One of the many benefits of living in Dubai is the ability to hire a full-time maid/nanny at a reasonable cost. Once your maid/nanny has joined your family and has fully taken charge of the cleaning, laundry, cooking and support with your children … you’ll wonder how you ever lived without her!! Having a live-in nanny is definitely in our top ten reasons of why we continue to love living in Dubai.
My family is incredibly fortunate to have found an amazing lady to work for us as our live-in maid/nanny. We hired her 3 years ago, and she has been so important to keeping our household running smoothly. If you need support around the house, particularly with looking after young children, then hiring a nanny is really an obvious choice in my opinion.
In this post, I’ve outlined the hiring process and the average costs you can expect to pay, and then I’ve shared our personal story below to give some context about how this all really works. Let’s dive in…
How do I find and hire a maid/nanny?
Below I’ve listed the pros and cons of each of the three typical methods of finding a new maid/nanny…
Maid/Nanny Job Posting Websites:
Maid/Nanny Placement Agencies:
Should I hire a live-out or live-in maid/nanny?
The decision to hire a live-out or live-in maid/nanny is a personal choice and will likely revolve around these kinds of considerations…
- Scope of work … cleaning, cooking, childcare? How many hours of work per week?
- If you just need a cleaner, there are many services that charge ~40AED per hour
- Privacy … how do you feel about having someone live with you?
- Your living space … do you have an adequate maid’s room?
- Cost … it really depends, but sometimes maid’s require a higher salary for live-out, because they have to cover their own cost or rent
Ok, so now that I’ve found the right person, how do I hire her and get the Sponsorship process completed?
I’ve got to be honest and say that this is really where the primary benefit of working through an Agency comes into play. The Visa Sponsorship process can be a bit confusing and can take a fair amount of time to complete. Even if you find your maid/nanny through a referral or job posting website, I would still recommend that you find a “PRO” (Public Relations Officer) company to file the paperwork for you (for a fee).
For your reference, here is the official UAE Government process guide to getting your maid/nanny on your Visa Sponsorship.
Also, here is a very comprehensive yet concise guide to the maid/nanny hiring process from Khaleej Times. <– Recommend reading this!
How much does it cost to hire a live-in maid/nanny?
The exact costs will vary depending on your situation, but here are some rough guidelines for your consideration.
Based on my latest research, maid/nanny’s can only currently be obtained only from India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya … each of which has its own stipulations for minimum wages, age and other working conditions, which are published by their respective Embassies. Here is the latest information available for the minimum monthly salary for maid/nanny’s (listed high to low):
- Philipines – 1,500AED
- India – 1,100AED
- Nepal – 900AED
- Sri Lanka – 850AED
- Indonesia – 800AED
- Bangladesh – 750AED
When setting the monthly salary, I recommend that you keep a few things in mind…
- These ladies typically send +90% of their monthly salary back to their family in their home country. Their income may support many members or their extended family, which often includes: their spouse and their own children, their parents, their grandchildren (if they have any). It’s not uncommon for maids/nannies to be paying for food, housing, education and other essential costs for several people.
- Paying an extra 500AED per month may not have a big impact on your finances (it’s just the cost of one night out at a nice restaurant!), but it may make a huge difference to your maid/nanny and their family.
- With that said, I highly recommend that you start the first year monthly salary somewhere between 2,000 – 3,000 AED, based on their prior experience and the scope of work that you will require them to do.
Should I give an annual salary raise?
I’m of the opinion that you SHOULD give an annual pay raise to your maid/nanny. If you expect to receive a raise from your job, it seems only natural that you should provide that same benefit to someone working for you. The amount of the annual pay raise could be percentage based, or a flat amount added to the Base Salary each year. I recommend that you keep it consistent and be as fair-minded as possible.
Other Monthly Costs…
In addition to the monthly salary, you should also consider paying additional allowances for Food, Transportation (particularly if you don’t live close to the metro/tram/bus) and Mobile Phone.
I haven’t been able to find anything specific in the UAE Labour Law regarding a requirement to pay overtime, but you should consider this if you will frequently be asking your maid/nanny to work extended hours beyond a regular workday. The new UAE Domestic Workers contract does require employers to provide their domestic worker with 8 continuous hours of rest per day.
You’ll have to provide a Visa Sponsorship for your maid/nanny which typically costs about 6,500AED … including the required medical screening. You can process this yourself, or pay additional fees to have an Agency take care of all the paperwork for you (which may be well worth it, depending on the price!).
Medical Insurance is required for all domestic workers and there are many Insurance companies which will provide a policy for minimal costs that ensures compliance with the UAE law.
