I met Stacy* about a week ago. She is from the Philippines and has been living and working in Abu Dhabi for over 13 years. She has a son back in the Philippines who is studying to become a dentist. Stacy works as an assistant to a real estate agent here in AD. Stacy does just about everything. She picked me up from my hotel and drove me around to look at several different apartments. She haggled with the landlords to get us what we wanted. She communicated with the Sheik to get us two rent payments instead of one. She drove Joel and I to the Sheiks office so we could give him the deposit and rent money. All communication was done through Stacy.
While driving around in the car with her I learned a few things that have left me disappointed in man. Typically when an individual starts working for a company here the company will pay for the individuals’ visa fees and any other fee associated with working here along with offering at least basic benefits. When Stacy started working for her boss, who happens to be a westerner (country of origin will go unnamed) her boss informed her that Stacy would have to pay for her own visa and that she would not be getting any benefits. Stacy barely makes enough to eat, buy clothes and pay the $900 dhs (about $250 usd) a month for bed space. Not an apartment, not a room, bed space. Since Stacy could not afford to pay for her visa and go with out insurance she started looking for another job. The kicker? When she told her boss that she had found another job that paid visa fees and benefits, her boss said “oh… well… I can do that for you.” Why not offer that to her in the first place?
Unfortunately that happens so often around here. People are taken advantage of and paid as little as the employer can get away with. I just didn’t expect it from an expatriate.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.