How much does it cost to hire a foreign domestic helper (maid) in Malaysia? 
Published on 2 Jan 2024, last updated on 2 Feb 2024
Table of contents
Domestic helpers (maids) perform a wide range of tasks for their employers including housekeeping, cooking, laundry, childcare, and elderly care. The labour performed by domestic workers makes it possible for many families in Malaysia to reduce the burden of house work and care work and attend to their careers or family and friends.
But the decision to hire a foreign domestic worker is also a financial one. When one compares the cost of hiring local service providers versus hiring a foreign domestic worker, it becomes apparent that hiring a foreign domestic worker is a more financially viable option.
Let us assume that a family of four living in Kuala Lumpur is primarily seeking assistance with housekeeping and child care. Both parents hold full-time jobs and their two children are quite young, meaning that they will require full-time care during the work day. Below is a breakdown of their estimated per-month cost depending on whether they engage the services of a foreign domestic worker or local service providers:
|Agency service fee
|Agency service fee averaged out over 2 years (assuming a service fee of RM19,500)
|Minimum salary for a Filipino worker
|Monthly food/ living allowance
|Food, hygiene products, etc. for worker
|Medical/ dental costs
|Estimated annual medical/ dental costs averaged out over 12 months
|Permit renewal fee, including mandatory medical examination
|Quote for hiring a cleaning service twice a week*
|RM 2,400 - RM 4,000
|Assuming roughly RM 1,200 - RM 2,000 per child for full-time daycare**
|Food delivery services/eating out
|RM 5,400 - RM1,690 (groceries) = RM 3,710
|To simplify this calculation, let’s assume that families only order food delivery and eat out if they do not have a domestic worker. Assuming that a family of four spends RM180 per day on food delivery/eating out, the cost of food is RM5,400 a month. However, we need to subtract the savings of the cost of groceries that will feed a family of four, assuming that a domestic worker would need groceries to cook for a household. According to a budgeting guide*** published by EPF, the average cost of groceries for a family of four is RM1,690
|RM 7,070 - RM 8,870
The costs above are estimated costs and can vary up and down depending on a variety of factors such as the makeup (no. of children, presence of elderly) of the family, financial obligations and preferred lifestyle of the household, the service providers the household chooses to work with, etc.
From the rough estimates calculated above, it is apparent that the cost of hiring local service providers for housekeeping, child care, and food preparation is at least 2 to 3 times more than the cost of hiring a foreign domestic worker. Over a 1-year period, hiring a foreign domestic worker can save a family roughly RM30,000 - RM70,000. This does not even take into account the value of other types of labour that foreign domestic workers perform such as laundry and taking care of household pets and plants, for example. Beyond the monetary savings just mentioned, hiring a foreign domestic worker saves families time and the difficulties of coordinating scheduling with private service providers. Because foreign domestic workers become so integrated into the schedules of their employers, they can often easily adapt to the changing needs and dynamics of the family.
Employing a foreign domestic helper entails various expenses, including the helper's salary, levy, medical insurance, food, and other living costs. A steady source of income ensures that you can comfortably meet these obligations throughout the hiring period. To hire a Filipino helper, you’ll need to show a monthly household income of no less than RM5,000/ month while to hire an Indonesian helper, you’ll need a monthly household income of no less than RM7,000/ month based on Malaysian Immigration requirements. If you do not earn a monthly income, you will need to show proof of assets of a comparable amount to support hiring expenses for the entire contractual period (i.e. 2 years).
The Malaysian Immigration Department accepts various forms of income proof. Check which of the following you can provide:
- Company-verified salary slips
- Latest EPF statement
- Foreign Deposit statement
- Latest annual tax filing statement (in your country of work) & tax payment receipt
- Monthly bank statements
- Dividend statements
- Pension statements
In conclusion, hiring a foreign domestic helper/ maid in Malaysia can be a cost-effective choice for most families as in many cases, it is more affordable and offers more convenience than hiring local service providers.
This guide provides insights into the financial aspects of employing a domestic helper/ maid in Malaysia, a key consideration for employers in Kuala Lumpur and beyond.