You must pay for a Return Flight Ticket each year for your maid/nanny, which you should budget in advance for. If your maid/nanny decides NOT to take an annual leave and works for the full twelve months of the year, then you must also pay her an additional months salary in lieu of the 1 month vacation time.
It’s always nice to give recognize the hard work your maid/nanny has done with a bonus during her birthday and the holiday seasons. Be thoughtful and give her a gift, she earned it!
Finally, you may want to consider providing your maid with additional training, such as a children’s first aid course if you have young kids at home.
So with all that said, here’s what a potential bill for your maid/nanny could look like…
38,000 to 65,000 AED may sound like a lot of money, but if you are able to find the right maid/nanny that fits with your family and who works hard … then I’m certain that you’ll agree the expense is more than worth the value that you receive in return!!
So here’s how all of this has played out in our household…
My wife and I have lived in Dubai since January 2012 and we managed without any maid for 3 years. But eventually, we knew we wanted to move to a larger home and start a family … and since both of us are working full-time, we knew we needed to hire a maid/nanny.
We started the process early in 2015 by reaching out to friends to see if they had any recommendations for maids or nannies that they knew were looking for a job. One of our friends was kind enough to help us setup a Skype interview with 3 ladies living in the Philippines, who were all acquaintances of their maid in the UAE. The Skype interviews went well and we informed one of the ladies that we’d like to hire her, only to find out later that she had made a commitment to another family already!
After that minor road-bump, we turned to the online job posting website MaidCV.com to scan through the profiles of the ladies seeking work. We found the website to be very user-friendly and liked the amount of details and information that was already captured about each candidate. It was easy to search, filter and sort the candidates based on our preferences. We really liked the recorded interviews (either video or just audio) because we were able to quickly get a sense of the lady’s English speaking capabilities and a sense of her personality. We paid the fee to get access to the contact details of several of the candidates that we liked.
We arranged in-person interviews with 5 maids before we found the right person for us. All of the interviews were conducted in the food court of the Mall of Emirates. We made an offer to our selected maid/nanny and were thrilled when she agreed to come work for us.
I worked with the same PRO company who processes my work Visa to process the visa for our new maid/nanny. It took about a month to complete.
Our maid/nanny began living with us in April 2015 and we could tell right away that we were fortunate to find someone who was dependable and a self-starter. We didn’t even have to explain what or how we wanted things cleaned … she just took the initiative to do it herself and did great quality work. We knew we were lucky.
A few months after she started working with us, my wife delivered our first child (a happy healthy baby girl) and our maid began supporting us as a nanny as well. To be clear, our maid knew in advance (during the initial interview) that my wife was pregnant and that we were hiring a maid/nanny combo!
Since then, we’ve had our maid/nanny with us for 3 years and it’s been nothing short of awesome. She loves watching and playing with our little daughter (and our daughter loves her!) and she still does such great work around the house. We are so glad to have her with us and now consider her as part of the family.
So what do I pay my maid/nanny? Here’s a sneak peek my bill for 2017 … IT’S WORTH EVERY SINGLE DIRHAM!!
I hope this post was helpful to you and provided some context about how to hire a maid/nanny and what you can expect the costs to be!
As always, check out these additional resources below…
Further Reading & References
- Government.ae - Employment Laws for Domestic Workers
- UAE Ministry of HR & Emiratisation - Labour Law
- Dubai.ae - Domestic Worker Sponsorship Process
- Livingindubai.org - Find a Nanny in Dubai
- Askexplorer.com - Hiring a Nanny
- Khaleejtimes.com - Cost of Hiring a Maid in the UAE
- Khaleejtimes.com - Maid Hiring Process (Sponsorship, etc)
- Servicemarket.com - The Cost of Hiring a Maid in Dubai
- Souqalmal.com - The Cost of Hiring a Maid in the UAE
- TheNational.ae - The Cost of Hiring a Maid in the UAE
- Expatwoman.com - Monthly Maids in Dubai Salary
Matt Nobles is the founder of Dubai Personal Finance. In addition to being a certified Personal Finance Education Instructor, Matt also has 10 years of Corporate Finance experience, working for a large multi-national company. Matt is passionate about helping people like you learn how to make wise money management choices, so you can achieve Financial Independence and focus on living the life you’ve always wanted.
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(Disclaimer: This article contains information for your reference and explains options you may have, but it is not intended to be specific advice or a personal recommendation. DubaiPersonalFinance.com exists to provide general guidance and education, but your situation may vary from the one discussed here, so please seek a licensed professional for tax, legal, financial planning or investment advice.)
Please leave a comment below with your experience and thoughts on the maid/nanny hiring process! Do you have any tips about things to do, or to avoid?