Demand for housemaids soars as summer arrives

Demand for maids and house helps in Dubai is surging and expected to soar even higher in the coming months as children will be off school starting end-June.

Many parents in the country have started looking for maids/nannies to take care of their kids during the long summer break.

Maid agencies have confirmed they need prior booking to organise a house help in time for their clients as many working parents will be looking to hire babysitters and maids to be with kids at home.

Nannies Dubai, a UAE-based agency, advises clients to book a maid in advance to avoid disappointment. “We do have maids available, but we advise to book early so that you have enough time to choose the person you think is best for your family,” said an executive at the agency.

Similarly, The Maids Agency, another consultancy specialising in house help placements, says they need a minimum of 10 days to get a maid for the client. “We need prior booking as we may not have anybody the day you need it,” said the receptionist attending customer calls. 

Desperate parents are considering hiring a full-time help to ensure that their children are under adult supervision when they are at work.

“These months are really hard as schools and nurseries are closed. There are many summer camps but they are not on for the entire school holidays, with very few options for the little ones,” complained a hapless parent, already scouting for housemaids. “Besides, most of the summer camps are very expensive,” she said.

Hiring a full-time help is a much easier and organised process in the UAE as compared with many other developed countries, but many residents say they hire live-in maid not because they want to be pampered, but to work out the logistics as both parents work in many households.

In fact, a majority of parents in the UAE believe hiring a full-time maid would not be a necessity if nurseries/day care centres worked longer hours and during the long holidays that schools remain closed.

An online poll run by Emirates 24|7 reveals that a majority (52 per cent) of the respondents said that they would not hire full-time maids if nurseries would give them the option of keeping their little ones for long hours while they are at work.

“I would prefer to leave my two-year old in the nursery until 6pm when I finish work,” said an Indian national working in Dubai Media City. “But it’s open only until 2pm. I pick up my kid, go and drop him home and then come back to work, making it a tiring exercise for me every day. That is the only reason I need a house help at home even when he sleeps the entire afternoon,” she said.

A large percentage of expat parents, who are in the country without any family support, hire housemaids to look after their kids. “The house can be cleaned by part-time cleaners hired from agencies, who come for a few hours,” said a respondent. “Nobody needs a full time maid for that,” he said.

Another 24 per cent are not very keen to keep a full-time housemaid but since schools have so many holidays, they have no other option but to hire them.

“We have limited number of holidays but schools are closed for something or the other every other week. What do we do in that case? We need somebody at home since kids can’t be left alone,” said another respondent.

On the other hand, a similar number of people (24 per cent) believe that full-time housemaids can be hired even if the entire family is out of the house for long hours. “They can do the housework even if the kids are out,” they opted to say.

To hire a full-time maid in the UAE, the employer (sponsor) needs to pay Dh5,000 a year as visa fees, plus agency fee (which varies between Dh3,000 and Dh12,000), in addition to medical test, health insurance charges, and Emirates ID fees.

The minimum monthly salaries are set by countries, which provide maids but it ultimately depends on individuals and, sometimes, their nationality.

 “Every situation is different but we recommend the following as a minimum salary for live-in nannies – Africans from Dh1,500 per month, Sri Lankans from Dh1,600 per month, Filipinas from Dh1,700 per month. Live-out nanny from Dh2,000 per month, part-time babysitting is Dh30 per hour and the agency registration fee is Dh3,000,” said Nannies Dubai in an e-mailed response to this website.

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