Sri Lanka and the Philippines are two countries which have been key providers of maids to households in the UAE and across the Middle East.
However, that is likely to change going forward with both countries raising the minimum wages for hiring maids and increasing procedural paperwork and controls. Gulf households are likely to balk with the new measures and high wages.
Both Sri Lanka and the Philippines - along with Gulf countries - have been working to ensure that if a housemaid does come in from Sri Lanka or the Philippines the minimum wage scale and other conditions are met.
Sri Lanka Consul General in Dubai M M Abdul Raheem told Emirates 24|7 that it will strictly implement minimum wages for unskilled labour working abroad.
According to him, the Sri Lankan government is trying to discourage women from working abroad as housemaids. ‘There are ample opportunities available there within the country. Almost 40 per cent of Sri Lankan expatriates in the UAE are unskilled employees. We want to bring this number down,” he said.
The Sri Lankan Consul General also said that the government had fixed Dh825 as minimum wages payable to maids and unskilled employees. “We are also adequately training aspiring housemaids in Arabic and English languages,” he added.
According to him, about 1,000 Sri Lankan nationals were issued with emergency certificates during the amnesty period in the UAE.
“Sri Lanka today is a very stable and peaceful country. Foreigners can invest in the country. Economic development is progressing at a very fast pace. There are new developments of airport and seaports. The government is trying to position Sri Lanka as a commercial hub in South Asia,” he added.
The relationship with the UAE he said has been improving significantly over the years. “UAE is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner among the Arab countries. UAE is also the largest investor in Sri Lanka from among the Arab countries. Large number of tourists from the UAE continue to visit Sri Lanka regularly,” he added.