Which source countries are approved to hire foreign domestic helpers (maids) in Malaysia?

Published on 13 Feb 2024, last updated on 19 Feb 2024

If you're considering hiring a foreign domestic helper (maid) in Malaysia, it's crucial to understand the approved source countries recognised by the Malaysian government and the eligibility conditions associated with employing them. This guide aims to provide clarity on the requirements and procedures involved in hiring foreign domestic helpers, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant process for both employers and workers.


Approved Source Countries for Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs)

The Malaysian government has approved several countries as legitimate sources for hiring foreign domestic helpers (maids). These countries include:

1. Indonesia 2. The Philippines 3. Thailand 4. Cambodia 5. Sri Lanka 6. India 7. Vietnam 8. Laos 9. Nepal

Source: Malaysian Immigration


Eligibility Conditions for Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs)

Before hiring a foreign domestic helper (maid), it's essential to ensure they meet specific eligibility criteria set forth by the Malaysian government. These conditions include:

  • The FDH should be female.
  • They must be confirmed 'fit to work' by a government-appointed medical centre in their country of origin and pass their FOMEMA medical exam upon arrival in Malaysia.
  • They must reside in their country of origin before visa processing commences.
  • They must enter Malaysia via the Visa With Reference (VDR) issued by the Malaysian Embassy office in their country of origin.
  • Age requirements: The FDH must be between 21 and 45 years old (not exceeding 44 years old). In some source countries, further minimum age limits are applied for workers to qualify for work abroad as domestic helpers. For example, the Philippines requires that nationals are at least 24 years old before they can work abroad as FDHs.

New Terms of Employing Indonesian Domestic Helpers in Accordance with Indonesia & Malaysia's Memorandum of Understanding (effective August 2022)

For Malaysian-based employers seeking to hire Indonesian domestic helpers, there are specific terms and conditions outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia. These include:

  • Increased household income requirement: Employers must have a household net income of RM 7,000.00/ month to hire 1 Indonesian domestic helper.
  • Family size: A single household can consist of a maximum of six family members.
  • Employment categories: Indonesian domestic helpers can be employed as housekeepers, family cooks, child caretakers, or elderly caretakers.
  • Minimum salary: The minimum monthly salary for Indonesian domestic helpers is RM 1,500.00.
  • Visa application process: Visa applications must be made through a registered Malaysian Recruitment Agency (MRA) via their Indonesia Placement Agency (IPA) partnership.
  • Contract certification: Employment contracts need to be certified or endorsed by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia via an Embassy-registered Malaysia Recruitment Agency (MRA).

Employer Eligibility Requirements

To hire an foreign domestic helper (maid), employers must meet certain eligibility criteria, including:

  • Submitting hiring applications through registered employment agencies (for Filipino and Indonesian domestic helpers).
  • Ensuring completeness of application forms and required documents.
  • Meeting income requirements based on the country of origin of the FDH.
  • Compliance with regulations regarding the number of FDHs an employer can hire based on their income level and family circumstances.

Employer Qualifying Income Requirements based on Foreign Domestic Helper's Country of Origin

No.Country of OriginEmployer Minimum Net Income (to hire 1 FDH)
1IndonesiaRM7,000.00/ month
2The PhilippinesRM5,000.00/ month
3Sri LankaRM5,000.00/ month
4ThailandRM3,000.00/ month
5CambodiaRM3,000.00/ month
6IndiaRM5,000.00/ month
7LaosRM3,000.00/ month
8VietnamRM3,000.00/ month

It's important to note that employers who have been declared bankrupt are not eligible to apply for hiring FDHs. Additionally, specific conditions apply when applying for a second or subsequent FDH (more than 1 helper):

Application TypeEmployer Minimum Net Income
Hiring a 2nd foreign domestic helper2x of [Employer Minimum Net Income to hire 1 FDH]
Hiring a 3rd foreign domestic helper3x of [Employer Minimum Net Income to hire 1 FDH]
Hiring a 4th foreign domestic helper onwards4x of [Employer Minimum Net Income to hire 1 FDH] and subject to Special Approval by the Immigration Director-General

Navigating the process of hiring foreign domestic helpers in Malaysia requires careful attention to regulations, eligibility criteria, and procedural requirements. By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, employers can ensure a legal and compliant hiring process while providing employment opportunities for foreign domestic helpers in Malaysia.

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