Just in case your maid runs away
By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
Dubai: While bringing a domestic helper here is very expensive, the Emirati or expatriate sponsor will lose more than money in case the maid runs away.
Expatriates can apply for a visa for the domestic helper at the Naturalisation and Residency Department at the Emirate which issued the expatriate's visa. The Emirati has to apply at the Emirate which issued his passport.
Housemaids run away or abscond for a variety of reasons, the most-often cited being abuse and ill-treatment.
Some maids also run away as they get a better offer from another household or they find it more lucrative to work on a part-time basis.
Others get homesick and depressed and has to be sent home after they throw tantrums, and refuse to work.
In the case of a runaway maid, the sponsor loses the money paid for hiring and bringing the maid here - the total costs could go beyond Dh15,000.
Losing your money is bad enough, but it gets worse if the sponsor delays reporting the case to the police and the Naturalisation and Residency Department.
If the domestic worker is involved in illegal practices, the case has to be reported to the nearest police station immediately.
The sponsor should submit the original passport of the domestic helper at the Naturalisation and Residency Department, if available, or a photo copy of the passport.
The sponsor should give a letter reporting the runaway case. A copy of the sponsor's passport should also be submitted at the department.
The sponsor should submit a list of people who are under his or her sponsorship. A fee of Dh115 has to be paid. This fee has been reduced from Dh1,615 earlier.
The Naturalisation Department will then ask the police to issue an arrest warrant against the absconding domestic helper.
After arrest, he or she will be deported with a work ban stamped on the passport.
The sponsor needs to submit the original passport of the absconding employee, if available, but if there is no passport, the Naturalisation and Residency Department will inform the worker's embassy to issue a new passport.
The absconding domestic helper must pay for his or her airline ticket home. The sponsor has to submit the visa cancellation form. The sponsor whose domestic helper absconded for no justified reason, will be given a document to be able to sponsor another domestic helper.
Steps to take
- If a domestic helper runs away, he or she will not get their dues and will be punished as per regulations in their job contract.
- Housemaids who abscond will have to pay for their air ticket home.
- Expatriates or Emiratis who are caught borrowing or loaning their housemaids to others will pay a fine that could exceed Dh10,000.
- Violators will not be allowed to sponsor any domestic helper again.
- It is illegal to employ a runaway housemaid as she could have committed a crime.
- The Ministry of Interior regularly runs campaigns against absconding domestic helpers.
- Anyone knows of an absconding housemaid should report the case to the police or to the nearest Naturalisation and Residency Department.
Where is the freedom for maids in gulf countries?