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.
General Rules to follow when sponsoring a maid:
- Married men living alone in Qatar, and single men, cannot sponsor a maid. Single women cannot sponsor a maid either.
- The primary applicants must have a family in Qatar and should meet the minimum salary requirement of QR12,000 per month and should have lived in Qatar for at least six months.
- All family members of the sponsor should have their residence permits issued.
- As a sponsor, you should know that you are responsible for the well-being of your maid. In the event of maid absconding, or any unlawful activity, the concerned authorities should be informed immediately.
- The maid’s accommodation, food, timely payment of salary, and a return-ticket at the end of contract, the annual vacation, routine rest days, and decent employment conditions are a must.
If you plan to hire a maid from another country, you should present the following documents to the Immigration Department:
- NOC from your company / employer to hire a maid.
- Copy of family’s valid Residence Permit
- Copy of all the passports in your family
- Attested copy of marriage certificate
- Employment Contract
- Your bank statement with salary transfer of six months.
Procedure for Maid's visa:
Once all the necessary documents are ready, follow the below procedure to obtain a visa for the maid:
- Secure an approval from the Interior Ministry to hire a foreign maid (maid from another country) by producing the above-said documents. It takes about a week for the ministry to respond. Once the application is approved, a fee of QR1500 and QR 300 should be paid for approval and visa issuance.
- Find a maid through an agency that helps you in hiring a maid, or find a local maid and do transfer of sponsorship. You can also hire a maid directly from another country, but, the rules are more complex in such case.
- Once you decide to sponsor a maid, transfer her sponsorship, submit the transfer form, and complete documentation and handover to the Interior Ministry.
- The fee for sponsorship change for the first time is QR2000 for companies, QR1000 for individuals. The sponsorship change for the second time is QR2500 for companies, QR1500 for individuals. The application for transfer of sponsorship should be submitted at the Recruitment Applications Reviewing Committee.
- Begin processing the paperwork for the maid’s visa. This may take about two months for completion, if it is under personal sponsorship.
- On obtaining the visa, send a copy of the visa and contract to the maid, and an airline ticket for her flight to Qatar.
- On her arrival in Qatar, being the sponsor, you will have to help her in obtaining Residence/Work Permit for her to work legally in the country. The procedure for work permit is the same as for others. Medical Examination is mandatory.
- Get the fingerprint taken at the ‘Criminal Evidences and Information Department’. The processing of fingerprint will take about 10 to 14 days.
- On successful completion of medical examination and fingerprinting for maid’s work permit, you will have to fill out an application for work permit and they will stamp it into your maid’s passport at Immigration Department.
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 Service – Ph: 44413462
- Al Noof Recruitment Services – 44425869
- Maids in Qatar – 44360577
- Gulf Agency Company - 44205600
The wages actually depends on nationality, your job details and experience. For Filipino maids, the salary offered for first time maids is about QR1460 per month. The minimum salary for other nationalities is mostly lower, but, employers should consider the qualifications of every applicant.
Maids already in Qatar and undergoing transfer of sponsorship are more in demand, and expect higer compensation, as they would have years of experience, local knowledge and availability. Maids entering a second contract in Qatar usually work for QR1800 to QR2200 per month.
Maids with great English, good references or unique skills are paid above QR2200. Live-out maids work on a part-time basis for QR2500 per month or full time for QR3500 per month. These reflect the increase in cost of living, rental, food and transportation.
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.