So you are moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Congratulations! Welcome to the country that has one of the greatest shares of expatriates in the world, with Emiratis accounting for less than 12% of the nation’s population. Those two pieces of information should allay your mind of any fears and apprehensions you may have about making such a major move. If that doesn’t do it for you, just know that the UAE is all about families. Why each of the seven emirates is ruled by a separate royal family, and these emirate rulers together with senior family members engage in open discussion forums with citizens mainly to find ways in which they can provide better living conditions for the people through better governance.
I know the idea of making such a major move can be daunting, especially when young children are involved. Added to concerns about finding the right accommodation, whether you will have great neighbours or friends for your children; finding proper schooling for them; and generally, how you will adjust to the food, customs and practices, you need to find a suitable nanny for them to assist when you are busy at work.
Yes, finding a nanny for your children can be challenging if you do not have access to the right information; and as you know very well, getting the right person is very important. But take heart, the following guidelines helped me personally and therefore I am sharing them with you.
It is important to note (and I might add comforting as well) that all jobs that are categorized as ‘domestic help’ are governed by the UAE Domestic Labor Law, set by the UAE Government. Please note also that an individual who is not married and is a bachelor is not eligible to sponsor a nanny for a UAE visa.
A new policy was introduced recently that states that a sponsor must earn a minimum of Dh25,000 in order to have the maid on his visa. This policy overrides the previous one that stated expatriates could obtain a visa for a domestic worker if they had a salary not less than Dh6,000 per month or a monthly salary of Dh5,000 with accommodation.
Before you start worrying, this does not mean that those who do not earn Dh25,000 cannot hire full-time maids. Tadbeer centres to the rescue! These are centres that guarantee safety and security for those wanting to hire domestic workers in Dubai; as well as the safety of the domestic worker. They have been set up across the country to make sure that people only use legitimate channels to hire help; irrespective of their salaries and bank balance. As you may be wondering, the cost of hiring a nanny ranges from AED 3,000 to AED 6,000 depending on what kind of services you require. If you are employed with a federal organization, you will have to file your salary certificate and in the case of private employment, you file a labour contract.
Here is a quick summary of what you will provide for the nanny:-
- The payment of wages, as stated in the standard contract, is to be made within 10 days from the day they are due.
- One day of paid rest every week.
- There should be 12 hours of a rest day, this includes 8 hours of consecutive rest.
- 30 days paid vacation per year
- Round trip ticket home every 2 years
- Meals at the employer’s expense
- Attire that is suitable for the job to be carried out, at the employer’s expense.
- Processing of their identification papers such as passports, Emirates ID, Visa and so on.
The nanny should also meet specific requirements in order to be qualified for sponsorship. The minimum age should be at least 18 years; and if she is from the same country as you are, you will need to get an affidavit from your country’s embassy or consulate to verify that you are not related.
Another option you have available to you is to decide whether you want to complete the process on your own or hire from an external agency. The easiest method I find is to use Dubai E-visa online centres. These centres are government-approved service centres that assist in hiring domestic and household workers in the UAE. The E-visa online agencies apply for a tourist visa and then the sponsor has to re-apply for the nanny’s residency visa themselves.
Throughout the application process, there are several documents that you will have to submit to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs- Dubai (GRDFA). Here is a checklist I put together just for you:-
- The visa application form – typed through an authorized typing office
- The passport and visa – of the sponsor and the nanny
- The passport photos of the sponsor and the nanny
- Three months bank statements of the sponsor
- Copy of the sponsor’s labour contract
- Copy of the sponsor’s health insurance card
- A salary certificate of the sponsor
- The maid’s medical fitness certification will be applied for within 30 days of her arrival in the UAE, where she will do the necessary tests
Once all documents are in order, and employment entry permit will be issued by the GDRFA. After you receive the employment entry permit, you will need to pay the refundable deposit of AED 2,000 with the visa application and send the visa to your nanny.
Though the UAE is a welcoming country to visitors and expatriates alike, you will only reap full benefits if you follow the policies and guidelines that are put in place by the government.
I have found that the system in Abu Dhabi is very accommodating and there is a lot of help available to help to get you settled in a seamless and hassle-free way. I hope you find this information helpful and I wish you all the best as you settle in.