Many staff in the Emirates hire maids to help with the running of their households and to help with looking after their children. Many maids positions are advertised in the supermarkets in Dubai by expats leaving. This has become a grey area  with the introduction of new "transfer laws" between sponsors. Maids are not allowed to be transferred as I read these laws and must be sent home by their present sponsor. You can then bring her into the country as a new sponsor I think.


See the page on Childcare also.

In Dubai a full time maid sponsored by you will cost approximately Dhs 5200 per year payable to the Government and medical agencies and between Dhs1000 and Dhs 2500 per month. You will also pay an airfare home every two years. These maids usually come from India, Sri Lanka or the Philippines. They usually live in. Most family  accommodation  has "servants quarters". Note: Often 2 bedroom apartments given to couples with one child do not. A contract must now be signed.

Maids are also available without sponsorship by you because they are usually, married women on their husband's sponsorship. These maids tend to work part-time and do not live in. Often because of this they are paid on an hourly basis and because of the nature of employment in the Emirates may not be around for a long time. Sometimes these couples live in the servants quarters in return for part time work for one of them whilst the other works. Again usually it is the male with the sponsored position while his wife will work part time.

Cleaning services do exist. They are privately run and bring cleaning staff to your apartment/villa as often as you are willing to pay (usually around Dhs 25/hour).

With maids, experience has shown that you get what you pay for. Go cheap and you suffer the consequences.

I should say I sponsor a maid from India and have done so for many years. In other words I have had the same maid since just after we came. She is great and wonderful with my two daughters..

Renewing your maid's visa.....

Documents needed

  • Residence Form filled in Arabic except for your name which must be in both English and Arabic.
  • Letter of "No Objection" from your sponsor
  • 4 passport photos
  • Your passport
  • Your maid's passport
  • Your maid's labour card
  • Your maid's Medical certificate (this also has a photo on it). This takes about 3 days for them to get.
  • Dhs 5200 approximately.
  • Contact must be signed by you and your maid at Immigration. The sponsor and Maid both must attend.

or as an alternative method

I got this from a staff member

I just went through the drama of finding a housemaid / nanny for my daughter.  I thought you should know about this agency which a few DWC-ers have used with success. 


Explorer Agency

(04) 258 0676


Located on Damascus Street in Al Qusais


There’s a one time fee of 2500 DHS and a monthly fee of 2200 DHS.  This includes the nanny’s salary, visa, plane tickets, health card, sponsorship, everything.  You go to the office, interview as many as you want, and you can bring one home the same day if you’re ready.  If the maid gets sick, they will send a replacement.  You pay for the first 500 DHS of clinic visits, but after that, the agency picks up the rest.  They also want a refundable deposit of 5000 DHS, just in case you miss a payment.  If things don’t work out between you and the maid, you can “return” her and get another for no fee.  I believe they’re all Philippinas. 


Cancelling  a Housemaid visas

 It is easy


What you need to do/have


1. Fill in the visa cancellation form at the typist. Most typist can do it
2. A photocopy of the sponsor's passport
3. One way ticket for the housemaid.
4. You can cancel the visa at Dubai Airport. Go to the check-in counter.
5. Check in and obtain the boarding pass.
6. Go to the passport control counter. There will be a police check-point. They we tell you to go to the immigration counter to have the visa cancelled. Remember the sponsor has to be there. They will do the cancellation process, and ensure that there is no problem with the visa status.


Show them sponsor's passport, cancellation form and your housemaid's passport. They will also ask for the labour card.
7. The process takes 10 mins.
8. Your x-housemaid proceeds to the passport control counter and then  to the boarding gate and you proceed home.




Comments from staff


We got a maid from the Philippines and decided to sponsor her ourselves rather than look locally or for someone part-time. As it turned out, we have been extremely lucky as she not only cleans the house and minds our kids, she also cooks. We did consider a part-time maid, but in truth, we went with someone who we felt our kids could bond with.
Part-time maids can be a bit more of a gamble as they are usually very transient and thus end up only being around for short periods of time. The best option I would suggest is to try and get a maid to transfer from an ex-pat that is about to leave so that you can obtain some form of verbal or written references. 


We've had a full-time live in maid since 3 months before our daughter was borne. She's brilliant and takes great care of our daughter. We see her as a nanny/au pair rather than a full-time slave which is how many people see their maids here. If you want the best care for your child treat your 'maid' like a human being and don't expect her to work hours you wouldn't expect someone to work in your own country. Having a stranger living in your house can be quite difficult to get used to. Cost is 1,100 a month plus around 5,000 a year sponsorship. All in all if you're both working and your child is young it's the only realistic option. 


About child care. On the daycare issue. There is no alternative that I can see to having a maid to care for my four year old. Even though we enrolled her for school (kg1), she would be sent home at 1:30, a full two and a half hours earlier than her older sisters. So, we would need a maid anyway. The daycares in our area (I consulted no less than seven) did not offer hours longer than the school. Even so, the prices were about the same as the school. So why not pay about the same and have your house cleaned in the process? 

