Filipina maids need more morality education and Arabic lessons before coming to the UAE, a study of migrant workers has found.
It also found that many Filipinos come to the UAE simply for money and give little thought to the country until they get here. Many don’t know that they will be jailed if they become pregnant out of wedlock and are not used to Muslim morals.
They also have no Arabic skills, and Filipino government orientation classes appear to have stopped teaching them basic words, the findings added.
The study, by Akiko Watanabe of Bunkyo University in Japan, wanted to know if the Filipino government’s pre-departure orientation classes were effective in preparing half a million Filipinos for life in the UAE. A total of 212 women and six men took part in the study by filling out questionnaires in Manila after attending a UAE orientation class.
Some were upbeat about the UAE, saying that they “can earn money” or “my family/relative is/was working there”, while others said simply that it’s the “only place for me to work” or that it was where their employment agency was sending them.
Among the top ten reasons for going to the UAE, four of them were about making money. “This shows that workers pay little attention to where they go and the culture and laws in their country of destination,” the study found.
It also discovered that the workers were “eager to be deployed right away” and so were not fully focused on the briefing. Asked what their impressions of the UAE were ahead of their move, opinions included “conservative”, “strict country”, “can save money”, “Dubai is an open city”, “do not know because I have never been there”, and “should be careful, though it’s a good country”.
Watanabe concluded that UAE society doesn’t matter much to the workers, “rather they assume their country of destination as a mere place to earn money”. She also followed up with Filipinos in the UAE and questioned them about their time here. She found that many had too easily assumed that being a maid was an easy job.
“They assume the job is something everyone can do, and leave their native country saying ‘I’ll just work as a domestic helper’,” she found. She also discovered that many know very little about their employer if they run into trouble. Some don’t even know the family surname or their address and have only a vague description of the house where they worked.
The findings recommended more Arabic language training and greater preparation on the difficulties of domestic work. The study also recommended that maids should think more about morality laws in the UAE, instead of just being told how to avoid sexual harassment by their employers, which they currently learn at orientation.
Watanabe added that in the UAE there should also be a “pre-hiring orientation seminar” for the employer to learn about “the background of the workers and their rights”.