Domestic helpers coming into Singapore for the first time may have a lot of things on their minds. Aside from the immediate feelings of separation from their families back home, they also might become anxious over what to do during their first few days in Singapore.
To address these feelings of anxiety, we will share an overview of what you can expect over the first three days of your stay in Singapore as a domestic helper.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina domestic helper in Singapore, Regine a.k.a Yaya Jhin on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Singapore.
What to Expect on Your First 3 Days as a Domestic Helper in Singapore
As mentioned, what you may experience on your first three days here in Singapore may be different from what our resource vlogger did. This is because each agency has its own practices and onboarding protocols so the schedules and activities may vary a little, but expect that you will undergo each of the standard requirements such as the medical exam, the settling-in program, getting your work permit, and finally, deployment.
In our previous posts, we have shared some helpful tips on how to prepare and apply for work as a domestic helper. And once you’ve made it here, there are other things you need to know and comply with to ensure a smooth transition to your work with your employer after being endorsed by your agency.
As mentioned, there are three things you need to accomplish first before you are deployed by your agency to your employer:
- Medical Exam
- Settling-in Program
- Getting your Work Permit
Ideally, these three steps are spread out over three days to give you time to rest and prepare accordingly before you start working with your employer.
Day 1: Arriving in Singapore
After landing here in Singapore and checking in with Immigration, be sure to collect your luggage and keep your documents on hand. The first thing you need to do is to contact your agency. But, when you arrive at the airport, of course, you don’t have mobile data yet to make calls or to go online, so you can approach the personnel at the Information Desk and request to connect to the free Wi-Fi service at the airport.
Note: Singapore only has two public airports – Changi and Seletar. But the most famous airport in the country is the Changi Airport for its world-class design, architecture, and services. It’s so huge that it’s easy to get lost in the area, so do pay attention to the signs and look for the Information Desk when you need assistance!
After you’ve requested for connection to the airport’s free Wi-Fi service, the next thing you need to do is to buy a SIM card. You can buy a SIM card while you’re at the airport or you can get it at 711, at the post office, Cheers convenience stores, FairPrice supermarkets, and at the customer service outlets of each telecom. You can get a SIM card for as low as SGD 8. Just show your passport and pay at the cashier.
Once you’ve bought a SIM card and are connected to the internet, you need to contact your agency representative to let them know where you are so they can pick you up. You can also ask them for the name of the one who will meet up with you.
If you brought some snacks (as mentioned in one of the tips from our previous posts), now’s a good time to have a go at them since the waiting time can be long before you get picked up at the airport. Also, the representative may need to look for more than one employee at a time at the airport so be sure you do not go hungry and are well-rested while waiting for them.
When the representative (or driver from the agency) arrives to pick you up, you can verify their identity first by asking for their ID if they have one with them. Once both of you have verified each other’s identities, you can now head back to the agency along with the other employees if there are any.
In Jhin’s case, they were brought to the agency’s partner clinic for their medical test. After you’ve been screened for your health status, you do not need to wait for the test results as the clinic will send them over to the agency. So, Jhin and the rest of their group went ahead to report to the agency.
At the agency, they were greeted by their recruitment agent and were instructed to set aside some smart-casual clothes along with their toiletries, hygiene kits, and other personal belongings.
Tip: You can bring a small backpack for casual travel purposes and to keep some of the things that you need for a day or two.
Later on, Jhin and the other employees were brought to the agency’s accommodation space where they will temporarily stay while processing their pre-deployment documents such as a medical exam result, work permit, and other activities such as seminars and orientations.
Tip: As you will be staying in a shared accommodation space, be sure to organize your stuff so you won’t misplace anything and to avoid damaging your items such as your luggage.
Day 2: Attending the Settling-in Program (SIP)
One of the important things you need to learn is how to adjust to life and how to be safe while at work here in Singapore. Domestic helpers are given this information through the Settling-in Program (SIP). In Jhin’s case, this whole-day seminar was done on her second day of stay here in Singapore.
What is the Settling-in Program (SIP)?
- A one-day orientation program for first-time foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to educate them on safety precautions and living in Singapore.
The seminar will take approximately 8 hours to complete. You will receive training and orientation broken down into five (5) modules:
- Introduction to working in Singapore
- Conditions of employment (rights and responsibilities)
- Working safely at home
- Safety in other areas
- Relationships and stress management
Take this session seriously and take down notes if you must so that you will have a guide on what you need to do in certain situations once you start working with your employer here in Singapore. Once you’ve completed this seminar, it’s time to prepare your stuff as you are closer to moving into your employer’s residence. But before that…
Day 3: Getting a Work Permit
Your work permit is an important document that you need to bring with you at all times while you are here in Singapore. This document is typically applied by the employment agency or employer for the domestic worker.
On Jhin’s third day in Singapore, she had to go to the Ministry of Manpower to register her permit.
You will have your photo taken, sign some documents, and place a thumb mark in the record system for identification purposes.
After you have registered for your work permit, the document will be mailed to your employer/employment agency (whoever applied for your document) within 4 days after registration.
You will be notified through email or SMS with the delivery details at least 1 working day before delivery so you will know who to approach for your work permit.
After you’ve gone through your first three days with your employment agency, you are then all set for deployment to your employer’s residence.
Again, according to Jhin, the sequence of activities or processes you need to go through may vary slightly depending on the schedule prepared by your employment agency or as per request by the employer.
Note: Some employers request for the deployment of their domestic helper as soon as possible so there might be cases where the domestic helper will go straight to their employer’s residence after checking in with the employment agency on their first or second day here in Singapore. In some instances, workers will need to stay at the agency’s accommodation for up to a week if their employers are on vacation or are out of the country.
Tip: The important thing is that you follow instructions from your agent and to prepare everything you need even before you get deployed at your employer’s residence. Also, use the time at your employment agency to ask questions and to get useful information such as contact numbers in case of emergencies or other details that might come in handy during your stay in Singapore.
How did you spend the first few days at work here in Singapore? What were the requirements that you had to submit? Were you able to submit and complete them as early as thought you would? Were there any problems that you encountered along the way? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!