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Helpers in Singapore: How to take your domestic worker on holiday

Going on vacation abroad and hoping your helper can join your family? Whether you need an extra hand with your little ones, or would like to invite them on holiday as a gesture, travelling with a domestic worker around Singapore is fairly straightforward.

Take the sting out of travelling with kids with these tips!
Take the sting out of travelling with kids with these tips!

 

When it comes to most countries around Singapore, a foreign domestic worker (FDW) will simply need to secure the right visa. This process will vary slightly based on your destination’s embassy, plus your helper’s nationality – but that’s what we’re here for!

To get you started (and save you from hitting each embassy’s website), we’ve put together this short and sweet guide to getting travel visas for Filipino and Indonesian helpers to the most popular pit-stops from Singapore.

To The UK

Helpers can apply for a Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa up to three months before they’re set to travel, and the approval process takes up to three weeks. At £289 ($593), it allows your helper to stay in the UK with you for up to 6 months, or until you head back to Singapore. To be eligible for the visa, your FDW needs to have worked with you for at least a year.

To Thailand

If a helper is a citizen of Indonesia or The Philippines, they can enter Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa. Easy breezy!

To Bali

Since Bali is part of their home country, Indonesian helpers are free to travel there at any time. Meanwhile, Filipino helpers will be granted a 30-day short visit permit when they touch down at the airport.

To Hong Kong

Indonesian passport holders are allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa, while a passport from the Philippines are allowed 14 days. For more info, check out their full list of visa requirements by country.

To Australia

Helpers can apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay) visa if you can demonstrate that they’re helping with 1) looking after little ones aged 5 years or younger or 2)assisting an immediate family member who needs special care (medical records must be shown). Keep in mind that the Australia High Commission will question the helpers’ purpose for following thoroughly, and any form of work outside of what’s stated in the form will be considered a breach, so it’s a good idea to agree on this beforehand. This visa lets them stay up to three months from the date it’s issued.

However, if your helper is flying to Oz to enjoy the trip as a normal member of the family – taking on no domestic duties, they’ll be able to apply for the usual visitor’s visa.

To USA

Keep your fingers crossed for this one – getting a Domestic Employee visa is tough, because US immigrations simply won’t take any risks if they suspect your domestic worker (or non-US citizen in general) could make a run for it during a trip. To apply, helpers will have to fill out a form online and submit a valid passport, employment contract, 2×2 photo, receipt showing payment for the visa application, plus a copy of your own visa. You’ll also need to declare that they’ve worked for you for at least a year and that you’ve regularly hired domestic help for a good number of years. During the embassy interview, helpers will have to work hard to convince them that they won’t stay longer than their visa dictates or vanish once on US soil. If they’re one of the lucky souls to snag one, they can visit up to six months.

To Japan

You can download this Temporary Visit Visa form and Letter of Guarantee before heading to the Japanese Embassy. You’ll also need to present a letter explaining why you’re bringing a helper (e.g taking care of the kids or the elderly). If issued successfully, the visa is valid up to three months.

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