Child Care and Maids

Hi Mr. S'poreson;
Me and my wife are planning to go for 189 or 190 as Mechanical Engineers.
We have a 1 yr old and 9 yrs old sons.
As your daughter is coming 2 yrs old too, perhaps you can share some light
about the child care/student care facilities in Perth/WA.
We currently have a Filipino maid in Spore but I reckon that we may have to give up domestic help in Australia
or can we continue to have a maid?
We are set to go to WA. (western Australia which may or may not be perth).
Many thanks in Advance.
W Chew+65 xxxxxxxx
+60 xxxxxxxxxx


Hi Mr Chew,

Of course, you can continue to have a maid in Australia but not the same maid. So unless your maid looks like that (left), you will definitely have to kiss goodbye to the existing one. Having said that, stay-in maids as what we know in Singapore is not a common practice in Australia. Domestic helpers are available for $20-25 per hour for cleaning and household chores. I am sure no one wants to pay for anyone to sleep so a stay-in maid appears to be a impossibility in Australia for any employed couples, even if both earns top tier wages. Just to do a bit of cross cultural sharing, "Domestic helpers" as we know it in Singapore, is considered slavery to the locals. It is both illegal and deemed rightfully so. I apologise for being blunt but I feel that it is a very important detail to a complete paradigm shift for how a family should be operated not just in view of migration, but living in Singapore as well.

If you rely on your domestic helper for all your cooking, be sure to start learning how to cook [read the importance of it here] because I would not suggest coming to Australia with the mentality of relying on somebody outside the family to cook your meals on regular basis. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.

Child care or Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) is very common in Perth (but not necessarily, I suspect, in other parts of WA) I have yet to place my daughter in any child care but from what I gathered, it is easier (but not necessarily easy) to find good child care services in Perth than Singapore. Like Singapore, these services do not come cheap but fortunately we are able to claim a Child Care Rebate from the Australia Government which covers 50% of out of pocket child care expenses, up to a maximum amount (A$7,500 till June 2014) per child per year. [Read more from the Government website]

For your elder son, you may want to consider using the OSHC services provided by most schools here [Read for example] or go private with service providers such as [this]. Knowing where you will be staying on your arrival will probably be a priority as you will have access to the information of nearby child/OSHC options only then, by checking with the schools they are enrolled in, or even the City Council.


  1. Hey Nix, fyi, if you do plan to sign your little girl up for pre-kindy/kindy, might just want to check them out early. My wife just checked and the pre-kindy that's near where we plan to live has a queue of 50 on their waiting list... At least kindy is 'safe' but that's because of the boundary thing from what we understand but must register by July for next year.

    1. Hi Kenny,

      Thank you for the reminder. It's already almost March so we better do some work.

    2. Agree with Kenny

      In Sydney, it's often difficult to get child-care spots in local areas, and more importantly you may even not like any of the child-care centres in your own areas so may have to find alternatives.

      It may be even too early to tell, but if you want to consider a cheap private school (usually Catholic-run private school.... not really restricted to children of any denominations or religion) because the local public school is really really bad or feral, then you need to put her name down.

      It is not as expensive as you think eg and if you can afford the extra cost sometime it is better than risking the local school, but there is definitely a waiting list for Catholic pte schools.

  2. I think Mr Chew may find that Western Australia's grass is not as green as he hopes:
    1. shops all close at 5pm except for 1 day a week, when SOME shops may remain open till 9pm
    2. the variety of vegetables, seafood or spices may not be as plentiful as in Singapore, and/or perhaps not as easy to find
    3. the cost of living (other than cars) is higher than in Singapore (especially in Perth)
    4. Eating out everyday (instead of cooking at home, god forbid), may be more expensive than hiring a maid.
    5. Not so easy for mechanical engineers to get their first job her; perhaps have to work as a cleaner for a few months first
    6. House rentals are more expensive than in Singapore
    7. House prices, whilst cheaper than in Singapore, are not all that cheap either.
    8. All public schools are supposed to be equal, but some are more equal than others
    9. The kiasu syndrome of Asians has not been totally eradicated in Perth

    It is, perhaps, wise to reconsider migrating to Australia unless the above are not really issues to worry about.

