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Visa Norm?

 
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iggyb



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:05 pm    Post subject: Visa Norm? Reply with quote

What is the normal range of proceedures for getting your visa to teach in the UAE? I was told here that the visa is done once you get in country and noticed today on the UAE Embassy website that they don't process any visas in the US...

...which throws me for a loop due to my familiarity with Korea.

The norm for Korea is that you have to get all the document authentication done in the US and have the visa processed in the US before you even think about leaving for Korea.

What is throwing me is ---

--- shady places in Korea will tell some people to come over to Korea using the Tourist Visa Waiver the US has with Korea - begin working for them - and they'll process your visa paperwork in Korea.

For Korea, this is a huge red flag...

It sometimes works out fine. But, working without the visa is illegal. Shady schools can hold it against you - threatening you with deportation - as they change contract conditions and whatnot or simply pay you far less than they promised. Others who have flown over without a visa have been caught by immigration and deported with a block (for some amount of time) on being able to return to Korea in the future.

--- So, when I hear that the norm in UAE is to fly over on the tourist waiver and apply for the work visa in country --- it clashes much with my Korea experience.

What have people here experienced with the UAE?

I also learned today about what authenticating documents for the UAE means and don't know if I can get that done within a couple of weeks before the contract I just received says it starts....

...I need to keep telling myself this is all part of the learning experience I wanted in going to a new country ---- which is why I didn't want to go back to Korea this time....
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3861
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iggyb:

I find it odd that you’ve mentioned SK often throughout your forum posts. Yet, comparing it and your experience there to the UAE (or other countries throughout the world, for that matter), is pointless. It’s apples and oranges; each country has its own culture, rules, and processes for doing things. What’s considered the norm in one country, is the extreme in others. It is what it is.

You’re also starting to sound like you secretly regret leaving your previous job in Asia—there’s some apprehension about moving forward. You’d certainly benefit from reading about the history, life, and diverse cultures in the UAE so that you can begin feeling more comfortable with the country and idea of how things work.
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iggyb



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

--sigh--

I keep mentioning Korea because it is my frame of reference. I also assumed some of the people reading here would have experience in both...

Of course, I know this is a new and different country/region.

I clearly stated that is what I wanted --- that the reason I put Korea at the bottom of my list when I decided to go back overseas was that it is too familiar. It is boring by now...

But, there is a practical side too:

Have you ever taught in Korea? Experienced the things that become warning signs? Someone experienced with Korea would see some of the things I have in this process to go to the UAE as a warning sign.

What is wrong with my asking about it?

What is the difference with that and someone with no experience teaching abroad coming over to ask what the visa procedures are and what to look out for?

Isn't that what the forums here are for?

I'm simply someone asking what people in the UAE have experienced in the visa process and what the norm is...
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iggyb



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imagine the conversation this way -- a conversation with someone who has lived and worked in the UAE and ME for years...
Quote:
Newbie: My recruiter for a job in the ME is telling me I should buy the plane ticket myself and I'll get paid back after the 6 months probationary period.

He also said to come over on a tourist visa and bring along my documents, then the school will get me a work visa after I arrive and begin work.

The contract my recruiter sent over also says the school can change the conditions in the future if they need to. What do you think?

Newbie + Me: All of these things are big red flags in Korea and anybody familiar with Korea would say, "Noooo! Don't do it! This is all wrong! Find a different recruiter and job!!"

What do you think?

Experienced ME Person: Don't worry. What your recruiter for the job in the ME told you is pretty much the norm here. It is how things are done, and people don't have any serious problems.


So --- Would I be OK in just saying what the Newbie said?

But I somehow go wrong by adding the last part when I mention Korea???

I know the ME has been a good market for ESLers for a long time. That it doesn't have a terrible reputation for ripping people off and other things that Korea was notorious for 15-20 years ago before the government started changing regulations and cleaning things up a bit.

So, if someone familiar with the ME and UAE tells me these things are normal parts of the process, it's a good thing...
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helenl



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 1182

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience in UAE has been:

Applied for a job, had a video conference interview, received a job offer and copy of the final contract and, after accepting the offer, a one way ticket and an entry visa.

Note: The entry visa is not a tourist visa, it is a temporary visa issued by the MoI pending a permanent work visa being issued.

Arrived in UAE handed my passport to HR, went and had my Xray and bloodtest, got fingerprinted. Passed the test and security check. Signed the contract (which was exactly the same as the copy received in my home country).

