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Discussions on Filipina maid shortage continue

Second round of talks expected to take place in first quarter of 2016

Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE and Philippine labour officials will hold their second round of discussions on the issue of re-sending Filipino maids to the UAE in the first quarter of 2016.

UAE employers have not been able to hire maids directly from the Philippines since June 2014 due to conflicting recruitment rules from the UAE and labour-sending countries like the Philippines.

The issue arose when the Ministry of Interior introduced a unified contract for domestic workers that led to the suspension of various embassies’ role in verifying and attesting contracts, including the Philippines.

But the Philippines insists that based on their domestic laws, they are mandated to verify and record these contracts to protect their workers.

With the suspension of contract verification, no maids could be hired directly from the Philippines legally. This is a problem for many residents since Filipina maids are the preferred house help in the country.

A high-level delegation of Philippine labour officials recently visited the UAE to discuss a resolution on the Filipina maid shortage with Ministry of Labour officials.

Labour attache Delmer Cruz said two major points on the domestic workers’ issue were discussed in the two-day meeting.

“There were some provisions that were agreed upon on the UAE-issued unified contract. Others were referred for further discussions,” Cruz told Gulf News, declining to give details.

Cruz said the second round of talks is expected to happen in the first quarter of 2016. Once all matters are agreed upon, an agreement is expected to be signed between the two countries in the following months.

“We don’t expect the whole process to be completed within a short amount of time. It will all depend on what will be agreed upon.”

A similar maid shortage happened in Saudi Arabia in 2011 when Filipina maids were banned in the kingdom following a disagreement over their monthly wages that are standardised by Philippine laws at $400 (Dh1,468). Other provisions state that maids should be least 23 years of age, should have a weekly off, and should not pay placement fees to recruiters, among other things.

The ban was lifted in October 2012 and the Saudi Arabia and Philippines signed a historic agreement resolving the issue in 2013.

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