‘Black Market’ for Pinay Maids Emerging in UAE – Report

A black market is emerging for Filipina household helpers in the United Arab Emirates with prospective employers being made to pay up to $4,600 (Dh17,000) for a helper, a UAE news site reported over the weekend.

This, in the face of a virtual ban by the Philippine government on the deployment of Filipina workers to the UAE, news site Gulf News reported.

Despite the ban, some employers bite the offer for Filipina helpers, who were recruited in the Philippines as salesladies, clerks or salon staff.

Gulf News said the Filipinas are made to apply for such work but become nannies once they reach the UAE, in a procedure dubbed processing-reprocessing.

Vic Fernandez, leader of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, said this “is a form of misrepresentation and is, of course, illegal under Philippine law.”

“The risk far outweighs the rewards,” he said.

On June 1 last year, the UAE interior ministry introduced a new standard contract for housemaids to protect the rights of both housemaids and their employers.

It then issued a circular stopping embassies of labor-sending countries from verifying or ratifying contracts of domestic workers.

But Philippine law requires overseas labor offices to verify details of the employer before a housemaid applicant is allowed to fly and work for them.

The Gulf News report said employers give the Filipina workers a “servant” visa once they land in the UAE.

The Gulf News report quoted the head of what was once a leading Dubai housemaid recruitment agency as saying the demand for nannies remains high, but the supply is “dry.”

“We used to deploy 50 to 80 per month from the Philippines as per the law. There’s no doubt demand is there. But now, we’re down to zero deployment. For the last seven months (since June), we’ve been struggling. We’re at the end of our rope,” she said.

She said nanny agents are still waiting for clarification on the issue, with many nanny agents in the UAE “quietly suffering.”

(Source: Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News)

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