Dubai: A group of hairdressers and beauticians working for different beauty salons claim they are maltreated by their sponsors.
Salon owners allegedly force hairdressers, who are mostly women, to work long hours daily without rest.
Some of them are even forced to double as cleaners.
"We have to clean the place in addition to our working for long hours every day," said Amelia, a Filipina who works in a beauty salon in Ajman.
Amelia said hairdressers usually sleep inside the salon itself.
"We cannot complain. The Ministry of Labour inspectors come to our salon to inspect our labour cards only. They do not care about anything else," she claimed.
Maliha, from India, who also works for a beauty salon, said she could not lodge a complaint before the ministry as her sponsor threatens to have her deported and banned for life from entering the country.
"We are helpless as the sponsors can deport us. One of my friends who tried to file a complaint at the ministry was deported and given a life ban," she said.
She said they receive a monthly salary of only Dh1,200.
"The sponsor deducts Dh200 per month for the cost of our visas," she said.
H.K., who works for a beauty salon in Al Hamriya area in Dubai, also said she is maltreated by her sponsor.
"I work for 10 to 11 hours a day without stopping," she said.
She said she has been working for more than a year in the salon.
"I work very hard. I cannot tolerate the work any more. I clean and I do a lot of work," she said.
"I am paid only Dh1,500 and most of it I pay for transportation. I live in my sister's house," she said.
She said she has asked her sponsor to release her and allow her go back to her home country but the sponsor demanded that she pay her Dh7,000 to cover the cost of her visa.
"She said I have to pay the cost of the visa and she will also give me a life ban. I came to work to support my family and I need to work," she said.
She said she has filed a complaint before the Ministry of Labour.
"I was asked to inform my sponsor about the complaint," H.K. said.
She claimed that ministry's officials refused to inform her sponsor about the complaint and allegedly even told her to relay the information herself.
Other beauticians said that at the end of the working day their sponsor takes them to her house where they are made to clean and prepare food.
"We are paid very little money. We are educated and we came to work as hairdressers not maids," they said.
During the Eid holiday and weekends when many customers come to the salon, hairdressers are forced to work more than 12 hours without overtime pay.
"We pay rent, eat and use part of the money for our transportation. We barely survive," said Khadeeja who works for a salon in Dubai.
The workers said the Ministry of Labour should set rules and regulations for beauty salons in relation to working hours, salary and the nature of the job.
"The ministry should not only inspect the labour cards but also must check our situation. The sponsors must not be given the right to give a life ban without justification," said Khadeeja.
Gulf News tried to get a statement from the labour ministry but officials refused to comment.