Dubai offers its residents a wonderful lifestyle in many ways, and one such luxury attached to working in the emirate is being able to afford a domestic helper. For some, this is nothing out of the norm, but for others, this is a new experience that can take some getting used to.

The UAE attracts people from all over the world willing to work as domestic helpers. Still, finding trustworthy and hard-working domestic helpers is not always an easy task. Not to mention, there are many legal implications attached to hiring domestic help in the UAE.

Finding a domestic worker in Dubai

Expats can either use an agency to source a domestic helper, or they can look for an employee directly. In both cases, expats should carefully consider the salary paid and the working environment for the domestic worker.

Using an agency

The word 'agency' in Dubai is an umbrella term; there are several companies that provide domestic services, but each organisation tends to do things differently.

Some agencies offer cleaning and babysitting services. These companies directly employ domestic workers and then hire them out at an hourly rate for part-time services. Some companies also offer full-time live-in maids for a monthly fee.

Hiring a full-time live-in maid from one of these agencies does not require any form of sponsorship by the expat, and they can ask for a different maid, if necessary. Payment for the service is made directly to the agency.

The preferred route for many families is sponsoring a full-time live-in maid themselves. There are labour agencies that will help these maids immigrate to Dubai specifically for a client. Their fees will typically include an upfront agency fee and the costs of the maid’s flight. The client is responsible for all the fees associated with sponsoring the maid and for paying the maid a monthly salary.

In some cases, maids are readily available in Dubai, but more often, there is a waiting period of a few weeks as the maid makes their way into the country.

Some companies act as domestic recruitment agencies for full-time live-in maids. These companies work like a typical recruitment company and will assist clients in sourcing locally available candidates. They charge a once-off placement fee and provide a guarantee to replace the domestic candidate, should this be necessary. Again, the client is responsible for all the associated sponsorship fees and for paying the maid’s monthly salary.

Employing directly

Searching directly for domestic help is certainly doable, but can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and expats who post a listing for a position will undoubtedly be inundated with calls and CVs.

Alternatively, one can find domestic help by perusing numerous classified websites that advertise maids looking for work. There is also the option of using word-of-mouth networks to source a trustworthy individual.

Salaries for domestic help in Dubai

The old adage 'you get what you pay for' applies to finding good domestic help in Dubai. Salaries for domestic help in Dubai are influenced by various factors, including the type of employment – whether the domestic helper is hired for full-time or part-time work, live-in or live-out arrangements, and the specific tasks they are required to perform. 

It is also critical for employers to consider fair compensation practices that align with the guidelines provided by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and relevant embassies. These guidelines set minimum salary requirements for domestic workers from different countries.

The negotiation of salary is often directly related to the domestic helper's experience, qualifications and the scope of their duties. Fair compensation is crucial not only for the welfare of domestic workers but also for attracting and retaining skilled individuals in these roles. The last thing an expat wants is to cover their employee's sponsorship and travel and training costs only to lose them to a competitor down the road.

Employers should also factor in other benefits such as accommodation, food, healthcare and annual leave, which are often part of the employment package for live-in domestic helpers.

For more detailed guidelines on fair compensation practices and legal requirements for hiring domestic help in Dubai, employers are encouraged to visit the official MOHRE website and the websites of relevant embassies.

Precautions and legal conditions in Dubai

Employing a domestic worker can sometimes be complicated, so ensuring that the contact is a reputable source, such as an agency or good reference, will go a long way in minimising potential problems.

In terms of legal conditions and precautions, it's paramount for employers to ensure they adhere to the full spectrum of legal requirements set forth by the UAE government.

  • Expats who wish to employ a maid need to be residents of Dubai and meet certain minimum salary requirements and will need to show evidence of these.
  • They will also have to secure a valid work permit for the domestic worker, ensure the employment contract is in line with MOHRE's guidelines, and provide health insurance.
  • Only certain nationalities are eligible for a domestic worker visa, so it is best to check with local authorities for an updated list of what nationalities are on this list.
  • It is also advisable to conduct thorough background checks and obtain references for potential employees to ensure their reliability and trustworthiness.

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