Hiring a house helper is common for most families abroad, especially in the Middle East, with agencies readily available to provide candidates for the position. As an expat living in a foreign country, without immediate support from family and friends, hiring a maid or a nanny can be a great help.
If you are in Qatar and have decided to employ a maid, there are certain rules that you have to be aware of and follow so as to avoid legal issues.
Follow the guidelines in sponsoring a maid ©Thomas Morris/Flickr
Guidelines in Sponsoring a Maid in Qatar | Residence Visa for Domestic Helper
The policies pertaining to hiring and sponsoring a maid in Qatar is subject to changes. So if you are a sponsor or might want to sponsor a maid, you have to be updated with the current rules.
The following specifications have to be kept in mind as a general rule when hiring a maid:
- Married men not accompanied by their families and single men cannot sponsor a maid.
- Single women cannot sponsor a maid.
- Primary applicants must have their family in Qatar and must meet a minimum salary requirement of QR12,000 monthly and has been living in Qatar for at least 6 months.
- All family members of the sponsor must have their residence permits issued.
- As a sponsor, you are responsible for the well-being of your maid. If they absconded and did unlawful activity, you should inform the authorities immediately to avoid liability.
- You are responsible in providing the maid’s room and food, on-time salary payment, a return ticket at the end of the contract, annual vacation, routine rest days and decent employment conditions.
Documents Required for Sponsoring a Maid
If you are planning to sponsor a maid from another country, you must prepare the following documents to be presented to the Immigration Department:
- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from your company/employer to hire a maid
- Copy of family’s (husband, wife and children) valid Residence Permit
- Copy of family’s (husband, wife and children) passport
- Attested copy of marriage certificate
- Employment contract
- Bank statement with salary transfer of six months
Procedure in Applying for a Maid’s Visa
After making sure that you have all the required documents, follow these steps to acquire a visa for the maid:
1. Secure an APPROVAL from the Ministry of Interior to hire a foreign maid. You have to provide them a copy of your employment contract, NOC from your employer, bank statement to determine that you are earning sufficient income (QR12,000+/monthly), marriage certificate, passports and residents permits of all family members and the Qatari ID of both the husband and wife.
Response from MOI usually takes week to be released. When your application is approved, you will be required to pay about QR1500 for the approval and QR300 for visa issuance.
2. Find a maid. You may either contact an agency that offers assistance in hiring a maid, or you may find a local maid waiting for a transfer of sponsorship. You may also hire a maid directly from another country (though the rules and process for this is more complex depending on the specific details of hiring).
3. Should you decide to sponsor a maid or transfer her sponsorship, submit the transfer form and the complete documentation to the MOI.
For transfer of sponsorship, the new employer has to check out the following information to make sure that everything will go smoothly. This is according to the Ministry of Interior website.
- The sponsored person shall have completed two years inside the country with the same sponsor.
- No Objection Certificate (NOC) from present sponsor to transfer the sponsorship to the new sponsor.
- Approval of the new sponsor to transfer in to his sponsorship.
- The present sponsor, the new sponsor and the employee shall sign the sponsorship transfer form. The signatures of present and new sponsors will be verified.
The fee for sponsorship is as follows as indicated in MOI website:
Sponsorship change for the first time: QR 2000 for companies, QR 1000 for individuals.
Sponsorship change for the second time: QR 2500 for companies, QR 1500 for individuals.
Sponsorship change for the third time or more: QR 3000 for companies, QR 2000 for individuals.
The application for the transfer of sponsorship has to be submitted at the Recruitment Applications Reviewing Committee.
4. Process the required paperwork for the maid’s visa. This may take up to two months to complete the whole process if it’s under personal sponsorship. (Hiring through agency could be more convenient if you dread doing the process yourself.)
Once the visa is obtained, you should send the maid a copy of her visa and contract, this before obtaining an airline ticket for her flight to Qatar.
Have the visa stamped on the maid’s passport before going to Qatar ©Ian Mckenzie/Flickr
Processing the Maid’s Residence Permit
Once the maid arrives in Qatar, as her sponsor, you have to assist her in obtaining her Residence/Work Permit, so she can work legally in the country.
Same with everyone else, as a worker in Qatar applying for work permit, she has to complete the necessary steps in getting work permit. The following are the steps to obtain your maid’s work permit:
1. Undergo medical examination. This includes blood test and chest x-ray to check for HIV and tuberculosis. She also has to be examined for pregnancy.
Medical tests are done in the Supreme Council of Health, and you have to provide them the copy of the maid’s visa and passport, two passport-sized pictures and complete medical application. The fee is QR500 for the medical check-up and takes about two weeks.
The maid has to undergo medical examination for the residence permit ©Joshua/Yoon Hernandez/Flickr
2. Have her fingerprint taken at the headquarters of Criminal Evidences and Information Department. Complete the application form with the assistance of an Arabic typist in the department. The processing of the fingerprint usually takes about 10-14 days.
3. Upon the completion of the medical examination and fingerprinting, you have to fill out an application for your maid’s residency/work permit which they will then stamp into your maid’s passport at the Immigration Department.
You have to inform the maid that throughout the processing of her residence permit, she is not allowed to leave the country.
The government set the minimum wage for the maids, and it varies depending on the nationality and work experiences. The average is around QR750, but for live-in maids, it can vary from QR900 to QR2500. It’s best to check at the embassy for the exact salary to be given to your maid. You are also expected to pay for the maid’s flight ticket home every two years.
If you are planning to hire a foreign maid, be sure to follow the Qatari guidelines to avoid problems with the authorities.