Home-Help in Abu Dhabi


Most expats will have home-help of some sort, whether full or part time. Referred to as a maid, one of the benefits of living in Abu Dhabi is that it is affordable to have this regular domestic help.

So what are your options?

Here is an overview of your different home-help options.

Hire from an Agency

The benefit of using an agency is you don’t have to sponsor or provide your maid with accommodation. If, over time you decide you don’t like the agency maid, you can change – something you can’t do with a sponsored one.

The negatives of using an agency are that they are quite costly and very little of that cost makes its way into the maid’s pay packet.

Sponsor a Maid

It is only possible to sponsor maids from the Phillipines, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

In order to sponsor you must first qualify with the following:

  • Proof that your salary is AED 6000 or more.
  • Pay the government treasury a ‘sum equal to the sponsored’s one-month salary not less than AED 400’.
  • You can’t have released a home help within the 12 months of the new application
  • The home help cannot be a family member
  • You must be living with your family in the UAE (singles cannot sponsor).
  • Female expats can sponsor home help but only if you meet the ‘important profession’ pre-requisites (for example, in a role that requires a university degree).
  • You can’t sponsor if you have a negative track record (didn’t pay or provide travel for a maid, or your maid was arrested)
  • Housemaids and Labourers (or equivalent) as per their visa status cannot sponsor home-help.

It is illegal to bring a maid into the country on a visitor’s visa and then change their sponsorship.

As an expat you can only sponsor for 12 months at a time (unlike 2 years for locals).

If you need to break/terminate your maids sponsorship during the contractual year, you cannot replace the maid for 12 months.

You must have a labour contract (employment agreement). This is a standard document that is provided by the immigration department during the residency visa application process – see here

On completion of their 12 month contract you must provide your maid with an airfare to their home country (or the equivalent if they wish to renew and stay in the UAE) and one month’s paid leave.

If your home-help is the same nationality as you, an affidavit is required from your embassy to prove you are not related.

For a description of the sponsoring a maid process, click here.

Transfer Sponsorship

This is the most common and reliable option for most expats. 

The benefit is the maid will have a track record of sorts (they will likely have been recommended by someone you know) and because they are already in the country, you can meet them in person and decide if you like them before you proceed.

The maid you choose to transfer will not need to leave the country (unless they choose to).

Keep in mind that you may not have to transfer the maids sponsorship if they are completing their current contract. It might be a matter of simply starting a new sponsorship.

For a description of how to transfer a maids sponsorship, click here.

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Cancelling a Maids Visa, click here for the process description.

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