A minimum wage of $400 (QR 1500) a month for Filipina housemaids in the UAE may to be putting employers off, according to manpower agencies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
One agency has told The National that its previous average of 100 new placements for Filipina maids each month has now shrunk to 20.
The unnamed agent adds that employers generally hire more than one maid “and cannot afford to pay $400 to each one.”
Employers now favour domestic workers from India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, says the agent. These governments have set lower minimum wage targets – DH 1,100, 800 and 825 a month respectively.
Minimum wage agreement
The UAE and KSA both agreed to adhere to the $400 a month wage for Filipina domestic workers two months ago.
Qatar has yet to fall in line, however, and a diplomatic tussle between the Philippines and Qatari governments led to an unofficial ban on new Filipina maid visas in Qatar, as Doha News reported at the beginning of this year.
Manpower agencies have said that Qatar’s 40,000+ Filipina domestic workers actually receive an average of QR900, or $247, monthly.
It’s thought that some maids in the UAE are not actually being paid the $400 promised on their contract.
The Philippines government has suspended the licenses of 50 UAE agencies for flouting the new rule.
It’s clear that fewer Filipina maids are making the journey to the UAE this year than previously. The Philippines government has told the National that from October 2012 to January 2013, 1,400 domestic workers left the Philippines, compared to 1,800 in the same period in 2011.
Credit: Photo by Jude Doyland