ABU DHABI // Nepal has banned women under 30 from working as housemaids in Arabian Gulf countries, its embassy said.
Reports of a ban had emerged earlier and the Nepalese Embassy in Abu Dhabi confirmed yesterday that it had received official notice from its government.
After introducing tougher rules for the recruitment of maids, Nepal lifted its total ban on workers going to the Arabian Gulf in June last year. The new regulations are intended to keep young women safe.
Dipak Adhikari, the deputy chief of the mission, told The National: "The embassy received the official communique and already stopped certifying documents of those maids who are below 30 years of age."
Nepalese maids who already live and work in the UAE can continue working, he said, but no new applications for those under the age of 30 will be approved.
He cautioned employers and sponsors to recruit housemaids through legal channels.
"Any sponsor who employees them through unscrupulous agents might face problems in future as embassy will not certify their documents," Mr Adhikari said.
He said the embassy currently receives four to five requests per day for housemaids.
"The decision is good for sponsors, too, because these women would be very experienced and they would know better how to take care of children," Mr Adhikari said.
In the past, the embassy has fielded complaints that the maids "did not know how to take care of kids", he said. "Women who crossed 30 years of age, they would have good tolerance towards kids."
UAE residents who wish to employ a Nepalese maid must apply through the embassy and submit the appropriate documents, including marriage certificates and salary certificates. A refundable security deposit of Dh5,000 is required, and wages are fixed at Dh900 per month, in addition to room and board.
The embassy estimates that there are about 160,000 Nepalese workers in the UAE, with about 60 per cent of the total in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. In 2008 there were 125,000.