Hiring domestic help is affordable, but complicated, in Dubai. Find out how to get it done.
Whether domestic help is something you’ve used in the past or it’s entirely new to you, the fact remains that plenty of women from countries such as the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia come to the UAE to seek such employment. The cost of hiring them is often surprisingly low, with rates from Dhs700 to Dhs1,200 per month for a live-in maid, nanny or other home worker, which is why having domestic help is so common in this region.
There are a number of ways to find a full-time maid, whether it is through word of mouth or placing an advert on the likes of Dubizzle or Expatwoman, although in our experience, it’s good to get a personal recommendation from somebody you know.
Otherwise, the easiest way to find someone suitable is through an agency (see listings on page 35), but you can also go it alone. Anyone you hire has to be employed under your visa and you will be the sponsor for their work visa under UAE labour law.
This means you cannot share domestic help, so if a friend asks to borrow your maid to look after their kids for a while, your answer has to be no. Ministry of Labour laws state you can be fined Dhs50,000 for employing a worker who is not sponsored by you, or who you’re paying cash in hand, while the domestic worker will face a Dhs100,000 fine, could be sent to prison and banned from entering the country for a year.
Step by step
For a live-in domestic worker, regardless of whether you found them through an agency or a newspaper advert, you need to sponsor their employment visa. It should be displayed in their passport whenever they are entering or exiting the country. You will have to apply for the visa via the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (www.dnrd.ae; 800 5111). At the time of going to press, the costs included Dhs5,200 for the residency visa and a Dhs2,000 deposit, as well as medical fees and typing and translation costs. For more information, visit www.dubai.ae.
It is necessary to allow your help to return home every two years and provide the cost of the flight and incidental expenses, including food.
Check the credentials of domestic worker services advertised online before you jump in. Employing a maid through a reputable company on a part-time basis means you won’t fall foul of any laws.
Bugs and rodents can be a problem throughout the year in Dubai. Here are some of the most common pests and how to keep them out.
Cockroaches will only ever be found in places where the standard of hygiene is low.
Always inspect yourself and your belongings after travelling. Whether you’ve been abroad or just in a taxi, bedbugs can be found in any soft furnishings.
Avoid leaving leftover food lying around and keep your space as clean as possible. If you have pets in the garden, make sure any leftover food is cleared away immediately.
Filth flies are attracted to dirt and rotting food, and you will only find them places that are unhygienic.