,600 a month (US$1 = RM4.00317 at the time of writing).

How does the new online maid system work?

Long waiting time is a common problem when hiring a maid through an agency. This is also one of the reasons cost of hiring through an agency has skyrocketed, with many agencies charging extra to expedite the process for desperate employers.

However, with the new direct hiring online maid system, the foreign domestic helpers must already be in the country (Malaysia) on a social visit pass. Even those who have overstayed between January 1 and December 31, 2017, are also eligible to be hired through the system, but with an additional compound charged to the employer. This shortens the process significantly as the prospective workers are already in the country.

The whole process is estimated to take about eight days, provided that all the documents and requirements are completed and fulfilled.

Here are the processes to hire a foreign domestic helper on a valid social visit pass, and also a helper with a social visit pass but has overstayed:

With a valid social visit passWith a social visit pass, 
but has overstayed (Jan 1 – Dec 31. 2017)
Registration (Employer)
Dependent on the employerRegistration (Employer)
Dependent on the employer
Login to the site, register details of employer and the foreign domestic helper
Login to the site, register details of employer and the foreign domestic helper
Pay compound and Special pass at Immigration Department
Medical check-up (FOMEMA)
Medical check-up (FOMEMA)
Upload required documents and submit application
1 dayUpload required documents and submit application
1 day
Check documents
1 dayCheck documents
1 day
Approval
1 dayApproval
1 day
Notification of result
Notification of result
Online payment
1 dayOnline payment
1 day
Printing of Visitor’s Pass Sticker 
(Temporary Employment)
1 dayPrinting of Visitor’s Pass Sticker 
(Temporary Employment)
1 day
Total: 5 – 8 days

How much does it cost to directly hire a foreign maid?

If RM14,000 sounds like daylight robbery, perhaps the online maid system is the perfect solution.

According to Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, direct hiring of foreign domestic helper would cost around RM3,600 to RM3,800, which includes levy fees, visit pass (temporary work), visa and processes set according to the respective countries, as well as flight cost.

Here’s how much it costs to have a live-in maid in a year:

Cost of a live-in helper in the first 12 months
Fees to maid agencyRM3,800
Other fees (food, accommodation & miscellaneous)RM400 x 12 months = RM4,800
Total wage in a yearRM900 x 12 = RM10,800
Total to be paid in the first yearRM19,400

Compared to hiring via an agency, you will save between RM10,800 and RM14,200.