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05 June 2023

What To Do When: Your housemaid in Dubai has absconded

By Mohammed Al Sadafy

Have you ever had to face a situation when your housemaid has absconded?

Have you ever thought of hiring a maid to do your housework without sponsoring her or checking her passport status?

Have you ever wondered if you are likely to face legal trouble if you hire an absconding housemaid?

Are you likely to be levied a hefty fine if your maid who has absconded, is caught working illegally?

Have you ever thought about why hiring an absconding maid is not a good idea?

Answering these questions exclusively for Emirates 24|7 readers is Judge Ali Humaid bin Khatam, Head of the Dubai Public Prosecution of Naturalization and Residency Department.

Should one hire absconding housemaids?

That’s a strict no-no. Hiring absconding housemaids is a legal offence in the UAE. A maid is allowed to work in a house only if the owner of the house sponsors her presence in the UAE.

How hefty is the fine?

If the UAE residents (locals and expats) are caught hiring illegal housemaids, they will be made to pay a hefty fine of Dh50,000.

In fact, not only will the employer of the illegal housemaid be levied a fine, but the maid’s actual sponsor could also land in the dock.

The reason behind hefty fine…

The stiff penalty is due to the costs attached with running the entire operation, tracking and arresting the absconding maids. There is also the added cost of treating the housemaids where they contract serious illnesses.

When maids escape, they cause enormous financial loss to the sponsor as the maid is entirely a sponsor’s responsibility once she joins her employer.

Emirati sponsors have to bear about Dh6,000 in terms of fees and expat sponsors have to pay up about Dh12,000 in fees.

What to do once a maid absconds?

Once a maid absconds, the sponsor has to file a complaint with the Department of Residency and Foreigners' Affairs. If the sponsor fails to do so, he could end up paying Dh50,000 in fine or face legal action – once the maid gets caught working illegally in the UAE.

Sponsors of absconding maids can also file their complaint by calling on 800 5111.

What happens when an absconded maid gets caught?

Absconding housemaids once caught by the authorities are not only deported from the UAE but nowadays the amended law dictates that they be subjected to interrogation so they can reveal the names and addresses of the people who hired them after they ran away from their sponsors.

The housemaids are interrogated primarily with the aim of tracking those who hire housemaids despite knowing that these workers have fled from their sponsors. It is also done to take the original sponsor to task for not reporting that their housemaid had gone missing.

Why are so many maids absconding?

An increasing number of housemaids are found escaping their sponsors in a bid to raise their income. In most cases, absconded maids work on an hourly-basis and earn much more than they ever did when they worked for a sponsor for a fixed and limited salary.

Can housemaids be allowed to work for sponsors’ friends?

Judge Bin Khatam warns Emiratis against sponsoring housemaids and then allowing them to work for friends and neighbours.

He said that about 10 such cases that had come up in court recently. He added that the court fined every sponsor and the residents Dh50,000 each.

In another interesting case, the court fined an Emirati Dh50,000 after he was found to have recruited a housemaid without sponsoring her. The incident came to light when the family went on a holiday and the maid took advantage of their absence and stole precious watches worth about Dh2 million and ran away.

And finally...

Why not to hire absconding maids?

Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, Deputy Director of CID at Dubai Police spoke to Emirates 24|7 on the reasons why not hiring absconding maids is a safer option.

In fact, he warns people against violating the law and hiring absconding maids. Colonel Jallaf believes that such maids have negative influence on health and safety of the family and the community.

- Criminal activity…

According to the CID of Dubai Police, the numbers available on crime committed by maids indicate that 1,686 incidents of crime were carried out during the past three years, while 272 such cases were recorded during the first half of 2011.

Meanwhile, the statistics showed that the number of cases where servants were involved in criminal activity during the first half of 2011 included 18 thefts, while total thefts committed by servants in 2010 were 48.

- Crime against children

Police investigations have revealed that half the crimes committed by women in Dubai involve maids and some of those crimes are directed against the family they were working with and they especially target the children.

Maids working without proper visas and for people other than their sponsors often allow strangers to enter the employers’ homes without the knowledge of the homeowners; they indulge in illicit relationship with strangers which lead to pregnancy. Some of them are even known to abuse the employers’ children.