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 who are willing to work as domestic helpers.

Although the market is full of just such people, finding trustworthy and hardworking domestic helpers is not always such 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, it’s best to proceed with caution and to 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.

There are agencies that offer cleaning and babysitting services. These companies directly employ domestic workers and then hire them out at an hourly rate for part-time services, and in some cases, the company will also provide a full-time live-in maid for a monthly fee.

Hiring a full-time live-in maid from one of these agencies does not require any form of sponsorship, and the maid can be exchanged for another, if necessary. In this situation, payment for the full-time maid service is made directly to the agency.

The preferred route for a lot of families is sponsoring a full-time live-in maid. There are labour agencies that will bring these maids 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 will be 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 to bring a maid into the country.

There are also companies that act as domestic recruitment agencies for full-time live-in maids. These companies work along the lines of 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. 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 and the required working conditions for domestic help vary considerably, and there are recommendations made by various embassies for minimum salaries according to nationality.

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.

The UAE has specific laws with regard to employing domestic help. 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.

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.

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