UAE: Can I hire a domestic help outside Tadbeer? All your questions answered

Last year, all non-government offices hiring domestic workers across the country were shut down.


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Thu 3 Mar 2022, 11:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 3 Mar 2022, 10:44 PM

Under a new decree issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE), private recruitment offices can now offer domestic workers on hire under a licence.

Since 2017, the ministry had stopped renewing licenses of domestic workers’ recruitment offices in a bid to replace them with government-run Tadbeer centers.

Last year, all non-government offices hiring domestic workers across the country were shut down, with the ministry cracking down on any agency that continued operations under an expired license.

Now, however, recruitment agencies can obtain or renew their licenses to hire domestic workers provided that they comply with the rules and regulations stipulated in the new decree and fulfill their responsibilities to families employing domestic workers.

Here’s what we know:

Can families hire a domestic helper from offices other than Tadbeer?

Under the new decree, yes, provided that the private recruitment agency is licensed by the ministry after meeting certain rules and conditions.

Is it safe to hire a domestic helper from a private agency?

Yes, because private agencies will now have to go through a stringent process to obtain a license before operating. The centers will be under MoHRE's regulation and supervision.

Can families hire workers directly from abroad?

Only UAE-registered offices or individuals with good standing can recruit domestic workers into the UAE. Employing families are to ensure they are not dealing with unlicensed recruitment offices inside or outside the UAE.

What are the requirements that recruitment agencies need to follow to obtain a license?

An applicant must be a UAE national with a good conduct

A Dh500,000 bank guarantee, to be renewed automatically, or an insurance must be submitted

A credit report of financial status, issued by relevant authorities in the UAE, must be submitted by the applicant, whether it’s an owner of an establishment or a group of partners.

A clear address of the recruitment agency must be provided, unless the ministry approves the business activity to be carried out online

Employee — or a relative of an employee — at MoHRE cannot apply for a license

What will the bank guarantee be used for?

The ministry has the authority to allocate all or a portion of Dh500,000 bank guarantee for the payment of fines or any amounts due to the ministry, the employer or the domestic worker. The agency must complete any missing amount from the bank guarantee within 30 days of a payment.

How long is the recruitment agencies' license valid for?

The license must be renewed annually under a fee as long as the rules and conditions continue to be met. Recruitment agencies will be subject to fines if expired licenses are not renewed within 30 days.

Can the recruitment office operate in other emirates?

Yes, recruitment offices can open branches in the emirate in which they are licensed, or any other emirate after the ministry evaluates and approves the bank guarantee based on the size of the business. The ministry has the authority to increase the bank guarantee as it deems fit. Agencies will also have to comply with the requirements of local licensing authorities.

What are the responsibilities of the private agency towards the domestic helper?

Secure a decent temporary housing and an allowance for domestic helpers until they are recruited with a new employer or if they were returned to the agency for any reason. Housing needs to meet the ministry’s regulations for labourer accommodation.

In cases of temporary employment, the private agency needs to fulfill all legal obligations of employers towards domestic helpers under all circumstances.

Inform workers of the nature of work and the wage before recruiting them from abroad.

Conduct the necessary medical examinations for the worker within 30 days prior to entering the country.

Bear the expenses of sending back workers to their home country and providing a replacement without imposing additional expenses to the employer.

In all cases, it is prohibited to recruit or employ a worker under 18 years of age.

Not accept or collect any form of commission in exchange for employment.

What are the employing family's obligations towards the domestic worker?

Provide a safe work environment.

Not assign tasks to the domestic worker beyond the scope of agreement with the recruitment agency and terms stipulated in the contract.

Ensure domestic helpers are not working beyond the number of hours stated in the employment contract.

Inform the recruitment office and the ministry of any injuries or accidents involving the domestic worker.

Provide a decent accommodation for the worker.

Provide the appropriate meals and clothing suitable for the performance of work whether the helper is hired on a full time or temporary basis.

Bear the cost of the worker’s medical treatment.

Pay the necessary compensation resulting from occupational injuries or diseases.

Allow workers to keep their passports and legal documents.

What services can the recruitment agencies offer?

Private agencies are to streamline visa applications, provide orientation and training, and facilitate the recruitment of workers. They are to provide the package of services under the prices approved by the ministry.

Do employing families have to sponsor domestic helpers?

Families can hire domestic helpers under one of four packages:

>>Direct sponsorship: In this package, agencies recruit domestic helpers from outside the UAE and guarantee their performance and loyalty for 180 days, while their visa will be under direct sponsorship of the employing family.

>>Direct sponsorship after 6 months: This package allows families to hire a worker on temporary basis for six months after which, the helper’s visa can be transferred under the family sponsorship on the agreement of both parties.

>>Agency sponsorship: The third package provides the option of hiring workers under the sponsorship of the agency.

>>Time-based packages: This package provides on-demand services that allow families to hire a helper under the sponsorship of the recruitment agency to provide flexible services according to the requirements of the customers.


What happens when the private agencies are recruiting helpers from abroad?

Recruitment agencies are to comply with conditions and rules mentioned in the MoU between the ministry and the worker’s country. The agency is to reveal the number and data of domestic helpers recruited from abroad.

UAE-based agencies are prohibited from dealing with any unlicensed individual or office outside the country.

When are private agencies forced shut?

The ministry has the authority to temporarily suspend or shut down recruitment agencies if:

>>Conditions stipulated in the new decree and the Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on domestic workers are not met.

>>Conditions under which the license was granted has changed.

>>Data, ​documents, or reports presented to the ministry are inaccurate or invalid.

>>If the office was proved to commit human trafficking or forced labour crimes.

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