The Philippines has set tough terms for sending domestic workers to the UAE as is the case in Saudi Arabia, stipulating its maids must be paid not less than $400 a month and must have at least eight hours break every day.
The Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi conveyed its government’s terms to private labour recruitment agents in the UAE during a recent meeting in the capital, warning that any agent violating those terms would be put on the blacklist.
Reacting to such a decision, UAE authorities said they would not accept such terms and stressed that domestic workers from any country must be recruited in accordance with the official work contract enforced by the UAE government.
Quoted participants in that meeting, the Arabic language daily Emirat Alyoum said the Philippine embassy told them they must abide by the new regulations or they would be boycotted and banned from handling domestic workers from the Philippines.
“The embassy set the minimum wage for a Philippine maid at $400 (Dh1,470) a month and told labour recruitment agents in the UAE that any office which does not comply with these rules would be completely boycotted,” the paper said.
It said the embassy asked those agents to notify it once a Philippine maid arrives in the UAE to take up a job so it will hand her the necessary documents.
“The embassy also stressed that employers must provide a separate room for the maid and that she must have a daily break of at least eight hours.
"It also stressed that the maid should not be assigned any work outside her employer’s residence which is listed in the job contract and that the employer must allow her to contact the embassy or her family at home at any time,” the paper said.
Other conditions include that employers are not allowed to renew the maid’s contract or transfer her sponsorship to any other employer without a prior consent by the embassy.
“Sponsors violating those terms will be subject to penalties defined in the laws governing the hiring of Philippine domestic workers,” it said. “In case they refuse to pay her the salary set in the new contract, the maid will be deported to her country.”
According to Emirat Alyoum, the maid must be aged between 18 and 23 years and any company violating that limit would be blacklisted.
“Any agreement signed by a foreign embassy in the UAE is not legal,” the paper said, quoting Major General Nassir al Minhali, UAE interior ministry assistant undersecretary for naturalization and residence affairs.
“The ministry of interior has a unified job contract for domestic workers coming to the UAE with well defined terms and duties. It guarantees the rights of the employers and the employees…we have not set any wage for domestic workers and any otherwise agreement will not be binding for any one.”
The Philippines, one of the largest domestic workers suppliers to the oil-rich Gulf, has been locked in negotiations with Saudi Arabia to enforce similar terms for its maids working in the Gulf Kingdom. The negotiations followed a decision by Manila to halt the travel of its domestic workers to Saudi Arabia two years ago.