Qatar Travel Guide
Qatar Maid Visa – Rules and Process
The laws for sponsoring and hiring a maid in Qatar are complex and subject to unexpected change. Hence, ensure to check out current regulations with your respective embassy or consulate before setting out for this search. The local government website www.gov.qa/wps/portal can be of help, or you may visit the Labour Department at C-Ring, or search on the web editions of local newspapers for latest information.
Several expat families employ domestic help in Qatar. By law, you are required to sponsor a domestic helper, and they should be allowed to live in your home. It is illegal for a single man to hire a live-in-maid. A married man, looking to hire a maid for his family, should first obtain an NOC from the maid’s current employer for taking over her sponsorship, or can hire a new maid from abroad.
There are agencies that can help you with the process, saving you all the tiresome paper works, apart from the fact that you can return your maid and seek a new one if she doesn't work out. But, when the maid arrives, she will have to undergo the usual residency procedure, medical testing and fingerprinting.
Only women from certain countries, such as Phillippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Nepal, are permitted to work as maids in Qatar, and their salary will depend on their nationality, based on the agreement between Qatari government and relevant embassy. Besides housing, you may have to accommodate the maid's additional expenses of food, clothing and optional extras. Also, you will have to obtain a health card for her, which should be renewed every two years.
On the whole, as a sponsor, you are largely responsible for the behaviour and welfare of your maid.
When hiring a full-time maid, you are legally obligated to offer sponsorship, as per Qatari law. You can either choose to recruit a maid directly from her home country and bring her to Qatar under your sponsorship, or, choose a maid in Qatar and transfer her sponsorship from her present employer to your sponsorship. However, for this, she should have completed at least one year of service with her present employer.
Sponsorship should be taken seriously, and remember that you will be held entirely responsible for your maid’s welfare and behaviour when she is under your sponsorship. Also, you are responsible for bearing the repatriation costs of your maid, back to her home country, in case you choose to terminate her contract.
There are several other rules for hiring maids, which is often subject to change, and hence you may have to keep yourself updated on these by keeping tab on local news.
Single men are not allowed to sponsor a female maid in Doha. Further, you cannot sponsor a live-in full time maid, until you have worked/lived in Doha for at least six months. You will have to produce 6 months of bank statements to obtain approval for hiring a live-in maid.
A No Objection Certificate (NOC) may be required to hire a maid, if the hiring is done through husband’s company, and this can be done only if the wife holds a Residence Permit.
Along with the NOC, copy of marriage contract, copies of the couple’s Qatari ID, passport photocopies of the family, including copies of Residence Permits may be required.
An application for hiring a maid may have to be submitted for approval at the Immigration Department, and at a certain point, you will be told if you are eligible to sponsor a maid, and if so, the nationality of maid that you are allowed to employ.
Once you have received the approval to hire a maid from outside Qatar or within Qatar, the visa procedure can start.
You may be allowed to bring in a maid from outside Qatar, or find someone who is already in the country with a transferable visa. However, you have to ensure that this visa status is legal, and that the current sponsor has no issues with the transfer. The maid will have to undergo medical testing to check for TB, HIV, pregnancy and fingerprinting.
If the hiring is done through your company, the PRO of your company may help you in processing all the paperwork. Else, there are Maid Recruitment Agencies to handle the entire process, although it may be a bit more expensive option. Further, when hiring through agencies, there are added benefits such as two-year contracts, 3 month trial period, and maid replacements done free of charge.
When undertaking all of these yourselves under personal sponsorship, it may take up to two months for you to complete the whole paper works to be processed, although it may work out cheaper than when hiring through agencies.
On obtaining the visa approval, you should send her a copy of her visa and contract, before obtaining her airline ticket. You are legally responsible for conduct of the maid in Qatar. If you decide to terminate the maid’s employment, you will be liable for all repatriation costs.
When Hiring a Maid Locally
When hiring locally, word-of-mouth may be your most useful tool in finding help, and personal recommendations are invaluable. Else, you may place advertisements in classifieds, websites or supermarket notice-boards. When interviewing candidates, ensure that you directly speak to the maid, and not a broker or third party. You should also clarify their sponsorship and visa status.
