From Total Dependency to Corporatisation: The Journey of Domestic Work in the UAE
Keywords:migrant domestic work, UAE state, dependency, corporatisation
Migrant domestic work has played complex, dynamic, and multilevel roles in the evolution of families, and the corporatisation of domestic work across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With the increasing globalisation process in the UAE, migrant domestic work has not only deepened families’ critical dependency towards domestic work, but also influenced the state’s logic to institutionalise reforms to control, govern, and corporatise domestic works sector in recent years. Using primary and secondary literature sources, this article examines the historical and contemporary evolution of migrant domestic work in the UAE and of the GCC region. It argues that the UAE’s domestic work sector has historically transformed from informally structured sector—heavily dependent on the sponsorship of local family structures—to emerging corporatised sector across the UAE labour market. This article presents empirical and theoretical contributions because it highlights the evolving corporatised approach of the state in managing and governing domestic work and its impacts on local family structures in the UAE.