  3. I think Singaporeans who are moving overseas need to understand that it's a different style of living overseas. Current practices in Singapore may not be applicable in Australia and vice versa. It will be wise for Mr Chew to visit WA to see what he is in for before he immigrates there.

    Overseas sinkie

  4. He forgot about the NS issue of his 9 year old son unless he is prepared to let his son go back Singapore to serve NS when he is 18 years old.

    1. I think if leave the country before a certain age, then can renounce citizenship?

  5. Not sure if PRs are eligible to get Au Pair/ Demi Pair.

    "An Au Pair is generally a young woman (or man) from a foreign country looking for a new intercultural experience. They agree to assist the host family with ‘in house’ care of their children and light housekeeping duties, in return they gain the opportunity to enhance their own English skills on a daily basis whilst experiencing life in a safe environment whilst being part of an Australian family.

    The Au Pair typically receives room, board (three standard meals a day) and weekly ‘pocket money’ in accordance with Agency guidelines. In Australia Au Pairs usually stay with their host family for approximately six months."

    Depending on the agreement, the au pair may do some housework/ babysitting in exchange for board or/and some remuneration. The work hours are limited to about 30-40 hours a week. From what I read, it sounded like a cultural exchange/ work holiday experience for that person.

  6. Dear Mr and Mrs Chew

    I don't want to sound critical but I wonder based on your questions in this blog,

    1. if you actually lived in Australia for a period of time in a suburban area (and not just travelling as tourists)

    If the answer is no, then you may have to actually make an effort to try to experience life as a Australian rather than as a visitor. It will be difficult but perhaps fly down to Perth for a couple of weeks and rent a serviced apartment and meet up with some of the ppl is this blog who may be able to volunteer their time. In fact maybe even choose the worst time in the world to do so: Summer in Dec-Feb or Winter Jun- Sep when the weather is more extreme.

    If you and your children can tahan the climate, and the lack of happening place (including shopping) after 5pm and even suitable eating places that stays open after hours can be difficult in certain part of Metro Perth (don;t even think about it outside Perth) unless you are happy with family restaurants like Macdonald. It can be pretty gloomy in winter as well with very short daylight exposure.

    Foreign Domestic Help (AKA 'maid' in Singapore) is near non-existent in Australia (but never say never) because like some of the others has already written, Australia does not allow third world working conditions as 'we' had practised in Singapore. There is simply no way anyone can hire a live-in domestic worker with is a cook/cleaner/nanny/guard at home and work 6 1/2 days a week (come now, did you really give her a complete day off on Sunday from 0000hrs to 2400hrs or just for daylight hours only), EVEN if you pay minimum Australian wages for 24 hours a day ($16.37 X 24 hours X 6 days - assuming full Sunday off = $2357 per week) even if the worker is willing, due to employment laws. And there is no way the authorities will accept a worker to work for a mere S$350 a month.

    The best you can expect is either a domestic help who come in to clean your house for 2 hours a day for maybe 2 - 5 days a week, or a live-in nanny usually a back-packer from Europe who is willing to look after the children part-time (ie maybe 4-5 hours a day) in return for food, lodging and minimum wage pay PLUS giving her (I don't know anyone who hire a male nanny) the flexibility to travel or take unpaid absence when she chooses: or (I dont use them but you can look it up yourself)

    FYI These nanny are usually very well educated and so know their rights very well.

    2. if you both expect to work as mechanical engineers in Australia (particularly in Perth)

    If yes, I certainly hope you get an offer before coming over, since standards and working conditions and attitude expectation can be very different. Sometimes if you are in large national or multinational companies, you may be expected to travel (drive or fly) for short to medium term stints in the countryside.

    Australia is a great place to live, work and grow in, but please come with your eyes open and without the tinted sunglasses.

    Good luck

  7. There are many housewives in oz especially perth. You can try asking them whether they are willing to child sit for a price. Most (especially asians migrants) are very willing to do so.

  8. Nice post.......Thanks for thoughts implemented by people.with out maids their is nothing work to do in our daily routine lives with out them we can't do our work in houses.
    click here for childcare cleaning services