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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

UAE's new recruitment fees 'to offer domestic workers more protection'

Announcement of new fees will stop exploitation says leading lawyer

As they play such an important role in the home and family, a new initiative aims to ensure domestic workers get the safety training they need in case they are confronted with an emergency. Pawan Singh / The National
As they play such an important role in the home and family, a new initiative aims to ensure domestic workers get the safety training they need in case they are confronted with an emergency. Pawan Singh / The National

Domestic workers will have more protection in the UAE after the introduction of new recruitment fees, according to the head of legal aid at the Philippine Embassy and Consulate.

The fees, which were announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on Tuesday, will be made available in four packages from 11 Tadbeer centres.

Khalil Khouri, assistant under-secretary for assistive employment affairs, said the fees are part of the ministry’s desire to “provide packages at reasonable rates for the recruitment of domestic workers”.

Barney Almazar, director at Gulf Law and head of legal aid at the Philippine Embassy, said that while the new fees will be higher than they currently are, this should not be considered negatively as it will enshrine the rights of domestic workers.

“Migrant workers can be more confident that their rights will be protected. Sadly, a lot of the victims of illegal recruitment are domestic helpers,” said Mr Almazar.

“We should put a premium on ensuring that our workers are safe and accorded the rights and benefits they deserve.”

He said the fees will help to enable domestic workers to perform their jobs while being culturally sensitive, especially in a household different from what they were used to in their own countries.

Another key aspect of the fees, said Mr Almazar, is the availability of different options including more flexible hourly and daily rates.

“This will address the illegal practice of part-time maids who are the most vulnerable to abuse,” he said.

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“Currently, unscrupulous employers know that the part-time maids cannot fight back to claim what is owed to them because of their illegal status.”

The first package relates to the recruitment of domestic workers from outside the country.

The maximum recruitment fee for this package is Dh14,000 for Filipino workers, Dh15,000 for Indonesian and Sri Lankan workers, Dh5,000 for Ethiopian workers, Dh6,500 for Kenyan and Ugandan workers, Dh2,000 for Indian workers, Dh7,000 for Bangladeshi workers and Dh14,500 for Nepalese workers.

This excludes the fee for entry visas, accommodation and medical check-ups.

The second package relates to hiring domestic workers who are registered for a contractual period of six months. After the end of this period, they will be allowed to work as resident workers for their employers or host families.

The workers must also pay a moving fee after the end of their contract, which is Dh8,000 for Filipino workers while Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers will pay Dh4,500. Ethiopian, Kenyan and Ugandan workers will pay Dh3,500 and Indian and Nepalese workers will pay Dh6,000.

The third package involves the temporary recruitment of domestic workers for a two-year period. They will not be allowed to work as resident workers for their employers or families after the set period, and the maximum monthly fee for this package is Dh2,500 for Filipino and Indonesian workers, Dh2,300 for Sri Lankan, Ethiopian and Ugandan workers, and Dh2,250 for Kenyan, Indian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese workers.

The fourth package includes flexible system for employers, who can hire works based on their requirements, whether hourly, daily or weekly. The cost of workers from all nationalities are Dh120 for four hours daily, Dh200 for eight hours daily, Dh1,120 for seven days, Dh3,500 for 30 days, Dh3,250 monthly for six months and Dh3,000 monthly for 12 months.