x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Changes planned for UAE domestic workers

A series of significant changes are on the way affecting expatriate workers, particularly domestic staff, from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines.

ABU DHABI // A series of significant changes are on the way affecting Asian expatriate workers, particularly domestic workers.

Women from Nepal will be able to work legally as housemaids and nannies in the UAE and other Gulf countries after officials lifted a decade-old ban and pledged to protect their labour rights.

In Indonesia, there are proposals to recommend a reduction in the number of maids heading to the Emirates in favour of skilled and professional workers, although the nation will not ban workers from the UAE, as one Indonesian state did for Saudi Arabia last week.



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And Filipino officials are confident that UAE authorities will help them to speed up repatriations for maids who have fled from employers' homes, after a meeting between the two sides to try to reduce numbers in a makeshift shelter.

Minimum wages, reasonable working hours and medical insurance are among the standards that officials at the Nepalese Embassy in Abu Dhabi said they would work towards in the coming months.

Employers would then have to comply with rules put in place by Nepal, said Dipak Adhikari, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy.

About 2,000 Nepalese women are thought to be working illegally in the UAE, having entered through neighbouring countries.

Nepal banned women from working in Gulf countries in 2000 after a series of complaints including abuse, long hours and unpaid wages.