This is going to be an interesting page for you to read because I am going to reveal some insider information and bust some common misconceptions by many people and agencies.

I write from what I’ve seen and experienced in the course of my work, and I hope that it will be useful for you.

Here is an overview of the topics covered. More will be added as I come across them.

  1. Are transfer maids bad?
  2. Are maids from China allowed in Singapore?
  3. Is there no protection for consumers against agencies and maids?
  4. I have to cancel my maid to get her out of my name?
  5. There is no quality control in the training centres?
  6. Are Indonesian maids more suitable for Chinese families or locals?

1. Are transfer maids bad?

You’d have probably heard that transfer maids are maids that have been thrown back to the agency. As such, transfer maids are bad, and you should never get a transfer maid.

NOT True!

Transfer maids are simply an industry term for maids transferring from one employer to another. Whether they are thrown back or whether they are looking for a job after their previous employer has no need for her service (because the children are grown up, etc.) are irrelevant to the definition.

In the course of my work, I’ve had maids been “fired” after 1 day at work. It is hard to say whether they are good or bad or maybe their employer is too hard to please.

However, I will venture to say that maids “fired” after a few weeks are probably “not so good”.  Again, to be fair to the girl, we would have to understand why she is being”fired” in the first place.

I’ve also had maids sent back to us after 2-4 years because the employer doesn’t need their service any more. It can be due to migration of the family or the children are old enough to take care of themselves or other reasons.

For these experienced girls, they may be very good maids for the next family because they already have the experience and are already “well trained” by the previous family.

So, don’t have the misconception that all transfer maids are bad. It really depends on why they are being transferred in the first place, and whether their experience and character is a good fit for your family.

2. No maids from China are allowed?

Again, it’s not true.

Typically, the Philippines and Indonesia are what we termed as the traditional source countries. China, is not a traditional source country. However, it doesn’t mean that Chinese maids are not allowed.

They are allowed on a case by case basis. I’ve successfully helped clients applied for Chinese maids. However, you would have to explain at length why you will need a Chinese maid.

It’s not an easy process, but it can be done.

3. There is no protection for consumers against agencies and maids?

This is a very sensitive topic. I feel that all parties involved are probably feeling that none of them are protected. Let me explain…

For the maids, they feel that they have no job security since the employers can “fire” them at any time, and send them home at their sole discretion. Moreover, they also feel that they are at the mercy of the employers because this is a foreign country which they are not familiar with.

For the employers, they feel that they are penalized for the wrong doings of the maids, and they have to “pay and pay” for the “lousy” maids given to them by the agencies.

For the agencies, they feel that employers are very picky and don’t give the girls enough time to adapt to the new environment. And then, it’s complaints after complaints.

For the authorities, it’s a fine balance between human rights, image of Singapore and the social economic needs of the people.

It’s a delicate balancing act.

Personally, I feel that if all parties involved deal with the matter in all fairness and tolerance, things would be smoother. Alas, that happens in a perfect world, not this world.

So, we’ll just have to live with it as it comes. So, is it true that there is no protection for consumers?

I don’t have an answer to that. I think everybody is protected only if we act in fairness and tolerance.

4. I have to cancel my maid to get her out of my name?

It depends on the case. Let me explain.

If you are sending your maid home, then you’ll have to cancel her to get her out of your name.

If you are transferring your maid to another family, then you don’t have to do anything. The moment the girl’s name is transferred to another employer, she will be out of your name automatically.

5. There is no quality control in the training centres?

Here is the state of the matter. Many agencies share the same suppliers and bio-data, unless they have their own so-called training centres in Indonesia or the Philippines.

As I understand it, the suppliers do go to schools and villages to recruit maids and the girls have to pay for training in the centres.

The training in the centres are pretty basic, and whether the girl pick up the skills really depend on the girl. It seems that they do conduct tests in the centres and so on.

But, let’s face it, the aim is to send the girl overseas to work. No matter how badly the girl fair in class, she will still pass and get out of their home country.

Another factor acting against us in Singapore is the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan are much better paymasters. As such, the suppliers tend to focus their effort in these countries, rather than Singapore.

Have you ever wondered where the “good” maids went to?

Unfortunately, we will just have to deal with it.

6. Are Indonesian maids more suitable for Chinese families or locals?

There seems to be a preference for new Indonesian maids by us locals because they are deemed to be more submissive, their pay is lower, and they don’t have any day-offs.

Again, it depends on what is important to you. If the above is important to you, then I think new Indonesian maids are a perfect fit. However, you would have to live with their not understanding what you want or being unable to perform more difficult tasks.

New Filipino maids may be able to understand your needs better and perform better. However, they can be more demanding. Sometimes, they may even “challenge” your authority. As such, you may have a more difficult time “controlling” them.

The common misconception is that experienced transfer Filipino maids are the “smartest” of the lot, and you cannot get them to do things your way at all.

Based on my experience, it doesn’t really matter which “category” of maid the girl falls under.

What counts are:

1. The character and capabilities of the girl. An intelligent well trained Indonesian girl can perform as well as an experienced transfer Filipino girl. However, if she has a character flaw like always arguing with you, she would still not make a good worker.

Conversely, a girl who always listens to your instructions, but are unable to perform her tasks would still not be a good help.

2.  Your management style. Some employers like chatting with their maid. Some, are the really quiet type. You see, if you get too close to the girl, she may tend to see you as a friend and may tend to “take advantage” of you.

You would be better off, balancing between being nice and strict. It’s like flying a kite, letting go sometimes, and pulling tight sometimes.

3.  Whether you and your maid are fated to work out. This is a bit of a fate thing like how you meet your husband, etc.

I think a personality fit here would affect the working relationship to a certain extent.

I’ve had a couple who brings their maid to the disco to have fun. I’m pretty sure they have a good working relationship. I’ll count that as fate.

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