Thought I’d share with you the steps I took in successfully applying for home leave on my own, without going through an agency in Singapore, bc we’ve just applied and received ours this week! I brought my dog Milk here from the US without one detailed in the post here (though it was a super frustrating and LONG process), so I figured I can do this too. It wasn’t easy as the philippine embassy want to make it as confusing for you as possible so that you end up paying up and hiring the agency to do it for you. But it can be done, with a bit of patience and persistence. I’ve tried to best summarize the steps so that you can just follow the steps below and not think twice about it.
Few things to note:
- Start this 2~3 months prior her departure date.
- If you go through a Lucky Plaza agency to do this for you, it’ll cost you anywhere from $280 to 400. You can have your maid go and compare the rates amongst the agencies. You do not and should not go through the agency in which you hired your maid (unless it’s one of the few that has this service in Lucky Plaza), as they will basically hire a third-party agency (yes, those in Lucky Plaza that you can find yourself) to do it for them and charge you another $50~100 on top for the referral fee.
- If you do this on your own, it’ll cost you anywhere between $100~180, depending on the documents that you already have.
- Despite what is generally known, you CAN apply without an agency even if your helper has not yet finished her contract. My helper has worked with me only for 3 months and we have successfully done this on our own.
- The maid can, during a weekday (Philippine Embassy hours: Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.) go to embassy on her own and apply herself. You, the employer, do not need to be there.
- Make sure to make copies of all the documents (at least three or more for each, as it seems to differ for each officer), the embassy otherwise charges $0.50 cents per.
- Make sure your maid is dressed in pants below her knees and closed sandals, or she won’t be allowed in the embassy.
1. First and foremost, go to this link and make an appointment at the embassy. This is to obtain the OEC (one of the documents you need). You should hurry and book even if you haven’t bought a flight ticket yet as the open slots are usually a month away, and they insist that you book one month prior to your maid’s departure date (so you would need to basically start two~three months before the departure date. side note: OEC is actually valid up to 60 days, up to her return date). If the time slot available is less than a month before her departure, don’t panic. Call or email them and explain your situation- I’ve heard of cases where they allowed the maid to come in the next day to get one bc of the time constraint. But book early, because you never know what you can or cannot get by with these ppl as rules are always changing and the number of copies needed varies by each officer. My maid didn’t have an email account, so i signed up with my email and had her fill out the profile section pertaining to her bio. After you select your time slot, PRINT THREE COPIES OF THE APPOINTMENT SHEET.
2. Book the flight ticket. Print out and make copies.
3. Apply for your $7000 insurance bond at NTUC online or by phone. You do not need to visit in person! I actually did mine on the phone bc I had many questions on this stupid insurance (I still don’t get it, but basically it’s just another scheme for these ppl to make money) and I was able to buy one in 15 minutes. It takes up to ONE WEEK for your physical copy to arrive in mail. You need this original copy for the next step.
4. CRUCIAL: Once your physical NTUC proof of insurance arrives, send your maid to the embassy BEFORE the actual OEC appointment date with:
The NTUC insurance (not a copy, but the original NTUC sheet)
fill out, print out, and make copies of all the following: (you’ll need it sooner or later anyway) OFW Information Sheet (OEC), OWWA Information Sheet, Application for Accreditation (Domestic Worker), Employment Contract for Household Service Workers (Direct)
or go to this link for all the forms, if above links are broken (provided by Ks Toh)
and bring & make copies: Maid’s Work permit AND copies, Maid’s passport AND copies
Go to the embassy and tell them that you need to “authenticate” and obtain her Philippine embassy contract and get her OWWA, preferably before 1pm to give ample time (they close at 4pm). She needs to show the NTUC insurance to get her Philippine contract, and she needs the Philippine contract to show at her OEC appointment. Sounds confusing? Yes I know, but it’ll save you trouble of visiting the agency multiple times.
note: The contract given to you by your agency when you first hired her IS NOT VALID. If your agency did not give you a Philippines authenticated contract (and most don’t, as you don’t need it unless she travels abroad), then you’d need to fill out the form and have it “authenticated.”
5. Go back a week later to pick up the Philippines authenticated contract, or like my maid, go later at her OEC appointment date to pick up the contract then, and then proceed with the OEC application.
Here’s the price breakdown of everything I paid for:
Hope this helps some of you. Note again that I never set a foot inside the Philippines embassy, and we applied for the OEC appointment, NTUC insurance, and downloaded all the forms ONLINE. And my maid had to only go to the embassy physically TWICE. I don’t actually know the details of these documents or do I really care to know, I was just told from a friend that they are the Philippine’s government’s attempt of making more $$ off of their poor citizens bc most aren’t actually even necessary. So please try to pay for these document fees instead of making them pay for it, or making them go through an agency!