Finding the perfect help

Finding the perfect help

One of the big advantages of moving to Dubai is that you may no longer have to do your own cleaning and ironing.  The only thing you need to get right is your recruitment and training, but once that is out of the way you will gain free time to spend enjoying the Dubai lifestyle.

So how do you go about it?

Employing a full time maid/nanny
There are only a few nationalities allowed to work as home help or as the visa status qualifies them “servant”:  they are Filipino, Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Ethiopian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese.  You can either recruit ladies who are already in the UAE or you can hire someone from their home country and take care of their immigration.  Either way the search will be time consuming.  You can go through a recruitment agency that will screen candidates for you and arrange interviews, or do it yourself by posting a classified ad online.   If you choose this route, prepare to be inundated with phone calls from enquiring parties, many of whom probably didn't bother to read through your ad and probably do not match your requirements – you can’t blame them for taking a chance!

Once you've made a shortlist of applicants, make sure you take your time at interview to cover all the points of importance to you: experience, love of children, acceptance of pets, working hours, expected tasks, cleaning preferences, laundry system, day off, salary, etc.  If you set things straight from the start you should not have any bad surprises along the way.  It is like any working relationship – you need to set out the job description and your expectations.

Once you have found that perfect help, you need to arrange their visa – you will be the sponsor of your helper and put them on your visa. Usually your company PRO can assist you with this, or an agency PRO.  If you have a lot of time and patience you could also do it yourself – it will require a few trips back and forth to the immigration department and a lot of waiting, but it is doable!  Prepare to spend around Aed 8000 for the process (aed 2000 refundable deposit, aed 5000 for the visa itself, aed 350 for the medical test and around aed 500 in miscellaneous additional expenses).  The visa is valid for one year, as is the labour ministry contract that you will need to sign.

The law stipulates minimum salaries to protect domestic helpers.  These are currently:

-Filipino nationals Aed 1400
-Indian nationals Aed 1100
-Sri Lankan nationals Aed 825
-Indonesian nationals Aed 800
-Bangladeshi nationals Aed 725

Part Time Maids in the UAE
You have two options to be able to hire someone part-time and legally. I stress this because employing house help outside of these two options is dangerous, illegal and liable to a 50,000 dirham fine, as well as exposing yourself to other risks. So, the options are:

1. You hire a maid from a cleaning agency:
They charge 25-35 dirhams an hour, for a minimum of 4 hours in a row, and can provide you the same maid every day if you so request. Some maids have experience caring for children and can be very good. Just google 'maid agency Dubai' – you should find some choices.

2. You hire a maid yourself:
You can take on a live out maid, for part time purposes only, but put her on your visa. She is therefore sponsored by you and can legally work for you. She can arrange her own accommodation and transport to and from work and should be flexible as to hours and even evening babysitting.  Cost here is fixed and agreed upon in the labour contract, and The Perfect Help can happily do the search for you.  For live out maids expect to pay up to Aed 700 for accommodation and Aed 300 for transport if a car share is needed.

Training your Maid
In all likelihood you will need to train your maid to your way of doing things. This is a normal process as your household is new to her.  Take the time during her first week to explain how you like things done, and to gently correct her when she has not met your expectations.  You may even want to prepare a task list for her to tick off every day.  If you can, send her on pertinent trainings such as housekeeping, first aid or even cooking – professionals can even teach your maid in her mother tongue making sure nothing is “lost in translation”.

Added benefits
The labour contract you sign with your maid requires that you give one day off a week and one month paid holiday at the end of one year.  Most employees will prefer to have Friday off but you can negotiate another day so long as you mention this from the start.  You will also be expected to provide accommodation in a separate room, food and health cover.

by Deborah Jossa

About Deborah
Deborah started her career in management in financial services and soon after began working in luxury retail.  She is co-founder and owner of The Perfect Help and focuses on training and development.  It is her ambition to offer the best service to families throughout Dubai by providing top quality staff and training.  Deborah has two children and enjoys practicing yoga.

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