India's wage for maids evoke mixed response in UAE

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Dubai, Feb 23: India's comprehensive and consensual approach to set a minimum wage limit for housemaids recruited in the UAE has evoked mixed reactions from the residents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Even as some hailed this week's decision as a move to safeguard the welfare of housemaids, others claimed that it would hit the household budget of low-income people. Pointing the sky-rocketing living cost in the Emirate, resident Rajani Indukumar said the minimum wage limit of 1,100 Dirham could not be afforded by a middle class family. The move would also affect the job opportunities of the Indian housemaids, the Khaleej Times quoted her as saying.

''People will prefer to hire housemaids from other countries as they are available for a lesser salary,'' another resident Chandrakanth Bhagat said.

Ibrahim Hassan, a resident of Abu Dhabi, said it was important to elicit the views of Indians at home and the UAE before sanctioning the new terms and conditions for recruitment of housemaids. There was a possibility that an Indian woman wants to live in the UAE with her husband and would be willing to work at a low salary but these conditions would cause the family to forfeit the right of living together in one place, he added.

''Moreover, domestic helpers and labour market in the UAE was open and all the employers here could hire and bring in domestic servants from other countries, which did not set conditions that were rejected by the UAE society.'' Cancelling these conditions would be better than enforcing them in order to keep the rate of Indians working in the UAE in tact, Mr Hassan said.

The Indian government had also stated that the employers must furnish a bank guarantee of 2,500 dollars and the full amount would be reimbursed at the time of contract termination by mutual consent.

The new security and verification measures were expected to safeguard the welfare of the recruits, who often faced abuses at the hands of their employers with several cases of unpaid wages reported every year.

India was among the first labour-origin countries to tighten recruitment of its nationals in the housemaid category.


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