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How to hire ayi in Shanghai
By Hu Min

As many domestic helpers in Shanghai are migrants who went back for family reunion during the Spring Festival, it’s a peak time for domestic service job market to reshuffle after ayi’s return to the city these days.

An ayi can be either part time or full time. A part-time ayi may work for several families a day and they get paid on an hourly basis, while full-time ayi work five to 10 hours a day, depending on the daily housework, and may live in employer’s house.

There are different types of ayi. They can accomplish most of your daily housework, and some are good at taking care of children, shopping for groceries or cooking.

Shanghai Daily provides some tips and recommendation on how to find a good ayi in the city.


1. Make a call or send an email to domestic service companies. You need to present your requirements clearly.

2. Domestic service agencies will pick the most suitable ayi and arrange a meeting or an interview between the employer and prospective ayi. The ayi can visit your family if you wish.

3. During the talks with the ayi, there is room for negotiating on pay. It’s wise to fully inform the ayi about their duties and give them a clear idea about the working environment to avoid future disputes.

4. You need to pay for insurance for the ayi, sign a contract with the domestic service agency and pay any go-between fees. (Note: The contract is normally in Chinese, so bringing a Chinese friend with you can help. Some agencies have staff who can translate it into English. A new contract is signed every year.)

 The procedure is not complicated, and can be finished within a week, or two days as the quickest.


• Have a sincere talk with ayi before signing the agreement.

• Check whether ayi has a health certificate.

• Avoid ayi offering the services without a domestic service company.

• Bonuses: Both part-time and full-time ayi are likely to have holidays at least once a year. If you don’t want to be left handling all the household chores yourself during holidays, you may try suggesting a bonus for them to stay during that time.

• Ask for a trial period for the ayi.

• Learning some useful Chinese phrases will be helpful because most ayi, even those who have worked for expat families, are unable to speak English.

• Write a schedule for the ayi every day.

• Hiring foreign ayi is banned in China.

It is quite easy to get an ayi for expat families since many companies provide such service. Below are some recommended, reliable domestic service companies for you to consider.

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