As more parents opt to work full time to keep up with ever increasing costs of education and living, the demand for maids in Dubai has continued to grow at a steady pace. As the expatriate population in Dubai continues to evolve and change, most families that live in the emirate find themselves without any family support or network to help with children, chores and housework. There is little doubt that a maid can offer a great deal of help to make the daily running of your household easier and more efficient.
The UAE has strict laws on the hiring of household help and hiring illegal domestic help can incur very hefty fines of upto $27,000, jail term for the employer and possible deportation. Laws and regulations are often updated as the government tries to frame laws that protect the rights of hired help as well potential employers. For the latest rules and regulations, visit the Government of Dubai website, which also has the most current fees for hiring a maid. Illegal workers include part-time employees, those who work for you but are sponsored by someone else and maids working without any authorization at all.
Criteria for employing domestic help
You can sponsor a maid in Dubai if you are the head of a family with a minimum income of AED 6000 or AED 5000 plus accommodation. Single males are not allowed to sponsor maids. Maids can be hired from India, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh. In addition, the sponsor is also required to provide a yearly round trip ticket to the maid’s home country, monthly leave once a year and one day a week off. Local Emirati employers have more relaxed laws allowing them to enter into a two-year sponsorship contract with leave and paid tickets to go home once every two years.
There are two basic methods of employing maids in Dubai:
Sponsoring a live-in maid
For many families, live-in domestic help is preferred as there is someone to help through out the day with various chores and maids can also do additional work such as baby-sitting and child care. Additional advantages include regular presence within the home and a measure of control on the maid’s outside activities, as her passport is in the sponsor’s custody. The down-side to live-in helpers is the intrusion of a non-family member in your daily life and having to share your home with an outsider.
Sponsoring a maid yourself is a two-fold process; the first part involves getting an entry permit for the helper to enter the country and the second process is for the application of a residence visa and work permit. To hire a live-in maid, the sponsor must have a minimum two bedroom house preferably with a separate bathroom for the maid. To apply for an entry permit, the relevant form must be filled up at a typing center and all required documents should be submitted to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs – Dubai along with a refundable deposit of AED 2000. This deposit will be given back to you only once the maid leaves the country and is no longer in your employment. A copy of the visa or the original then needs to be mailed to the maid (if mailing a copy, the original should be deposited at the DNATA visa desk at the Dubai Airport). Once the maid is in the country, you have one month in which to apply for a residence visa and medical fitness report.
Most families find live-in help from many different sources including word-of-mouth and community notice boards at supermarkets or other public places. Another great source is the classified section of expatriate forums such as the Expatwoman Classified section. Many families who have had live-in maids for several years are eager to find good homes for their helpers when they leave the country and such maids are always preferable as they come with a dependable reference. For those who find the task of looking for domestic help daunting, there are many agencies that will find a suitable maid for your requirements for an extra fee.
Hiring an agency maid
For those who find the thought of live-in help unthinkable, there are many maid agency services that provide part-time help at an hourly rate. Most agencies require a minimum of four hours with hourly rates varying from AED 35 to AED 50. The key to finding good maids through an agency is to search for a company that trains its staff well. The advantages to part-time maids is no intrusion on privacy, you can hire on an as-need basis, no sponsorship costs and often times other services such as cooking, baby-sitting and grocery shopping my also be offered at additional cost. The down-side to part time help is inconsistency; the agency might send a different maid who might need to be retrained and re-oriented with your house. For many, this is a time consuming process and a great deterrent to hiring part-time help.
How much to pay your maid is a personal preference and while there are no strict laws, some embassies have established minimum payment rates in an attempt to protect their overseas workers. It should be remembered that these rates are minimum recommendations and allowances must be paid for food, phone, personal effects and clothing. A monthly allowance of AED 2000 to AED 3000 seems to be the average (not including above mentioned allowances).
Most families in Dubai are fortunate enough to be able to hire domestic help when family support is unavailable. While finding a maid in Dubai might seem complex, the procedure is fairly easy with many online resources providing step-by-step instructions on the process and paper work required.