Skilled and unskilled Indian workers in the UAE will now be guaranteed a minimum wage around 40-50 per cent higher than the present levels, India's ambassador to the UAE has confirmed.

The minimum wage for 36 categories of workers who want to work in the UAE came into effect on Tuesday and will apply to new recruits in the country, M.K. Lokesh said.

“Minimum wage has always been in place and we have just upgraded it. This is for our reference when companies come to us for new attestation,” he said.

While the previous minimum wage level, fixed several years ago, ranged from around Rs.7,400 to Rs.12,450 (600-1,000 dirhams), the new increased level will be from around Rs.11,833 to Rs.17,250 (950-1,400 dirhams).

According to Mr. Lokesh, this is a pre-condition set by the embassy to attest the job contracts of Indian workers who hold ECR [Emigration Clearance Required] passports.

According to a new list released by the embassy, the minimum wage of Rs.13,700 (1,100 dirhams) for housemaids fixed in February 2008 has not been changed.

“Housemaids are treated as a separate category even in India and are governed by a separate set of regulations. For example, no one below the age of 30 can come here as a housemaid,” he added.

However, the minimum wage for cleaners, fishermen, gardeners, farm workers, office boys, waiters and washer men has been increased to Rs.11,830 (950 dirhams) a month.

Helpers, technicians and skilled traders will also get a minimum of Rs.11,830 (950 dirhams) and sign painters and drivers Rs.16,300 (1,300 dirhams). All other categories of workers will get Rs.17,439 (1,400 dirhams). Mr. Lokesh said Indian embassies and missions abroad cannot impose any minimum wage nor could they make any minimum wage mandatory.

“It is for the local government to ensure this. We can only prescribe a minimum wage for a certain category,” he added. — PTI