Dubai: People in Dubai were encouraged to report their absconding maids to the authorities as they can be rewarded with Dh10,000 of compensation if the maid is found to be working for a different employer, an official said.
Senior Prosecutor Faysal Abdelmalik Mustafa Ahli, from Dubai Public Prosecution for Naturalisation and Residency Department, said that many people neglect to report their absconding domestic workers to the authorities. They don’t know that they can retrieve some of their expenses on the maid if the report the absconding worker to the authorities. “Many sponsors, especially Emiratis, don’t know that they can get back some money if they report their absconding maid. They can get Dh10,000 if the maid is caught working for a different sponsor,” Prosecutor Ahli said. According to Dubai Public Prosecution, the Dh10,000 compensation is part of the Dh50,000 fine that is collected from anyone caught hiring illegal housemaids.
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“If the sponsor fails to report his or her absconded maid or domestic worker, then they could end up paying Dh50,000 in fine too.” Dubai Public Prosecution’s initiative called ‘Compensate me’ aims to encourage sponsors to report their absconding workers and reduce their losses.
“Many people who reported their absconding workers were surprised when we call them after catching the worker, asking them to come and collect Dh10,000 from prosecution,” Prosecutor Ahli said during a virtual session organised between Dubai Public Prosecution and Community Development Authority.Prosecutor Ahli, said that sponsors have ten days to report their absconding workers to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. Sponsors of absconding maids can also file their complaint by calling 8005111.
Ahli criticised sponsors for neglecting their part of the responsibility and ignoring reporting their absconding workers. “Some people either neglect or forget to report runaway maids. Some depend on the maids’ recruitment office to report the absconding maid to the authority,” Prosecutor Ahli added. He called upon the people to cancel the residency of absconding workers and report them to the authority to avoid legal consequences.
“If a sponsor returns the worker to the recruitment office then he needs to follow up on what happens to the worker. If the maid is with another family, then the first sponsor needs to cancel the sponsorship and change the status in keeping with the new sponsor. Otherwise, the first sponsor will be fined Dh50,000,” Ahli clarified. He further said that some sponsors refuse to cancel the sponsorship for the worker even if they know that he or she is with another family. “If the sponsor doesn’t cooperate to cancel the sponsorship, then the second sponsor should inform immigration, which has the power to change the worker’s status.”
Prosecutor Ahli said that an Emirati had once opened a business and sponsored two workers, who were later caught working for a different sponsor. The first sponsor was fined Dh100,000 for not changing the status of sponsorship of the workers. “He was counting on an Indian manager to run the business, but the latter did not cancel the sponsorship of the two workers who had gone on to work at a different place. Many Emiratis make such mistakes,” said prosecutor Ahli.
In a another incident, a family had brought in a housemaid under their sponsorship through a recruitment office, but they returned her to the office. The housemaid worked then worked with a different family for two years, while she was still under the sponsorship of the first family. Both the families had ignored the need to change and update the sponsorship statuses of the workers and were fined Dh50,000 each.
What happens when an absconding maid gets caught?
Absconding housemaids once caught by the authorities are not only deported from the UAE, but are also subjected to interrogation so they can reveal the names and addresses of the people who had hired them after they ran away from their original sponsors.
The housemaids are interrogated primarily with the aim of tracking those who hire housemaids despite knowing that these workers have fled from their sponsors. It is also done to take the original sponsor to task for not reporting that their housemaid had gone missing.