Having a live-in maid or using a maid service is very popular in Dubai. There are many reasons for this; Dubai is a developed busy city and we all are leaving a busy hectic life; there we need an external assistance. As most families that live in Emirates, we find ourselves without any family support or network to help with children, chores and housework.
There is no doubt that a maid can offer a great deal of help to make the daily running of our household easier and more efficient. Especially if you are both working couple, like us, then it is obvious that you need a third hand support to maintain your household chores and with kids at home.
Whatever the reasons there are options available to you. There are two basic methods of employing maids in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or in all other emirates.
1- Hiring a maid via agency:
For those who find the thought of live-in help is not convenient, there are many maid agency services that provide part-time help at an hourly rate. Most agencies require a minimum of four hours with hourly rates varying from AED35 to AED50. There are some individuals working privately without having connection to any agency but as much as I appreciate the effort of these hard-working people, I cannot recommend hiring a maid service in this way as it is not allowed here in UAE as per UAE laws and regulations.
A lot of companies offer variety of services; temporary or permanent maid services, house cleaning, babysitting, party help, pet sitting, car washing, grocery shopping etc.
But how to find the best agency providing the best maid services? Research is the key to this process - you really need a professional, reliable and trustworthy company to be providing good services for you. You can search companies under “Maid Services” category on mrUsta.com, and read all ratings sent by customers. You will see both good and bad ratings about all maid service providers; it always seems to be a very argumentative subject. So the best thing to do is do your homework well first, read the comments, contact other users to ask their feedback in detail, and finally make a decision and test your decision; see how the service is from the initial contact.
When you get your maid, spend some time familiarizing her with your house, rules, needs and requirements. Dubai is a unique diverse place with many people coming from all around the world, and have different levels of standards and ways of doing job, cleaning, babysitting, even ironing. You may want to spend some time and energy to get aligned with your helper, and you can ask to get the same maid every week. It is preferred by most companies as well and they try and give you the same lady each week to keep their customers happy and satisfied.
Eventually, if you are not happy after all, change the company. There are plenty of companies out there; competition is hard, check out another one until you feel comfortable with the services you get.
Now let’s have a look to the pros and cons of hiring a maid via agency.
2- Maid Service Pros:
• Reliability: if your regular maid is sick/on holiday you will still have your services performed by another maid.
• Economical: you can control how much you spend based on your need and there are no visa/sponsorship costs.
• Privacy: some people do not like the idea of having someone else living in their home.
• Alternative availability: you can always switch to another agency.
• Flexibility: you can change the hours or days whenever you need to.
3- Maid Service Cons:
• Consistency: maids can be changed which means you might have to end-up re-training with every change.
• Security worries: you might not feel comfortable not to attend or be at home during hired services. Just be cautious for your own peace of mind.
• Baby-sitting: difficult to leave your precious one to someone you hardly know.
• Limited Time: you may find you need more hours than you have anticipated
4- Sponsoring a live-in maid:
For many families, live-in domestic help is a preferred way as there is someone to help throughout the day with various chores, and maids can also do additional work such as baby-sitting and child care.
Sponsoring a maid yourself is a relatively long process;
The first part is finding the right candidate. Most families find live-in help from many different sources including word-of-mouth and community notice boards at supermarkets or other public places. Another great source is the classified section of expatriate forums such as the classified section of web sites such as expatwoman.com, dubizzle.com or specialized web portals such as maidscv.com . Many families who have had live-in maids for several years are eager to find good homes for their helpers when they leave the country and such maids are always preferable as they come with a dependable reference. For those who find the task of looking for domestic help overwhelming, there are many agencies that will find a suitable maid for your requirements for an extra fee.
You can check the list of these Maid Services agencies on mrUsta.com too.
The second part is the visa issues (it is usually referred to as “maid visa” in UAE); it involves getting an entry permit for the helper to enter the country (if not in UAE already) and then the application of a residence visa and work permit.
And now let’s see what are the pros and cons of having a live-in maid:
5- Live-in maid pros:
• Availability: regular presence within the home.
• Reliability: you have measure of control on your maid’s activities.
• Free time for you: with somebody helping you all day at home, you will realize how much extra time you will be able to squeeze for yourself and quality time to spend with your little ones.
6- Live-in maid cons:
• Cost: you will have to pay annual visa/sponsorship costs in addition to your maid’s salary and allowances, flight tickets back to home country etc.
• Formalities: visa, medical check, residency etc. formalities can be a burden initially.
• Privacy: Having to share your home with a non-family member in your daily life.
Whether seeking part-time help via an agency, or sponsoring live-in maid; there are ups and downs for both cases. Although the market is full of agencies, finding trustworthy and hard-working domestic helpers is not always such an easy task. I’d recommend not rushing into things, to take your time and do your homework well. If you want live-in help, check her references properly, prepare for the interview, set your expectations from the beginning, and try to know her better day by day, you will have a new member into your family, the better you know each other, the easier things get.