Abu Dhabi - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

We do not employ domestic help, but I understand it is very reasonably priced. - Feb 2020

We don’t have any household, but I think it ranges around $800-1300 per month. You can do live-in or live-out, with live-out costing about $300 more a month, from what I’ve heard. Most house help comes from the Philippines, Africa or India. I think most families are content with their nannies, but I haven’t heard anybody rave about house help yet. You will have to sponsor them and sharing nannies does not seem to be a thing here because of the sponsorship program. We have an occasional Filipina babysitter for 35 AED an hour (around $9.50). - Jun 2019

Nannies, cooks, and housekeepers are all available from many countries. It can be challenging to find one person to do everything well. Costs from $700 - $1200 USD per month for a nanny/housekeeper. Cooks are more. - Sep 2017

Widely available and very good quality. You can find great help here and that has been a definite bonus to our stay. - Jun 2015

Officially, you have to full-time sponsor an expatriate housemaid, which can be pricy to set up and is kind of luck-of-the-draw if you just take a maid from an agency. While it is technically illegal, many people have part-time help, with the maid/gardener/nanny already in country, usually on a visa provided by an Emirati citizen. It's possible to get cheap help, but you get what you pay for. We have a half-time housekeeper whom we trust totally (including dog-sitting) and frankly overpay at over $500 a month. But for us it's worth the peace of mind. - May 2013

I did not need this but friends who did engage domestic help found it easy to do so. - Jul 2012

Household help is readily available, although technically illegal if you are not sponsoring a full-time maid (which single people are not allowed to do).The grey market for part-timers is large. We have a lovely Indian lady who works 20 hours a week for the equivalent of a little over $500 a month, which is on the high side but worth it (we trust her with dog and cat, she stays overnight when we're out of town, etc.). Many pay less and have to worry about their help's honesty, reliability, etc. It's not a great system, and it exploits lots of people, but... it's really nice to have a clean house and a hot dinner. You'll have to find the right person; our experience was that those who've work for Embassy families before often have very high salary expectations and are willing to do fewer things (we had one Filipina candidate who wanted more than we pay current for only ten hours weekly, and she wouldn't care for the pets, work in the kitchen, or iron, for example). - Aug 2011

Visa sponsorship is costly and at end of service you have to deport your maid/nanny or find her other visa sponsorship. The sponsorship system creates a widespread slavery system in the UAE and domestic workers are routinely abused. Most non-diplomats withold their domestic workers' passports and put them on airplanes at the end of their service. If I were a domestic worker, I would never work in the UAE where you are treated like a dog by the system. The U.S. State Department ranks the UAE as a "Tier 2" (moderate violator) of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) but they should really be "Tier 3," along with the rest of the Gulf countries. Human beings are commodities in the UAE to be bought, sold and traded. - Jul 2011

This is a complex issue. If you do everything by the book, it can be expensive. Although locals often flout the regulations, it is recommended that as a foreigner you abide by the rules. All domestic employees must be "sponsored". The annual cost for that is about US$3,000.There is no set salary for domestic help. I pay my full time live-in US$500/mo as well as providing her with food, accommodation, and toiletries. However, I knew of local families who overworked their employees and did not pay them less than US$100/mo (assuming they even paid them regularly). If you are non-Arab, domestic employees will seek you out. Many need a lot of supervision to get to the point that you can rely on them to look after your home/children the way that you like. Language is often a barrier as many do not speak English or Arabic. - Nov 2010

Domestic help is cheap for either live-in or live-out. Help can range from 700dhs to 2000dhs depending on the arrangement. Many people hire gardeners and drivers. - Jan 2010

Not sure of the cost, but helpers are readily available. - Aug 2009

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