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UAE households must now earn AED25,000 to sponsor domestic workers

Seen as a bid to streamline all domestic worker recruitment and employment through Tadbeer centres

On January 16, 2020

The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resource and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has raised the minimum household income required to sponsor a domestic worker from AED6,000 to AED25,000. 

The new salary threshold applies only to residents, and not Emirati nationals. 

One official from MOHRE told Gulf News that the new earning requirement “was meant to ensure stability for domestic workers and match the growing cost of their recruitment.” According to multiple sources who spoke to, the increase is a step towards centralising all domestic worker recruitment through Tadbeer centres. As MR has previously reported,  the UAE aims to replace private recruitment agencies and centralise domestic worker-related services at Tadbeer centres.

Tadbeer centres currently provide part-time, live-out and live-in domestic work services and are in most cases the official employer of the domestic workers. Services provided by Tadbeer cost more than the monthly salaries that are paid by individual employers to their domestic workers. 

MR assessed the cost differential in a recent In an analysis of alternatives to the live-in arrangement

A live-out worker costs AED5000 per month, plus a one-time AED8000 administration fee. These costs include the worker’s accommodation, food, visa renewals, and other costs otherwise borne by the employer.  A full-time, live-in service from the same centre starts at AED2300. 

These are all monthly fees paid to the centres, and not the salary paid to workers themselves.  The centres pay workers directly, at a far lower fee ranging between AED800 to AED1400. Salaries for both live-in and live-out workers are fixed based on nationality, according to MoUs signed with countries of origin.

Until now, the UAE had one of the lowest income requirements in the GCC despite the high costs of living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is now the highest.

Centralising domestic worker recruitment and sponsorship do come with strong benefits – it is easier to monitor a dozen or so agencies/employers than tens of thousands of individual households; it is easier to track wage payments; workers are less isolated, and grievance redressal would be relatively quicker.

However, the UAE, like the rest of the Gulf states, does not have a strong public infrastructure for care services, and families rely on migrant domestic workers to fill the gap. A 2019 guide on salaries in Dubai revealed that most middle- to senior-level professionals earned less than AED25,000.

This steep increase in household income requirement may create an even more thriving market for irregular workers. These maybe workers who come on visit visas and take up work locally, or those who are no longer with their original employer and/or whose visas have expired. 

Comparison of household monthly income requirements: 

GCC Country Minimum salary requirements

AED 25,000 (6,806 USD) per month

No earning requirements if hired through Tadbeer sponsorship

Saudi Arabia

First domestic worker visa: employment proof only + SAR 25,000 (6,664 USD) Bank Account Balance

Second domestic worker visa: SAR 7,000 (1,865 USD) per month + SAR 60,000 (USD 16,000) Bank Account Balance


First domestic worker visa: 350 BHD (928 USD) per month

Second domestic worker visa: 1000 BHD (2,652 USD) per month

Oman OMR 1,000 (2,597 USD) per month*
Qatar QR 12,000 (3,300 USD) per month
Kuwait KD 500 (1,650 USD) per month

 It’s not clear what’s the minimum salary requirement in Oman. However, some embassies require employers to produce a salary certificate of OMR 1,000 per month.