Expat's Manual

Getting a maid or hiring domestic help is often a new concept for many expatriates. In many Asian countries, maids, cleaners, drivers, gardeners and cooks are part of everyday life but for many westerners the idea of someone ‘invading’ your personal space could seem very alien. Getting a maid who lives in your home with you and your family may initially make you feel very uncomfortable. However, you will find, as many expats do, that your home help will ultimately become an essential part of your family.

Hired help is often available in most expat destinations to assist you to clean your house, look after your children, cook and help with the day-to-day running of the household. They will be able to help you out with language barriers and when you first arrive should be able to help with utility bills and anything else which you may be unfamiliar with. They will free up your time so you do not have to concentrate on cleaning and maintenance.

Once you are settled in, you should bond as quickly as possible with your maid. They can do as little or as much around the house as you wish and their wages will reflect this. There is not an international standard when it comes to wages and the amount they are paid will depend on where you live. Each Expat Info Desk relocation guide provides comprehensive details about getting a maid and gives useful insights into where to find home help and how much to pay them.

Some countries and cities have agencies which employ domestic help; although you can also get a maid through word of mouth once you are more familiar with the local expat community. Because they will be spending so much time in your home, it is important that they have references and you should always contact these references.

Other domestic help includes gardeners and nannies. Your gardener can be found through word of mouth. If you have an expat club, you can ask around for gardeners and find one who has a proven track record. The same goes for nannies. They will be in charge of your children and it is therefore vital that you find one who has good references and, of course, gets on with you and your children.

Although you may feel awkward at first, domestic help will soon become a big bonus and you should take full advantage of all of the help on offer.

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