Indian maid became a company owner

This is not one of those inspiring rags-to-riches stories you hear about in the UAE, it’s a tale of deceit and intrigue. An Indian housemaid Pratibha Prakash Rao has become the owner of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Dubai in just a little over one year. In reality she is struggling and, worse, has no clue how she ended up as a partner of Dubai-based Nargees Banu Technical Services LLC.

“I don’t even know what this company does and where it’s located,” said Pratibha, whose investor’s visa was stamped on January 26, 2016 and is valid until January 2019. Pratibha, 55, from Mumbai, came to Dubai in mid 2015 when an Indian couple who live on Al Fahidi Street brought her on a three-month visit visa to work as a domestic help.

“I can barely write my name and had no idea of what devious plans were being hatched behind my back. As it turned out my documents were misused to get an investor’s visa issued in my name.” Pratibha said she was unaware of the anomaly (identity theft actually) until someone pointed it out to her. Questions about the nature of the business of her firm also remained unanswered.

A new draft law in the UAE seeks to protect the rights of these domestic workers covering their weekly day offs, 30 days of annual paid leave and retaining of personal documents like passports, ID cards and work permits.