HR PRO took my passport and contract to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour respectively to get my RP/Work Visa and register the contract.

Once in UAE took about 2 weeks.

I would never accept a job that required me to come up with the money for my ticket or visa myself anywhere.

The good employers generally follow the procedure I outlined. Any who try to get you to come in without providing you with the proper documents and a ticket and copy of the final contract should be avoided.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3861
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iggyb wrote:
I keep mentioning Korea because it is my frame of reference. I also assumed some of the people reading here would have experience in both...

Of course, I know this is a new and different country/region. I clearly stated that is what I wanted --- that the reason I put Korea at the bottom of my list when I decided to go back overseas was that it is too familiar. It is boring by now...

But, there is a practical side too: Have you ever taught in Korea? Experienced the things that become warning signs? Someone experienced with Korea would see some of the things I have in this process to go to the UAE as a warning sign.

What is wrong with my asking about it? What is the difference with that and someone with no experience teaching abroad coming over to ask what the visa procedures are and what to look out for?

Isn't that what the forums here are for? I'm simply someone asking what people in the UAE have experienced in the visa process and what the norm is...

I described your comparisons and references to Korea as odd, not wrong, because the focus should be on the specific job situation you're applying for or have contracted with and not on previous employment in some other country. By no means was I belittling your comments. It's just that there's no value in comparing the employment situations and visa processes of two vastly different regions; they have no affect on each other. And no, I've never taught in Korea but neither have a lot of other teachers working in the Gulf.

The world is full of employers that are either very good, so-so, or downright shady---SK included. That's the norm whether we like it or not. In fact, Saudi Arabia, where I'm presently located, seems to lead the region in terms of having the most sketchy TEFL contracting (non-direct hire) companies/employers, which is why it's smart to thoroughly research the reputation and track record of each prospective employer, in addition to the contract terms and conditions, visa type offered, and visa process. And that's for any country. It helps you make an informed decision.

In terms of my own situation, it pretty much mirrors that of Helen's. I've worked in two Gulf countries and in both, the terms and conditions of my employment agreement remained the same from my initial job offer while in the US, to the time I signed the contract upon arrival to KSA. The visa process was long for Saudi Arabia because I obtained a proper 90-day employment visa (versus a business visit visa), which ultimately led to a residence/work permit within a week after I arrived in the Kingdom. My employer, a Saudi university, provides roundtrip airfare (upfront), medical insurance, and allowances for housing, transportation, and furniture. They also pay on time via direct deposit into my Saudi bank account. As Helen stated, the better Mid East employers generally follow these hiring and visa processes, and they deliver on the terms of the contract.


Last edited by nomad soul on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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iggyb



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks both.
helenl:
Quote:
a one way ticket and an entry visa


How was the entry visa obtained? Just a printed document? Something waiting for you at the airport when you landed?

NS: OK. But, my point is, this is doing research into a position. It is not fundamentally different from someone just asking what is the norm and what to look out for in a country in terms of visa, contract, and so on.

And comparison isn't useless. You see it as perhaps the author expecting one country to match another, but that isn't it. Maybe I can best picture it like this:

It isn't apples and oranges. It is an apple and an orange that looks like an apple.

For example, helenl says that asking the employee to pay for airfare upfront is not the norm in UAE and you shouldn't accept if asked to do it.

So, this IS the same as Korea: The norm in Korea is to get airfare paid upfront, and there are strories each year about shady places who told the employee to pay upfront who ended up cheating the person. So, anyone familiar with Korea would tell a newbie wanting to go there to avoid a job and recruiter that tried to talk you into paying for your flight upfront.

So, in this one case, we are dealing with apples and apples...

An apple and orange situation seems to be how visas are done: For Korea, you get a visa stamped in your passport at a Consulate before you go over. Then you get fingerprinted and health check before you get a residency card. But, the work visa is already in your passport.

For the UAE, it appears you don't get anything stamped in your passport beforehand. Everything is done over there. That is a big difference in the standard operating procedure.

So, there is no need to worry with the UAE if a recruiter or job asks you to fly over without the visa in your passport.

That is good to know.

If it were Korea, it would be a clear signal to turn down the job, because some shady schools DO ask people to come over without the visa and handle it in country and then screw the person over. It is one of the big warning signs when looking for a job.

In the UAE, it is no warning sign at all.

I now know that by asking. Thanks for the responses...
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