When taking over the maid's sponsorship, you will have to submit an application with the Department of Immigration. For this, you may need to fill out an application form and provide all supporting documents such as the letter of NOC (No Objection Certificate) from your sponsor/employer, your ID card and passport copies, along with maid’s ID and passport, and letter of NOC from the maid's releasing sponsor.
When Hiring a Maid Through an Agency
If you plan to hire a maid from abroad, there are several agencies that could help you in the process. An agency provides you with a list of candidates to choose from, their references and information about work history.
The agency even take up the task of arranging flights, visas, residence permits, and do all the paper works on behalf of your chosen maid. You will have to pay a one-time sum to the agency to cover all of the costs, and their service fee. The entire process may take about one to three months.
Your maid will be offered a standard contract term of two years, with three month probation period. In case of any differences encountered during probation, you and your maid can opt out of the arrangement. In such a case, the agency will find a replacement maid with no extra cost. However, trial period is a set time frame and does not start over with your replacement maid.
Part Time Agency Maids
If you do not feel the requirement of a full-time live-in maid, a part time maid is another option. A part maid can assist you at your house for a set number of hours and days a week, and help you with cleaning. There are agencies offering baby-sitting services too. Hiring a part time maid may be an easier arrangement than employing a live-in maid, but ensure that the agency from which you hire the maid is registered and a legal one. The charges are for an hourly rate, with minimum being 4 hours a week. It is up to you to choose how often you require a maid for your house.
Domestic Help Agencies
Here are the contact details of some domestic help agencies that can help you in getting a full-time live-in, or, part-time maids in Qatar.
- Qatar Maid Agency – Ph: 44271197
- Qatar Maid Service – Ph: 44413462
- Golden Main - Sofitel (only full time maids) – Ph: 4424487
- Manpower (behind KFC Immigration R/A) – Ph: 5834722 / 4874522
- Al Baidha Cleaning Company – Ph: 4692696
- Jassim Decoration & Services – Ph: 4477305
- Al-Dukhnan – Ph: 5722922
- Al-Wacal – Ph: 4322355
- Eurabia – 44580668 / 55561227
- Rose Services & General Cleaning Company – Ph: 4697711
The minimum wages for maids are set by the government and varies depending on the nationality of the maid you hire. It is determined together with the relevant embassy, and is quoted as a monthly amount in both Qatari Riyals and US Dollars.
The average base is around QR750 a month, but monthly salaries of live-maids can vary from QR900 to QR2500 a month, apart from a flight ticket home every two years. Usually western expat employers pay well above this amount. Hiring a part time maid can cost QR35 to QR45 an hour, apart from transport costs.
Termination of Employment
At the end of contract period, you may have to render all costs towards your maid’s repatriation, including flights. You can apply to the government to get visa extension if you wish to continue keeping the maid for longer duration than the original contract term, or you could find her a new sponsor. As a sponsor you would be responsible for all expenses associated with visa, passport and residency renewals during her employment with you.
Some Useful Tips
- Finding the right maid depends on several factors and it is important to have a clear idea of your requirements and find the best person to fulfil them. Some families trial several maids before choosing the suitable one, or at times, some maids may discontinue employment if they are dissatisfied.
- Irrespective of whether you employ a part-time or full-time maid, be precise with your expectations from the very beginning. It is a good idea to draw up a contract between you and your maid, which would explain complete details of your arrangement.
- A copy of the contract should be given to the maid too, and it is better to get it translated into Arabic.
- It is best to be precise with your expectations from the beginning. Specify the number of sick days and annual leave that you are willing to accommodate. It is best to adopt a zero tolerance rule on issues such as dishonesty and theft.
- Write a list of daily duties for your maid and take time to train her. Include as much details as possible, to avoid problems in future. You may also have to address other scenarios such as sleeping on the job, tardiness, having visitors or using the phone, and allowing cash advances on salary.
- Write you address, telephone number, alternative contacts, and a map to your house in a book, which your maid can use as quick reference in cases of emergency.
- As you are responsible for the overall welfare of your maid, so apply for a health card for her.
On the whole, hiring a maid may be a complicated experience, and it will take time for both of you to settle into your new routine. Patience, understanding and open communication can go a long way in maintaining a consistent, rewarding and productive partnership.
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