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Dubai: Whether you are a working parent, a stay-at-home mum or dad or an entrepreneur, the UAE's lifestyle can be exhausting. The work hours are long, commute can be long too because of peak hour traffic and most houses have a nuclear family set up. In such situations, getting help at home, whether through a maid to look after your household chores or a nanny to provide childcare services, can make a world of difference. However, there are strict regulations governing the hiring of domestic workers in the UAE. It is important to know the dos and don’ts in such relationships as well as your rights and the rights of the domstic worker.

So, if you are on the hunt for that perfect family support staff, here is how you can start the process.

Before you begin, ask yourself exactly what you are looking for. It is helpful to ask the following questions:

  • Do I need a part-time or a full-time maid/nanny?
  • If full-time, do I want her to live with me or outside?
  • Do I need to sponsor her or can I get her sponsored through an agency?

Once you have answered these questions, the next steps become easier.

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Part-time maid or nanny

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If you want a part-time help, you need to get in touch with the many maid services in the UAE. This can be an expensive option, with many maid services charging Dh100-150 for four hours of service but it is a great option to consider if you only need help at home occasionally. The charges can be higher if you want the maid to bring her own supplies.

There are no documents or registration required if you choose to hire part-time maids from registered companies as the companies manage their workers' employment processes. 

However, it is important to only deal with legitimate businesses and steer clear of any agents who promise part-time househelp without being registered with the relevant local authorities.

To verify that the company you are dealing with is registered with the economic department, you can search for the company on the Abu Dhabi Economic department website here and the Dubai Economic Department website here.

Full-time maid or nanny

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Before you know the processes and options available to you as a UAE resident to get a maid or nanny, it is important to know about the agencies and ministry that oversees the hiring and regulation of domestic workers in the UAE.

What is Tadbeer?

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Tadbeer service centers are licensed by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE). The centers provide integrated services to recruit and employ domestic workers. The centers are available across the UAE and offer various options for families. Whether you want Tadbeer to provide a maid, with all the government paperwork taken care of by the centre, or you already have someone in mind who you would like to sponsor, Tadbeer provides various packages based on your needs.

You can visit any of their centres in the UAE, a list is provided here.

However, these centres are not iterconnected, which means that if you wish to apply for your maid or nanny's visa through Tadbeer, you will need to contact a specific centre to find out what their requirements, fees and processes are. These can vary as Tadbeer has collaborated with other companies that operate the individual centres. So, the packages and offers you get at one centre may not necessarily be the same as another centre.

Live-in or live-out?

If you want a full-time house help or nanny, do you want to have her living at your home or outside? The two options are referred to as ‘live-in’ or ‘live-out’. Whichever option makes more sense to you and your family, you will then have several ways of selecting the right person:

  1. Visit a Tadbeer centre to meet with the maids they have.
  2. Register with an online database of maids looking for work in the UAE and contact them on your own.
  3. Meet someone through a personal reference.
  4. Contact an agency in your home country.

Once you have met the right candidate, the next step is getting the necessary paperwork in place, so that they are a legal worker in the country. If you want to get the maid or nanny on your own visa, you have two options –

  1. Apply for the visa through a typing centre or at a GDRFA centre or
  2. Apply through a Tadbeer centre

Process to bring a maid or nanny on your own sponsorship

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1. If you wish to sponsor a maid on your visa, you need to take the following documents to a typing centre:

a. Tenancy contract for a two bedroom apartment, with maid's room or a three bedroom apartment. Requirements can change, so speak to your typing centre to find out what the minimum requirements are.

b. Salary certificate, showing a minimum salary of Dh25,000.

c. Marriage certificate

d. Passport and visa copy

e. Original emirate ID

f. Maid passport copy maid photo

g. If the maid or nanny is a national of the same country, you need to get a certificate from the country’s consulate proving you are not related.

If the maid is not in the country, she will require an entry permit to enter the country. This can incur additional costs. Once she is in the country, you need to apply for the medical fitness test, health insurance and Emirates ID processes. The total cost can range from Dh7,000-Dh10,0000, depending on the company you are dealing with.

The visa is valid for one year.

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2. In the UAE, Tadbeer is authorised by MOHRE to deal with domestic worker visas. If you wish to get a maid or nanny from Tadbeer, you can do that through their Tadbeer two-year visa service. However, as mentioned earlier, you will need to contact a specific centre to find out what their requirements, fees and processes are. However, there are some aspects and payments that you will need to pay regardless of which centre you approach:

a. the visa processing fees (some centres do not include medical insurance in this amount, so always make sure you check which services are covered)

b. the maid's monthly salary

c. monthly service charges for Tadbeer

d. return ticket every two years.

You can either get the maid under your sponsorship, or she can be under Tadbeer's sponsorship, with a contract between you and Tadbeer that the worker will only work for your household.

Under your sponsorship, you have the ability to set the salary that suits you and the house help. However, each country has independent regulations regarding minimum salary and other criteria such as age. These will be provided by the typing centres or Tadbeer centres.

Single males are not allowed to sponsor maids.

If you do not have a maid or nanny that you already know of, you can approach Tadbeer centres and meet with the candidates they have. This can be a more expensive option but comes with several guarantees. There is no downpayment requried and families need to visit a Tadbeer office with their passport and visa copy and Emirates ID. Once you meet a maid that you like, you simply need to provide post-dated cheques for 24 months, for the two years the maid will be with you.

If you are not satisfied with the maid, the agency allows for a change of four maids in the span of two years.

Families are required to provide food and accomodation to the maid, while Tadbeer manages their salary payment, medical testing and insurance costs, Emirates ID and air ticket costs.

What are their rights?

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As per UAE law, domestic workers are entitled to the following:

  1. payment of wages, as set out in the standard contract, within 10 days from the day they are due
  2. one day of paid rest per week
  3. 12 hours of rest per day, including 8 hours consecutive rest
  4. 30 days paid vacation per year
  5. medical insurance provided by the employer
  6. 30 days medical leave per year
  7. a round trip ticket home every 2 years
  8. a decent accommodation
  9. decent meals at the employer’s expense
  10. attire suitable for the job to be carried out, at the employer’s expense
  11. possession of their personal identification papers such as passports, IDs, etc.
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What not to do...

Whether you are looking for a part-time or a full-time house maid, make sure you deal with registered companies, who send maids on an hour-based system.

Residents hiring illegal housemaids are fined up to Dh50,000 as per the UAE law which stipulates that maids should be sponsored by them or by recruiters. Depending on the case, offenders not only face fines but also deportation.