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Recruitment agents in UAE welcome background checks for domestic helps

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 2, 2020 | Last updated on July 2, 2020 at 07.58 pm
Recruitment agents, UAE, welcome, background checks, domestic helps

(Alamy Image)

Having background security checks for housemaids and nannies is very important because it will help eliminate those with bad behaviours.

Recruitment agents in the UAE have welcomed the government initiative to conduct background security checks for all domestic workers before coming to the country.

Nasser Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, on Tuesday told the Federal National Council (FNC) members that domestic workers applying for new work visas will have to undergo background security checks and get a good-conduct certificate from their home countries.

He said the Cabinet had issued the decision and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was coordinating its application with the concerned bodies.

"A good-conduct certificate is now required for all new work permits for domestic workers recruited from Kenya as a trial. It will gradually be extended to all domestic workers of other nationalities. They will have to undergo security checks from their country and obtain the certificate," said Al Hamli.

The minister was responding to a question from FNC member Kifah Al Zaabi who asked about what was being done to check the criminal backgrounds of domestic workers and their mental health. Al Zaabi also highlighted the issue of increasing number of crimes committed by domestic workers due to psychological issues or criminal backgrounds.

The minister said housemaids and nannies coming from various countries will also undergo compulsory mental health checks before being given jobs in the country. According to Al Hamli, the UAE has signed international agreements in this regard with 13 countries.

Ensures safety of kids, homes

Mohammed Yaqoob, manager of Al Madina Recruitment Agency in Abu Dhabi, said having background security checks for housemaids and nannies is very important because it will help eliminate those with bad behaviours from coming to the UAE.

"These are the people working in homes and spend most of their time with the children. It is important to find out about their criminal records before being entrusted with taking care of homes and children," said Yaqoob. "The requirement for a good-conduct certificate had earlier been in place but authorities decided to halt it because some countries like Indonesia and the Philippines didn't have formal agreements with the UAE for supplying domestic workers. This move will be helpful if the UAE signs agreements for supplying domestic workers with many countries," said Yaqoob.

Another recruitment agent, Yasin Majid, said it was good that the UAE has decided to check the criminal history of the housemaids and nannies before they come here.

"Such a screening prior to giving them work permit will reduce the crimes in homes committed by domestic workers," said Majid.

Hiring housemaids during Covid-19

Mohammed Yaqoob, manager of Al Madina Recruitment Agency in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times that they had received guidelines from the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) on how to handle the hiring of housemaids - including having all housemaids tested for Covid-19 before being supplied to employers.

"A housemaid taken by the employer must be tested negative for Covid-19 and she is not allowed to move out of her employer's home. The maids have no day-offs to go out under the current situation," said Yaqoob.

"We also teach the housemaids on how to stay safe while at the employer's home to avoid the risks of contracting the disease. Daily temperature check-ups are made to those housemaids at our offices."

Yaqoob said that currently, employers don't come at the recruitment agents' office because of the Covid-19 situation but they request for maids through phone calls and emails. "The employers can interview the housemaids through phone and video calls to select a housemaid or nanny of their choice," he said.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com 

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.


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