Filipinos allowed to seek domestic workers jobs in UAE in new deal

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Filipinos will be allowed to seek domestic work in the UAE following a new deal between the two countries.

The UAE and Philippines labour ministries agreed to resume the deployment of household staff from April.

The formal deployment of such workers has been suspended since 2014, when Philippine missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai stopped verifying contracts.

Despite that, jobseekers and recruiters have found ways around the ruling, in a grey market that the authorities have sought to better regulate for years.

The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) said recruitment would only recommence through official channels approved by the two countries.

The deal came after recent meetings in Manila between a delegation from the UAE, headed by labour undersecretary Saif Al Suwaidi.

Rules state workers must be guaranteed eight hours of sleep per night and a paid day off every week, DOLE said in a statement.

They must have access to their own bank account, be able to keep a mobile phone and cannot have their passport or ID document taken from them.

Mr Al Suwaidi said it will control and regulate the recruitment process in a way that preserves the rights of all parties, as well as help reduce costs, particularly the recruitment fees.

Claro Arellano, labour undersecretary, said the agreement will be covered by a unified employment contract (UEC) that provides stringent measures to protect workers.

Under the unified contract, both the employer and the foreign recruitment agencies, and the Philippine recruitment agencies are bound by joint and solidary liability should anything happen to a worker.

The move comes following the ministry’s decision last month to shut all non-government maid-hiring agencies by March to better protect the rights of workers and employers.

Private maid recruitment companies in the UAE can remain open as affiliates to government-run Tadbeer centres and work as “internal recruiters” if they follow specific guidelines.

Updated: March 2, 2021 07:58 PM