Changes in housemaid rules give birth to ‘Maid Mafia’

Introduction of the new contract for housemaids that aimed to protect the rights of both employers and housemaids has given birth to ‘Housemaids Mafia’ and it increased the agency fees from Dh11,000 a year ago to up to Dh20,000, according to housemaid agencies in the emirate.

Osama, manager of a big housemaids agency in Dubai told Emirates 24|7 that after implementing the new housemaids contracts in June, things got complicated with the housemaids supplying countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia. An unofficial chain of ‘agents’ has sprung up, each asking for ‘payment’ for their part in ‘supplying’ the maids to sponsors in the UAE and other Gulf countries.

“As for the Philippines, it completely banned sending housemaids to the UAE. However, in Indonesia, they are still sending but things got too complicated. Now, the changes in the law and the complications posed by the Indonesian government has created many agents in Indonesia. We have to pay a separate fees for the man who brings the housemaid from the village to the office in the city, another fees to the office, and also pay officials at the airport. All these complications may escalate into the Indonesian government completely banning sending housemaids – unless a common ground agreement is reached.”

He pointed out that they are hoping that with the changes in the political scenario in Indonesia, and the new president coming in, things might changes and these restrictions might be made easy.”

Zakareyia, the manager of another housemaids supply agency in Dubai told Emirates 24|7 that if things continue like this, it will complicate the situation for both the agencies in the UAE as well as the local sponsors who are desperate with high demand and shortage of supply after the Philippines imposed the ban and is not sending housemaids anymore.

“The prices in our office has gone up to Dh16,000. This is more than 60 per cent increase than nine months ago. We had to pass increase on to the sponsors as we have to now pay many parties in Indonesia who ‘manage’ to get the housemaids out from the Indonesian airports. The sponsors here do not get involved at all.”

He added: “This is not the perfect situation for both the sponsors and for us, the labour apply agents in the country. However, this is the only way to keep our businesses going on and to meet the high demand for housemaids in the country, especially from Indonesia.”