Sunday, June 26, 2011

Woes of Working in Abu Dhabi

Today, 23 June 2011, is the crappiest day of the month. I should have known, when the week started, all the tell-tale signs of a bad week was everywhere to give me a warning. Working abroad is anything but predictable. Something always comes up and usually whatever is up is not really good. I don’t know if I would have preferred my foul-mouthed Chinese boss from the past or my temperamental American boss of the recent or my smoke-belching Arabian boss of the present. All of them can be categorized in different level of laziness. Not in order but, one is really, really lazy, the other one is just plain lazy and the other one is not lazy at all.

When I set foot in this dessert land of a country, work was far from my head. I came here because I want to join my husband. I came here because we both want to start a family already. Unfortunately some circumstances need some immediate remedy that I have to take a job to lessen the burden on my husband’s part while looking for another employment. You see, living in Abu Dhabi is not that simple. I came here using a husband’s visa. This visa depends basically on the employment of my husband. If his contract expires so does my visa. Anyhoo, their project was almost completed, so some of their personnel were being transferred to another site project, which is Ruwais. A 3 hours something drive from Abu Dhabi proper. My husband doesn’t want to take me there, since it is far from the city amenities, knowing that I’m a sickly person, I always need to be near a hospital. But enough about me.

Working abroad always entails contracts and visa. Your stay in the country depends basically with your work. This is true here in Abu Dhabi. Most of the Filipinos who came here to try their luck here entered the country using a visit visa. This visa allows the holder 30 days stay here in the UAE. An extension can be applied to a maximum of another 30 days. When applying for visa, once it is granted you need to use it within 2 months else, the visa will expire and will no longer be usable. Once a visit visa holder lands a job, the company will be the one applying for the visa of that person.

Employment visa varies. There is the missionary visa and the employment visa. The missionary visas are given to those who are hired directly from their mother country and sponsored to work in Abu Dhabi for six months. The employment visa however is the real deal. The validity of such visa is the entire period of the contract signed by the hired personnel. For those who are holding visit visa and have found a job during the stay here in Abu Dhabi, their visa are usually transferred to employment visa , but before getting that they have to exit the country first for certain legalities. Exit can be to other countries outside UAE and one in particular is Kish Island. No one has ever heard of Kish Island, but if you are here in Abu Dhabi it’s the last place you would want to go for an exit. Horrible stories about the island. Some of those who go there for exit are already forgotten. Many are raped and killed. That is why some hotels there are haunted. I don’t know for certain the truth in those, but 3 of my officemates were told to exit to Kish Island and yes, it was a scary place for any woman to go to.

For those who are lucky to get an employment visa without any hitches, they get to finish their contract and jump into another company. But before doing so, expats should complete two years of their contract before they can transfer to another company. This is the new UAE employment law. Back then, once your contract is completed, you are to go home in your mother country since you are banned to look for another job for the next 6 months.

So many clauses surround you when working abroad. And so you try to comfort yourself with the stuff that you could buy when you get your salary at the end of the month. In that way, in a little way the hurtful things that your bosses and officemates hurled at you is not that ego blowing anymore.

1 comment:

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