The cost of hiring a full-time maid in the UAE has reached an all-time high even as salaries of many employees in the private sector have remained unchanged.
Maid services in the country have literally doubled their service charges for providing full-time maids to UAE households in a clear sign that demand is now outpacing supply.
The Abu Dhabi-based Al Saweed Employment Services, for one, has doubled its service charge to provide a maid to individuals for household work. In 2008, the one-time service charge was Dh2,000. Now, this has been increased 100 per cent and currently the agency is charging Dh4,000 as per an executive working in the agency.
That isn’t all. Even the salaries of the maids have shot up. In 2008, Filipino maids being provided by the same agency charged Dh1,900 per month while they now charge Dh2,400.
“Our charges have increased and there is a waiting list of one month. You may get a maid in October,” said an executive when contacted by Emirates 24|7. The maids remain on the employment visa provided by the agency.
Another Dubai-based maid agency, Hiba, has also increased its commission to provide maids. “Our service charge is Dh6,500,” said an assistant in the agency. “Yes, we’ve increased our commission. Last year, it was Dh4,000,” she added when asked if they had increased their charges.
In sync with agencies, individual maids scouting for work in Dubai have also increased their charges. Sri Lankan maids, who earlier asked Dh600 per month (excluding the visa fee which was provided by the employer), have more than doubled their charges.
“I charge Dh2,000 per month with accommodation and food. I don’t need a visa as my husband has sponsored me,” said a Sri Lankan maid who had posted a job advertisement on one of the websites in Dubai.
The same salary was quoted by many others from the same country. Maids coming illegally from Nepal have also nearly doubled their charges from what they used to take home two years back.
All this means added financial burden on people who have not received any hikes in salaries or bonuses. “I have two children and I need help at home. My maid charges Dh2,500 for five hours daily. In this time, she cleans the house and then takes care of the children so that I can rest. She’s expensive, but she’s good with the kids,” said a German national living in The Springs area in Dubai.
“My old maid left after completing her tenure in Dubai. Now, when I call up agencies to get another one, I realise all of them have increased their placement charges and the salaries of the maids. Since I lost my job last year, I’m still thinking of whether I should get one on the current charges,” said an Indian mother living in the same area.
However, agencies that provide maids on an hourly basis have more or less maintained their rates compared to what they charged two years back. There are agencies in the city that provide maids at Dh25 per hour, a going rate in 2008. As agencies have not hiked the hourly rates, individual maids are also charging the same amount.
“Maids coming on an hourly basis suit me as I’m single and working. I can just call them once a week but I’m sure this must be an expensive option for those with family and kids as calling them daily can cost quite a bit,” said a resident in the Greens working in an international consultancy in Dubai.