Dubai: Unlike in most countries where hiring and dismissing housemaids can be done with relative ease, getting and letting go of maids in the UAE involves a hefty sum and some paperwork. But what happens if the maid absconds? The sponsor should report to authorities right away or within seven days of the maid going missing. From 2012 to the first quarter of 2015, a total of 3,747 domestic workers, including housemaids, nannies, and private drivers, absconded in Dubai, Dubai Police figures show. Of these, around 70 per cent or 2,618 were maids.

According to Amer service, here’s what you can do if your maid absconds and if the visa was issued in Dubai:

1) Go to any Tasheel Centre and get the electronic abscond application form.

2) You can do this also at any branch of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. In the Jafliya branch, proceed to Section 15 — Investigation and Follow-Up Section.

3) Here are the documents you’ll need: maid’s original passport (to be surrendered), original domestic ID, domestic contract. If you don’t have the original, present copies instead. For the sponsor, bring your emirates ID and a copy of your passport and visa.

4) Pay Dh330 at the immigration. If the maid is still in the country, the sponsor will be required to deposit the value of a one-way ticket to the maid’s home country.

5) If you don’t have your maid’s original passport, request for a personal file printout from the immigration for Dh120 to ascertain if he or she is still in the country.

A representative from the Amer service said reporting absconding cases is a one-day procedure.

Please note that maids who committed crimes such as theft before absconding have to be reported to the police first. Only after that can you report to the immigration.

In 2014, Dubai Police said some 528 domestic workers were reported to have committed crimes in Dubai. Some 155 broke residency laws, 120 were caught working under a different sponsor, 99 had honour-related crimes, 66 were found to have committed embezzlement, 47 committed theft, 18 were involved in assault cases, while 23 were accused of trespassing into private property.

— With inputs from Noorhan Barakat, Staff Reporter