I thought this might be useful information to post here. Have just spent time writing and posted elsewhere and just in case (as many of my posts seem to it disappears) I have a record. Please feel free to correct or fill any gaps.
It has taken me about 6 months to work this out, I hope I have got it right! In the end I went straight to the Philippine embassy in Singapore website and spoke to them to clarify as could get no sense out of my maid or agency.
The Philippine government in a drive to protect (?) the interest of their overseas workers will not let them leave the Philippines to return to Singapore on a Singapore FDW visa unless they have the following:
1. Valid employment contract processed by the embassy (min wage, conditions) ($70 embassy charge)
2. Overseas Worker Association (OWWA) membership ($43)
3. Insurance bond for payment of $2,000 if employer breach contract in 1. ($50)
4. Exit pass ($6)
I think items 2-4 you could do yourselves but the embassy will only deal with an employment agency (they have a list of who they will deal with if you ring them) for 1. So basically you have to go through an agency...ours is charging $270 all up for everything which includes I think about $100 for theit time and effort. It is all valid for 2 years.
Apparently you can get your maid to get all this for a fraction of the above cost while in the Philippines but as our maid lives in a very rural area far from Manila I decided to organise it at this end and didn't investigate further the process re this. Anyone????? It would be nice to have a definitive answer on this question to go into archive.
The above takes about 5 days at this end and is valid for 2 years. Note that if your maid needs a new passport as well, she can do that herself once she has 1-3 above. The embassy charges $100 (compared to about $30 if it gets done in the Philippines). An agency would probably roll it into the costs above if you got it done together.
Re airfares you can buy them yourselves although the agency may try and sell them to you. There are such things as "maid fares" but note these may not be the cheapest fare so check. We booked ours on-line Jetstar which was quite a bit cheaper but you would need to warn your maid that unlike SIA they are very strict on the 20kg baggage allowance and you have to pay for refreshments on board.
Tiger Air also have very cheap fares to Manila although they land at the.....? naval base which apparently is a long way from Manila.
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