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Letter of Release

 
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nighthawk



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 60
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 11:03 am    Post subject: Letter of Release Reply with quote

Iím an American working in South Korea. Iíve got some problems with my employer, and Iím thinking about going elsewhere. I just want to understand my options. In South Korea you get a work visa that lasts 1 year. One of the things that really irks me about South Korea is that if you want to quit your job and get another in SK, then you have to get a letter of release from your 1st employer in order to work legally or you have to leave the country and wait until your 1-year work visa expires before you can reenter. Well, as Iím sure you can imagine, there are a lot of employers that donít provide these letters of releases like they should, so the teacher either has to put up with his employerís b.s., try to fight the system legally, which is often futile, or pack his bags and leave the country. Is a letter of release required to change jobs in the Middle East? (I know the Middle East is a big region, so just tell me about the countries in the Middle East that you know about in regards to this topic.) Can a teacher just quit a bad employer and start working for a better one? Do you have to leave the country? Basically what I'm asking is what happens if you find out that your employer is a scumbag and you want out? What are your options then?

Also, how common is it to work in the Middle East illegally? How much do you get fined if you get caught working illegally? How long do they prohibit you from reentering the country if you get caught working illegally? Thanks in advance for the help.
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spicegirl



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 12:31 pm    Post subject: release letters Reply with quote

As far as the UAE is concerned, it seems to depend where you work. This year it appears that teachers who want to move from one of the government institutions of higher education (HCT, ZU, UAEU) cannot move between institutions while they're still technically employed by their current college or university. Teachers who've either resigned, or not had their contracts renewed have apparently been refused interviews at other institutions, irrespective of whether they're leaving their current post voluntarily or for whatever other reasons. I know of some teachers who have been trying to get a letter of release for several months now, but unsuccessfully. This means technically that they'll have to leave the country and get their visas cancelled before another college will consider interviewing them.

No-one seems to know where this ruling comes from, whether it's from the Ministry of Higher Ed., or from the colleges themselves. I've never seen it written down anywhere, but lots of people are talking about it at the moment, as it's that time of year when people have resigned or are wanting to change jobs. Nobody seems to be able to give a reason why they won't let you change. Doesn't make any sense to me. So, I guess, yes, you need a letter of release from your sponsor, and just as in the situation the OP mentions in Korea, it doesn't seem so easy.

As far as the non-government colleges and universities are concerned, it looks as if it's a grey area ... I've heard talk of a 'gentleman's agreement' that apparently exists, whereby they don't want to appear to be poaching staff. It might be tricky to move from government to non-government teaching jobs, but I think it can still be done. I don't know what the situation is for teachers who want to move from places which come under the auspices of the Ministry of Education (rather than the Ministry of Higher Education), for example, high schools or places not classified as 'higher education'.

The whole thing about release letters leaves you in a bit of a trap, especially if you have family here in school or in other jobs. You have to leave the country in June or July not knowing if you're going to be able to get another job in the UAE, even though your family needs to stay here.
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kaw



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 302
Location: somewhere hot and sunny

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Oman - the situation is very similar to the one you are facing in South Korea. If you break your contract you aren't allowed to work in Oman for a period of two years without a release letter.
If (and it's unlikely you'll get one) you can get a one year contract then there can still be problems. Myself and several colleagues were told by pretty much everyone under the sun that we needed one after finishing our contracts last year. We couldn't get one so pretty much all left Oman. After hounding various ministries etc I finally got the answer I wanted which was that as long as you complete your contract, a release letter is not needed.
The other possible hurdle is a 'letter of no objection' - not sure exactly what it is but I'm back in Oman without one so maybe it isn't necessary.
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