The reduction, implemented recently, was confirmed by an official.

The official explained, however, that the Dh2,000 deposit will be refunded only when the housemaid leaves the country.

In the past, the deposit of Dh5,000 was refunded upon completion of the medical fitness test and stamping of the employment visa on the housemaid's passport.

The "stamping fee", a non-refundable visa fee of Dh5,200 expatriates pay annually to sponsor a housemaid, remains.

Following changes in the rules, expatriates applying for a housemaid must also present a tenancy contract that shows they stay in a two-bedroom unit.

Burden eased

Nehal Ahmad, General Manager of Darwish Shakeel typing centre, said the number of applications for nannies has "stabilised", adding that the move may encourage expatriates to hire nannies.

"Whether it's Dh2,000 or Dh10,000, expat families who have a need for a housemaid will pay the deposit. But this [reduction] may ease their burden a little bit," he said.