The Philippines labour attaché Nasser Munder says many domestic workers would be tempted to ignore a ban and seek employment illegally.
The Philippines labour attaché Nasser Munder says many domestic workers would be tempted to ignore a ban and seek employment illegally.

Philippines mulls ban on Gulf maids

Skilled and professional Filipinos could suffer a knock-on effect if the country bans its citizens from working as domestic staff in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, officials and recruitment experts warned yesterday.
The Philippine department of foreign affairs has recommended the ban because it believes the three countries do not adequately protect domestic workers' rights.


EDITORIAL: Protect domestic helpers like family

As the Philippines considers banning its citizens from accepting domestic work in the UAE, it is time to rethink the labour protections afforded these vital workers.

Adverts target abuse of domestic workers

An advertising campaign focusing on the abuse of domestic workers has been launched on television, imploring employers to show compassion to their staff.

A better life that has been anything but

Safe houses shelter more than 300 Filipinas who fled abuse by the very people they had hoped would make their dreams come true with jobs in the UAE.

Although the ban has yet to receive final approval, Emmanuel Geslani, an overseas recruitment consultant in Manila, warned it "appears to be an insult" to the three Gulf countries.

"Some of the employers in these countries may retaliate by pressuring their government to impose a ban on deployment of all Filipino workers," he said.

The country's Migrant and Overseas Filipino Workers Act was amended last year to allow Filipinos to work in a country only if it has social and labour laws that protect their rights, has ratified international declarations on the protection of migrant workers, and has bilateral agreements with the Philippines regarding workers' rights.

Domestic staff in the UAE do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour, and as such have fewer protections than other workers.

In June, the UAE voted in favour of an International Labour Organisation charter on domestic workers' rights. The charter addresses many common problems such as non-payment of wages, overwork and contract substitution; as well as rights including clearly defined conditions of employment before domestic staff start work, a monthly salary paid in cash and at least a day off every week.

It also requires governments to regulate private employment agencies and stop employers deducting recruitment fees from maids' wages.

UAE officials have yet to spell out what changes will be made to give the charter the force of law, or when.

The Philippines' labour secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz, said over the weekend that the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration had to review the proposal before a ban could be imposed.

If adopted, the ban would be implemented at once, she told The Philippine Star.

Danilo Cruz, the labour undersecretary, said yesterday from Manila that a resolution could be issued "in the next few days".

On Thursday, Mr Geslani suggested that the number of Filipinos working overseas as housemaids and nannies could halve this year.

The UAE, Kuwait and Qatar attracted almost half (46 per cent) of the 96,583 Filipinos who left their homeland last year to work overseas as domestic staff. Of these, the UAE accounted for 13,184.

Mr Geslani said the ban, if implemented, would upset recruiters in Manila. "It means opportunities are lost for Filipinas hoping to work in these countries as domestic workers and provide a better life for their families."

Nasser Munder, the Philippine labour attaché in Abu Dhabi, said around 25,000 of the UAE's 600,000 Filipinos were currently employed as domestic staff and that recruitment agencies here were "very concerned" about the prospect of a ban. "The licence fee for operating a recruitment agency here has increased from Dh50,000 to Dh300,000 and the ban will certainly have adverse effects on their business."

He said a ban would result in people circumventing the law. "Can we stop Filipinos from entering the UAE as tourists and later land jobs as domestic workers?" he asked "They will use countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia as jump-off points to the UAE and other countries in the Middle East."

'Munich: The Edge of War'

Director: Christian Schwochow

Starring: George MacKay, Jannis Niewohner, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Power: 575bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Price: Dh554,000

On sale: now

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway

Director: Ashima Chibber 

Stars: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya and Jim Sarbh 

Rating: 2/5


Cagliari 5-2 Fiorentina
Udinese 0-0 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-0 Atalanta
Lazio 4-2 Lecce
Parma 2-0 Roma
Juventus 1-0 AC Milan

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Bib Gourmand restaurants

Al Khayma
Bait Maryam
Brasserie Boulud
Ibn AlBahr
Indya by Vineet
Orfali Bros
Reif Japanese Kushiyaki


November 13-14: Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championship
November 15-16: Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship
November 17-19: Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship followed by the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards

'The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey'

Rating: 3/5

Directors: Ramin Bahrani, Debbie Allen, Hanelle Culpepper, Guillermo Navarro

Writers: Walter Mosley

Stars: Samuel L Jackson, Dominique Fishback, Walton Goggins


Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.


Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

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