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Work Permit Renewal for MDWs

Jackie Tay

4 min read

Jun 5




Renewal of Work Permit for Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs)/Maids/Domestic Helpers in Singapore may seem confusing or tedious, but this article can help you understand the relevant processes.

The process of renewing a work permit for Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs)/maids/domestic helpers in Singapore is a critical aspect of managing foreign domestic employment. This procedure, governed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), ensures that both the employer and the MDW/maid/domestic helper adhere to legal requirements, maintain up-to-date documentation, and continue to have a formal working relationship under regulated terms. This essay explores the comprehensive steps involved in the renewal process, highlighting the responsibilities of employers, the necessary documentation, and the importance of compliance with MOM regulations.

Understanding the Renewal Process

The work permit for MDWs/maids/domestic helpers typically needs to be renewed before its expiration. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) sends a renewal notification about eight weeks prior to the permit's expiration date. This notification prompts the employer to initiate the renewal process to avoid penalties or fines related to overstaying or late renewals.

Key Steps in Renewing a Work Permit

1. Receiving the Renewal Letter:

Employers receive a renewal letter from MOM approximately eight weeks before the current work permit expires. This letter serves as an official reminder and contains important information and instructions for renewing the permit online.

2. Completing Pre-Renewal Requirements:

Before renewing the work permit, employers must ensure that they meet several pre-renewal requirements:

- Security Bond:

For non-Malaysian MDWs/maids/domestic helpers, a security bond is mandatory. Employers must purchase a new security bond, and the details need to be sent to MOM by the bank or insurance company. This process can take up to three working days.

- Medical Insurance:

Employers must extend the existing medical insurance or purchase a new policy for their MDW/maid/domestic helper.

- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI):

Similar to medical insurance, PAI must be extended or renewed. This insurance covers the MDW/maid/domestic helper against accidents during their employment.

3. Document Preparation:

Employers need to prepare and scan the personal particulars page of the MDW’s/maid’s/domestic helper’s passport, including any amendments. If the MDW’s/maid’s/domestic helper’s passport has been renewed, the updated details must be recorded with MOM.

4. Submission and Payment:

To renew the work permit, employers log in to the MOM eService portal and submit the application along with the required documents. The renewal fee is $35, payable via VISA, MasterCard, or direct debit.

Post-Renewal Steps

1. Temporary Work Permit:

After the renewal application is submitted, employers should print and check the Temporary Work Permit. This document will indicate whether the MDW/maid/domestic helper can continue using their existing permit card or if a new card is required.

2. New Permit Card:

If a new permit card is necessary, MOM will provide instructions for its delivery. Employers need to provide an address for delivery and the contact details of up to three authorised recipients who can sign for the card.

3. Validity Period:

The renewed work permit is generally valid for two years. However, certain conditions may affect this duration:

- Insurance Validity: If the insurance package is valid for less than 26 months, the work permit will be valid until two months before the insurance expires.

- Age of MDW/Maid/Domestic Helper: If the MDW/maid/domestic helper is nearing 60 years old, the permit will be valid until their 60th birthday.

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Handling Late Renewals and Appeals

1. Late Renewals:

Employers are liable for levy payments even if the work permit has expired. Penalties for overstaying may also apply. If an extension is necessary due to unforeseen circumstances, employers can request an extension from MOM.

2. Appeals:

In cases where the renewal application is denied, employers can make an appeal. However, appeals are typically successful only if new, pertinent information is provided for consideration.

Compliance and Legal Considerations

1. Importance of Compliance:

Adhering to MOM’s regulations is crucial for maintaining a legal employment relationship with MDWs/maids/domestic helpers. Non-compliance can result in significant fines, legal issues, and the potential inability to hire domestic workers in the future.

2. Record-Keeping:

Employers must ensure that all documentation, including the security bond, insurance policies, and passport details, are up-to-date and accurately recorded with MOM. Proper record-keeping helps in seamless renewals and prevents any legal complications.

Special Considerations

1. Travel Plans:

If an MDW/maid/domestic helper plans to travel overseas near the expiry date of their work permit, employers should renew the permit before their departure. This ensures that the worker can re-enter Singapore without issues.

2. Authorization for Employment Agencies:

Employment agencies acting on behalf of employers must obtain authorization using MOM’s FDW eService before performing any transactions. This step is crucial for maintaining the integrity and legality of the renewal process.


The renewal of work permits for MDWs/maids/domestic helpers in Singapore is a structured process designed to ensure legal compliance and the welfare of both employers and domestic workers. By following MOM’s guidelines and completing the necessary steps in a timely manner, employers can avoid penalties and ensure a smooth continuation of employment. This process underscores the importance of administrative diligence, legal adherence, and mutual responsibility in the employer-MDW/maid/domestic helper relationship.

The comprehensive nature of the renewal process, from receiving the renewal letter to completing post-renewal steps, highlights the Singaporean government’s commitment to maintaining a regulated and fair system for migrant domestic employment. Employers play a pivotal role in this process, and their adherence to the outlined steps ensures the protection and legal status of their MDWs/maids/domestic helpers, contributing to a harmonious and lawful domestic employment environment.


Jackie Tay

4 min read

Jun 5