Abu Dhabi: Indonesian women domestic workers have started coming to the UAE again after a brief interval. This development is expected to alleviate the shortage of women domestic help in the UAE due to restrictions introduced by labour-exporting countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Ethiopia.

Around 900 Indonesian women arrived in the UAE in 2016 under a new recruitment system called ‘outsourcing model’ introduced by Indonesia, a top Indonesian diplomat told Gulf News on Monday.

“Around 1,000 domestic workers arrived here since the Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi introduced a pilot system of ‘outsourced model’ in mid-2016. Around 90 per cent of them [900] are women, who came mainly through two recruitment companies,” said Husin Bagis, Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE.

The embassy has authorised a total of seven recruitment companies and the system is now open to all from early this month, he said.

The new system originally introduced by Indonesia in 2014 does not permit recruitment of ‘housemaids’ who are supposed to do all household chores, the envoy said. But, seven other categories of domestic workers — both men and women — can be recruited only through recruitment companies authorised by the Indonesian Embassy. Individual employers can no longer recruit domestic workers. The employers [families] have to approach the authorised recruitment companies for the same, Bagis said.

Janu Susilo, Labour Attache at the Indonesian Embassy said, the companies are responsible to provide visa and monthly salary to the workers. The sponsorship of the worker will be with the company that will send him/her to the workplace [family]. Flexibility to change workplace is the advantage of the outsourcing model. The worker is under the sponsorship of recruitment company that can easily move him/her to a different workplace, if he/she is not comfortable, he said.

Susilo said between 90,000 and 100,000 Indonesians are living in the UAE. “Between 40,000 and 60,000 of them are workers, of which , 80 per cent of them are female domestic workers. The rest of them are skilled workers and professionals,” he said.

The female workers under seven permitted categories are housekeepers, drivers, caregivers, gardeners, babysitters, cooks, and security guards. These workers are not supposed to do any other work. Indonesian authorities will permit their emigration based on their job profile, Susilo said.

Dh1,200 minimum salary, eight-hour daily working time (overtime will be calculated as per UAE labour laws), one day weekly-off, permission to use mobile phone, right to approach the labour court in the event of a dispute, are the other conditions under the new system, he said.

As Gulf News reported, Nepal has also lifted ban on emigration of housemaids recently. The Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had implemented a moratorium on the recruitment of housemaids to the UAE in October 2013.The Philippines stopped sending housemaids to the UAE from June 2014 citing conflicting recruitment rules with the UAE. The Ethiopian government in 2012 banned women from coming to the UAE to work as maids following a series of complaints about abuse. The number of Indian housemaids in the UAE decreased considerably after the Indian embassy introduced stringent recruitment conditions in February 2008.






1000 Indonesian workers reached UAE in 2016 under new system

900 female domestic workers arrived in 2016

Dh 1200 – minimum salary

Between 100,000 and 110,000 Indonesians in the UAE

86,000 of them are workers

80 per cent of workers are female domestic workers.

30% to 40% of Indonesians are skilled workers and professionals


The female workers under seven permitted categories:-


1. Housekeeper

2. Driver

3. Caregiver

4. Gardener

5. Babysitter

6. Cook

7. Security guards

(These workers are not supposed to do any other work. Indonesian authorities will permit their emigration based on the job profile)