India sets minimum wage for UAE domestic workers

New wage set at 1100 dirhams per month, to be followed by ruling for unskilled labourers.
By Amy Glass
Thu 21 Feb 2008 06:01 PM

The Indian government has introduced strict new rules for the recruitment of female Indian domestic workers into the UAE, including a minimum wage of 1100 dirhams per month ($299.5), an Embassy official said on Thursday.

The law will be followed soon by a ruling for unskilled Indian labourers, including construction workers, the Abu Dhabi-based official told ArabianBusiness.com.

The decision on the minimum wage requirement for housemaids was determined after studying their current wage levels and living conditions, and the embassy would conduct the same process for unskilled Indian labourers, he said.

The embassy would consult the relevant industries, and set the minimum wage for unskilled workers after that, he said.

The official would not say when the decision would be announced; stating only that it would be due “soon”, since the consultation process was underway.

The new rules for female domestic workers came into effect on February 20 and stipulate that employees recruited from India must be no younger than 30 years old.

An employment contract confirming the minimum wage must be provided to the Indian Embassy, along with a certificate indicating the employer’s income is at least 10,000 dirhams per month.

A work visa for the UAE will be issued after the requirements are met. The new rules do not apply to Indian domestic workers already in the Gulf.

If the employee is recruited directly from India without the assistance of a certified recruitment agency, the employer will be required to deposit 9,200 dirhams with the embassy as a security deposit against non-payment of wages or other entitlements.

The new rules are part of a major campaign by the Indian government to establish minimum wage levels for its unskilled citizens working in the Gulf.

The campaign aims to prevent employee exploitation, inflation and the rising value of the rupee and each GCC country will have a separate minimum wage law, depending on the local cost of living.

Indian workers in the Gulf are estimated to number from four to six million, with about one and half million believed to live in the UAE, accounting for about half of the country’s labour force.

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