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Thu 21 Feb 2008 06:01 PM

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India sets minimum wage for UAE domestic workers

New wage set at 1100 dirhams per month, to be followed by ruling for unskilled labourers.

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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Jamal Khanfer 12 years ago

I am truly delighted to reed this article which provide badly needed protection for the less fortunates. All other countries should follow the Indian Government example.

The Consultant 12 years ago

Good luck to the Indian Government with this one. Think I'll pay the extra 300/month and get a Filipina!

Juleka 12 years ago

I appreciate and am proud to be an Indian, for the measures taken by our Goverment. Also I would request the Embassy not only to take care of the unskilled workers, also professionals. As I know there are lot of skilled professionals who are being under paid. Now as the market is booming, they are unable to switch over to the next job, which could offer a right pay to them, due to the new law of obtaining NOC to change the visa. I have a feeling that the employers are using this tool to benefit themselves. Would our government also look into the professionals problem?

Nasser 12 years ago

I think we should consider the living cost in UAE now, and whether this salary will be enough for living here, sending money to their family in their home country or saving against years of being outside and far from their family. I believe the minimum wage should not be less than AED2500.

Ali 12 years ago

If the Indian government were concerned over the living conditions of their people, why not improve the conditions in their own country instead of relying on other governments to do so.

Mohammed 12 years ago

The Indian government has woken up very lately after suffering millions of its citizens working in Gulf for years. Still there are lot of areas which are directly associated with the health, safety and welfare of the workers. Every year hundreds of workers lose their lives in workplace accidents. The Indian government should have a mechanism to deal with this ignored issue.