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SQU -- Accommodation
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Sydney2002



Joined: 10 Apr 2012
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"People from car owning countries will say a car is essential but many teachers from other countries would disagree."

This is actually a very good point. I have to agree with Sleepwalker on this. I am from a 'car-owning country' myself. And the only places I've ever worked outside my country prior to Oman are places with outstanding public transport systems.

Living in Muscat (and working at SQU) without a car is difficult, but I suppose it's doable… for some much more than others.
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Whatever will be



Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, owning a car is convenient and provides one with flexibility.

The downside is trying to find a car parking spot, not having your car damaged by others who ' hit and run', not able to have even one drink and drive, the dangerous driving of Omani drivers, and the high cost associated with owning a car.

Living costs have risen dramatically over the last few years but salaries for expats have not. This makes it rather difficult for newcomers as they have to pay for daily expenses, set up their apartment, put money aside for a holiday trip to their home country (since annual airplane tickets are not part of every contract), set aside a bit for the gap between the current and the next job, save a bit for retirement,....

Housing is now so expensive that it takes a quarter of the salary, daily expenses the second quarter, the third quarter goes for the annual trip back home/ travel, and if the last quarter of the salary is dedicated to saving (for a rainy day or retirement), there is really nothing left to run a car.

Naturally, it's everybody's own choice how to spent their money but one needs to be clear on the financial side before buying/ leasing a car to avoid losing money once the realization sets in that owning a car is not sustainable.

So: do your budget and decide if the cost is worth the convenience.
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue of the air tickets should be a focus for some on this board and any newcomers. The repatriation clause in the law is very clear and giving a small allowance bundled into the salary does not absolve the sponsor of that obligation.

If the amount is as low as 20 rials as quoted here earlier and 240 rials does not cover the plane ticket home (very likely in July or August of any year) then it is up to the sponsor to make up the difference.

In no way is the employee responsible for the cost of the ticket home. Please get together and compare packages at your work and if this is the case, with the shortfall being paid by you upon leaving, then please make an appeal to HR and failing that, an appointment / case with the Manpower mediation office - it is only the first step, it is meant to be non-confrontational and they are very supportive of employee rights.

I don't want to necessarily support the legal profession since they can be greedy like anyone else, but perhaps a group together can share the cost of a lawyer - a few hundred rials to present the case.



omanoman
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having said the above, I should add.....

this is applicable to the end of service, not the annual leave. Although annual leave is in the law, a flight home is not. It is part of every ex-pats contract but the actual deal is up to the employer. The added allowance is a way for them to handle cash flow I suppose and also save money.

You don't need a lawyer for the mediation but a reliable Arabic speaker is a must since the ministry rep taking your statements won't speak English well at all.

Here are two labor law clauses that are relevant:

Article (56):
The employer shall be obliged to repatriate a non-Omani worker to his country upon termination of the work relationship with him unless the sponsorship of such worker is transferred to another employer. It the employer declines to do so, the relevant directorate shall repatriate the worker at the expense of the Government and revert to the employer for recovery of the amount paid.

Article (64):
The worker shall be entitled to the basic wage for the balance of his annual leave if he abandons the work before exhausting such leave.
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Sydney2002



Joined: 10 Apr 2012
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to get this thread back on topic-- regarding SQU accommodation for LC teachers, again I will emphasize the importance of documenting EVERYTHING upon arrival!

I mean every tiny detail, from grout between tiles to a tiny bit of rust on a cabinet hinge. These things are not our housing dept.'s fault, of course. They fall on the owner of the building. But our housing office may very well decide to try and stick a charge to you when you leave.

New teachers arriving for SQU LC orientation in Aug./Sept., if you opt for the furnished housing, take photos and write down EVERYTHING!!!

As for the transport situation- SQU will provide a driver for you within your first week here. After that, transport will be your responsibility. Having a license and a car really is necessary in my opinion, if for nothing else then to get from the Language Centre to your teaching building on campus.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 114

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Oman I never needed a car. But I would never buy a car there unless I became convinced I would be staying beyond a one-go contract. Buying a car would require too much of a gamble, given the conditions (students) there. I can see myself buying a car my first week on the job, only to have to turn it back in within months (when I quit) or after my contract is up. Yeah, right. One can find plenty of taxis within a few minutes just about anywhere. Taxis that won't cost more than a dollar or two to get you to work. If somebody has a problem paying, say, 10 bucks a week for taxi transport and calls that a deal breaker, he shouldn't be going to Oman.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16021
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sydney was referring to SQU, not the recruiter jobs. Most teachers who are hired renew... mostly numerous times. Some of them are nearing 30 years there. And that is because teaching at SQU is NOTHING like the experiences in the hinterlands... and you have the best of the students, not a babysitting job.

VS
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Noelle



Joined: 26 Mar 2005
Posts: 293
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add my two cents here, as I am currently employed at the LC too…

Opti, Sydney and Demigoddess are very accurate in their assessment of our housing department. At one time, I have no doubt that they were considerably more accommodating. Now they are very overwhelmed and have new employees to place year round, it seems. This has led to a sort of 'tier system' if you will, which does in fact place LC teachers at the bottom of the barrel. It is very much a game of hit and miss when you come here and accept the housing provided. Mine was a hit, thank goodness.

Also keep in mind that no matter how poor the housing you're offered may seem, it is still much better than what you'd get if you took the housing allowance only… unless of course you want to pay for your housing yourself.
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