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In recruitment news, business at maids' recruitment agencies is getting slower, and fewer domestic helpers are flying into the country as a result of the insistence of some countries, such as the Philippines, to follow their own rules rather than those of the UAE, recruiters reported.
Recruiters who spoke to Gulf News claimed the difficulty in getting new maids into the UAE is no longer limited to Filipinos but also to other nationalities.
The issue arose from a recent introduction of a new unified contract for domestic workers issued by the Ministry of Interior that ensures protection of both the maids and the sponsors.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry said it will directly supervise the proper implementation of the new contracts and that attesting it does not fall under the responsibilities of embassies but is the duty of UAE authorities. But labour-sending countries like the Philippines insist that based on their domestic laws, they reserve the right to verify and legalise these contracts to protect their workers.
Shoukat Ali, owner of Al Sanabil Manpower, said: ''All nationalities we used to deploy are stopped – Filipinos, Indonesians, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans. There has been no business at all since June 8.''
Mohammad Reja Imam, from the Global Labour Supply in Dubai, said they will try other markets from Africa to fill the gap. ''Filipinos [deployment] stopped on June 1. Indonesians stopped last year. For the Sri Lankans they told us to 'wait' and maybe this month there will be. Our office has been closed since June 1. Now we're looking for other markets, like Kenyans.''
''All nationalities have been stopped. Before I had all; not anymore. This month, we have not recruited anyone yet,'' Obaid Bahloot, general manager of Al Ahlia Labour Supply Services, said, without specifying the nationalities.
Ahmad Hatem, owner of Al Nasr Service Company, used to recruit Filipino and Indonesian maids. Now that both are stopped, he is seeking to recruit from Sri Lanka but even that is on hold.
Recruiters said the problem is that each labour-sending country has different policies based on their own labour laws on the minimum age and minimum salary for the maid, on the prescribed working days, among others.
The ministry said it aims to standardise these requirements through the unified contract. But to be able to do this, countries with existing labour laws will have to agree with the changes. The ministry earlier said it received no opposition on the move except from the Philippine government.
Grace Princesa, Philippine ambassador to the UAE, declined to comment saying the matter is already with the labour department in Manila.
GN on recruitment news, contacted different embassies to check the impact of the move on the market. Anand Bardhan, Counsellor for Community Affairs that handle maid deployment at the Indian embassy, said: ''There is not much effect on deployment. We are still attesting contracts.''
Dr Mahinda Balasuriya, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, said he has sent communication to the foreign ministry in Colombo and is awaiting instructions. ''At this stage, we are unable to comment because we have just started the process.''
Source: Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com