Domestic Workers Bear Brunt of Credit Crunch

DUBAI - The global financial crunch is taking its toll on maids as well in the UAE, prompting some of them to settle for lower wages.


Asma Ali Zain

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 20 Jan 2009, 1:45 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:38 AM

Several maids claim that they are out of full-time jobs since the families they have been working for, are reluctant to continue paying the same salaries due to budget constraints.

Others say that several families are considering to pack up and leave for their home countries due to the job cuts. “I am worried I would lose my job any time, since the family I work for is planning to return to India,” said Maria, a Filipina working for a family for the last two years.

Maria, who earns Dh1,200 per month, says she is prepared to work for less and for longer hours while seeking another job.“I am sure to find another job soon, but I will probably have to accept a lower salary,” says Maria, adding that she is not prepared to go back to the Philippines.

Salma, an Indonesian domestic help, expressed similar sentiments. “I was being paid Dh1,500 by a Syrian family for working from morning till evening. But in December last year, the head of the family lost his job in a real estate company and they left for Syria.

“Although I still have a part-time job and live with my friends in a single room, I prefer to work full time for another family,” she says. The UAE’s call for amnesty in 2007 forced several illegal workers, including domestic workers, to leave the country after the government warned of strict action against them, including jail term and deportation.

The few blue-collared workers, who decided to remain in the UAE, doubled their fees, capitalising on the shortage of employees.

On the other hand, some families feel that reducing the working hours for maids would help them balance the otherwise tight budget. “I am not sure of my husband’s job at present. There have been several redundancies at his Dubai-based company, so I thought we should be prepared for any consequences,” says Tina Mehta, an Indian housewife. “Though our domestic help has been working with us full-time for over one-and-a-half years now, we have asked her to either work part time and accept half the pay we are offering or look for an alternative,” says Tina.

Fatima Rehman, a Sharjah-based housewife, says that she has been receiving several calls from maids hunting for jobs. There was a time “I was prepared to pay more, but no one was available then,” she says.

While UAE laws discourage residents from hiring domestic workers without sponsoring them, the practice is now common due to the high sponsorship costs.

More news from