Placement Fee aka Maid Loan Explained: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers in Singapore

In Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle, juggling a demanding job with household responsibilities can be challenging. Even the most resourceful individuals find themselves in situations where extra help is essential, such as welcoming a newborn or facing work-related time constraints.

Unless you have a reliable support network of family and friends willing to help with tasks like cleaning, cooking, and babysitting, hiring a migrant domestic worker often becomes an attractive and sometimes inevitable option.

As you navigate the process of hiring, you may encounter the complex subject of the maid placement fee, also known as a maid loan. This article aims to demystify this concept, providing clarity on its meaning and how to navigate it.

What is a Placement Fee (Maid Loan)?

The term “placement fee” can be ambiguous, but in this context, it refers to the fee an employment agency charges a worker for its recruitment and placement services. Essentially, this is a fee you initially cover for your prospective maid, which she then repays over an agreed period. In simpler terms, it’s the fee your maid pays the agency to secure employment in Singapore.

Components of the Maid Loan

The maid loan typically consists of two main elements:

  1. The loan amount that a domestic helper borrows from an overseas agency for various reasons. This is usually relevant only for fresh maids.
  2. The fee charged by the local maid agency in Singapore for recruitment and placement services.

For the second component, agencies can legally charge a domestic helper up to one month’s salary for each year of work, with a maximum cap of two years (or two month’s salary). Should you terminate the employment contract early, the agency is required to refund a prorated portion of the fees paid. No new fees should be incurred upon contract renewal.

Understanding Placement Fees in Singapore

In Singapore, the majority of maid agencies charges a range of fees that encompass agency charges, maid insurance, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) levies, accommodation, medical expenses, among others. Additionally, there is the placement fee, often calculated as the maid’s salary multiplied by a specified number of months. For example, if the maid earns $500 per month and the placement fee is for five months, the total maid loan amount would be $2,500 ($500 x 5 months).

This $2,500 sum covers both the debts the maid incurs overseas and the services provided by the local agency. The employer usually pays this amount upfront, and the helper repays it over a period of five months.

Here is an illustrative example of the placement fee structure when you hire a domestic helper through Maid Avenue. Not only is our agency fee among the most straightforward, but it is also highly competitive in the market. Discover what sets Maid Avenue apart in the industry.

How much are placement fees?

There is no fixed price for how much maid agencies charge for their placement fees as they are determined by the loan amount incurred by the helper overseas. They usually range from $2,000 to $4,000, equivalent to four to six months of salary.

However, some unscrupulous agencies may inflate the fees exorbitantly, pushing the cost as high as $5,000, which is equivalent to over eight months of a maid’s salary. Such inflated placement fees are not only unethical but also burden both the employer and the helper. The employer faces the obligation of covering a higher initial sum, while the helper is compelled to repay an inflated amount, effectively receiving no salary for an extended period.

At Maid Avenue, we prioritize transparency and adhere strictly to all MOM guidelines. Our rates are consistently lower than the industry standard for placement fees.

It’s important to clarify that the placement fee is NOT an expense that falls on the employer. Instead, it is a loan that your maid is responsible for repaying. Generally, the employer pays the placement fee upfront to alleviate the helper’s immediate financial strain, and the maid repays this amount over time.

How Maid Avenue Can Assist You

If you’re considering hiring a domestic helper, Maid Avenue is here to help. We pride ourselves on being one of the most affordable and transparent maid agencies in Singapore. Our packages are straightforward, eliminating the worry of hidden costs.

Start your search for a suitable helper using our MaidFinder platform. Every candidate is carefully vetted by our team to ensure the highest quality.

Feel free to reach out to us for all your household needs. WhatsApp or call us at +65 8810 9000, or email

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