Abu Dhabi: About 50 per cent of the complaints of ill treatment from Indian housemaids in the UAE are against their own compatriot employers, said the Indian Ambassador.
About 50 per cent of the Indian housemaids in the UAE are employed with Indian families and 50 per cent of them complain of ill treatment, Talmiz Ahmad told Gulf News. "So complaints of mistreatment against Indians and locals or other nationals are equal in number."
Ahmad said no complaints arose from legal immigrants whose job contract was attested by the Indian Embassy and Consulate in the UAE.
The Ambassador said the embassy has learned that there are a large number of illegal Indian housemaids in the UAE.
"Most of them have come on a visit visa and a majority of them are illiterate." He hoped that the latest step taken by the UAE to streamline issuing of visit visa can curb the trend.
"Although I have been entrusted by the government of India to fix a minimum wage for Indian housemaids in the UAE, I don't rush to decide it because some other important measurers are required apart from the minimum wage to solve their problems."
Ahmad suggested some important measures for both employers and employees to avoid disputes. "The recruitment process must be totally transparent and the job contract must be attested by the embassy or consulate." The employer or recruitment agency also must ensure that the person is fit for the job.
The mismatch of employer's expectations and employee's capabilities is the root cause of a dispute.
Training in languages and handling electronic gadgets among others is the need of the hour to avoid disputes, he said. The ambassador said the mission must have access to the housemaids to take care of their welfare.
But housemaids are not under the purview of the UAE Labour Law and the employer has the right to deny access to their domestic help.
"A system for such access can be made with the cooperation of local authorities," said the Ambassador.
Ahmad said he will not fix a much higher minimum wage for housemaids as it may open the flood-gate of illegal immigration.
"Discussions are on with various people in the country to make a realistic decision," said the ambassador.