About maids. It is a very difficult issue, because the legality of part-time or help not sponsored by yourself is vague. 

Based on my very short experience( 6 months in Dubai), I will be very keen on sponsoring a maid as soon as I return from summer break. 


The main thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. If you are intending to leave your child with a relative stranger all day, this obvious statement should be considered carefully : rumours abound about how cheap you can get hired help. 

Fact 1 : there is a start tariff for every nationality of employer (westerners pay the most ) 
Fact 2 : hiring without paying sponsorship is illegal. If you do it, don't cry if there is a clamp down and she is deported, if she leaves without notice, if she makes off with the family heirlooms and you can't find her. 
Fact 3 : maids come with no guarantees. Forget what your hired help did at home. Consider that many maids have not lived with modern day amenities in their country of origin. You have to teach them what you need them to know. Don't ever assume they do know... 

The deal as it should be : 
Salary (western employer) : 800 - 2000 (Jumeira residents tend to pay the top end) 
Philippines maids are paid more than Sri Lankans who get more than Indonesians or Indians. These differences are not a classification of quality. 
Included perks : a room (many houses are build with maids room & bathroom), food, laundry, one return ticket home every two years (=@2000 Dhs),
Cost of sponsorship : around 5200/- (medical, photos, tax) for a Sri Lankan. Again for a Phillipino you pay more tax. The tax is calculated on monthly salary x 12 months : everyone accepts that the government suggested salary bears no relation to reality (thankfully). 

How to find the right person : 
One person's recommendation is another person's nightmare - especially when they are living in your home. 
I would only recommend advertising in the classified sections of the local newspapers. You will be inundated with calls.
Question the candidates intensely particularly on their legal status : are you sponsored ?, who is your sponsor?, are they willing to give you a release letter?. 
This will eliminate 95% of candidates. Interview the rest - and look for the personality that will suit your family : you can teach her the skills - 

A good maid is an absolute godsend for any working mother - worth every dib dab and more - good luck. 


I have lived in Dubai for the last 5 years & have utilized about 6 maids during that time. There are a number of ways to hire maids in the UAE. The most expensive & the only 100% legal way is to sponsor a maid. This entails an annual outlay of Approximately Dhs 5200 (to the government) & their monthly salary on top of this. In most cases monthly salaries range from about Dhs 800 to about Dhs 2000. You also have to pay the cost of their airline ticket home every two years. Sponsored maids usually live in maids quarters attached to your accommodation. You can also hire maids part time. These maids have their own visas & you don't have to sponsor or provide accommodation for them. Their hourly rate is approximately Dhs 20 per hour. Using part time maids is I think illegal though very common. There is also the option of exchanging accommodation for labor. These maids live in your maid quarters in exchange for a certain number of hours duty in your villa / apartment. This practice is also I think illegal though common. 

Though there is always an abundance of maids looking for employment, finding a good maid is not easy. The best way to get a good maid is by word of mouth - ask the faculty if they know of a good maid. These are some tips in sifting through the options: 
1. Does the maid speak / write well enough to understand what you require of her. 
2. If married, where is the Husband or kids? 
3. Does she have a boyfriend in the UAE 
4. Does she have contactable referees - always check them!!! 
5. Pattern of employment - does she tend to stay with the same family for a long time. 


When you sponsor anyone , be it a relative or a housemaid it is imperative that you keep all documentation associated with that person, especially cancellation papers because you may believe to all intents and purposes that you have cancelled but it might not reach the computer records at immigration Then they will ask for the papers and if you don't have them it causes a lot of hassle and stress. believe me I have been there! So keep all papers even if they are 5 years old!



I have been in Dubai for 18 months and have had 4 maids in that time primarily to look after my daughter.

How you find a maid seems to be a question of luck. I took on one maid who had an excellent reference from another faculty member but who did not take good care of my daughter. I had one nightmare maid from an agency but know many other people who have been perfectly happy with the same agency. My present maid is Indian and is a distant cousin of an acquaintance.

From my experience I would say that if you are planning on leaving a young child in the care of a maid you need to monitor the situation very carefully, for example by:

a) Coming home at unexpected times.
b) Asking neighbours to pop in every now and again.
d) Regularly calling home.
e) Leaving a mini cassette recorder hidden in the house. Even if it only
tapes 2 or 3 hours of sound it will give you an excellent idea of how
the maid behaves with the child in your absence.

If you bring a maid into the country the chances are that she will not know anybody and could get very lonely and homesick. You have to be willing to invest the time and energy to talk to her every day, to help her make friends, to take her out with you, to teach her more English if necessary. A maid can be a very practical, effective solution to childcare and make your life a lot easier but you in turn have to be prepared to invest a lot of time educating her and supporting her when she feels lonely or homesick.


Ladybird Nursery has afternoon sessions contact them on 9714 3441011.


This page was last updated by Leigh Butler on March 04, 2013