Written by Jide Zubair: jidezubair.wordpress.com

‘I have had to speak to a lot of friends and even family members, who either want to relocate to the UAE or are already here, and I think I should put an article out to address this issue, perhaps some other people can benefit from it. I have also come across a lot of adverts on Facebook asking for jobseekers who want to get jobs in UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and other countries in the Gulf to contact them. Therefore, it seems the Gulf Countries are becoming the new “greener pastures” for Nigerians (and Africans at large). I will try my best to cover the aspects of cost, visa and jobs as commonly related to this kind of “arrangement.” However, everyone reading this must know that, this is my personal opinion and it is no blueprint of some sort.

This article is not for those who have white-collar jobs with organisations directly because of their skill-set and previous job experiences or those who came into UAE for vacation and were lucky to secure an interview and got a decent professional job in the process. This article is for those who are still back home and are planning to resign from their jobs, or raise some money and relocate to UAE in search of a “better opportunity.” Some of the questions such persons need to ask themselves are: Why do I want to leave Nigeria for the UAE? What is the employment outlook and philosophy there? What are the opportunities besides regular white-collar jobs? How soon will I get a job? What is the cost of pursuing this? What is the forgone alternative for the money I want to invest in this project? What kind of visa(s) does the UAE give visitors? How do I obtain one? And what is the validity of the visa(s)?

I must confess, UAE is a great place to live. The environment is not hostile. The infrastructure (road, electricity, telecommunication and entertainment etc.) is one of the best in the world. And its economy has been showing significant growth in the last four years. Therefore, if you have a decent job with a decent pay, it is a very good place to be. However, if you just want to leave Nigeria and travel down here to come and look for a job, you must consider these three issues – cost, visa and jobs.

COST

This adventure will cost you somewhere around NGN500,000 (it could be a bit less than that) and this is the breakdown. If you do not have an international passport yet, you would have to spend about NGN15,000 to procure one. A two-month visa should cost you around $800 (NGN132,024). A return ticket of about NGN100,000 (depending on airline and season of the year) and a bed-space of about $150 (NGN24,755) per month or more depending on location and level of comfort you desire. The rest of the money will be for running around, feeding, general upkeep and miscellaneous.

VISA

Visas in this region are sponsored by companies/businesses (directly) or relatives (indirectly). For example, if you want to come here on vacation, you have to have an agent process a visa for you as a business-tourist or have a family member who lives here do a visit visa for you (generally valid for two weeks or a month). The one month visas are mostly extendable for another month and this is the type most people coming here to look for job opportunities come in with. When your two-month legitimate stay elapses, every extra day spent after that attracts fine – 200dhs ($54.45 or NGN8,986) for the first day and 100dhs ($27.22 or NGN4,500) for each consecutive day.

Now you have your visa and you are ready to fly.


JOBS

Let’s clear the divine aspect of it. God’s plans for us all are different. You can land in the UAE and get a good job within few days, but this is not mostly the case. Therefore, let’s talk about the ideal scenario. If the company or person promising you a job in UAE didn’t get you a job before you left Nigeria, you would have to come and personally look for one here. If you are lucky to have a laptop computer and Wi-Fi in your residence, this means you wouldn’t have to be frequenting cyber café to apply for jobs online. This saves you some cost. Otherwise, you would have to take your job-hunting to the cyber café (there is a cost attached to that).

Notable websites to look for jobs are http://www.gulftalent.com, http://www.indeed.ae, http://www.monstergulf.com, http://www.bayt.com and so on.

Just like everywhere else in the world, the job-market philosophy is to hire people with requisite experience. And in the Gulf, they take it further. The preferred candidates are the ones with gulf-experience. Therefore, your resume might not get deserved attention without the “requisite experience” and “gulf-experience.” That means little or no interviews. Remember, you have a maximum of two months to secure a job. By the second month, desperation might start to set in and people would start telling you about some “jobs” you can take up as starter. The typical jobs available (as stater) are security personnel positions, facility management positions (cleaning jobs), sales representatives in malls, service guy in coffee shops and so on. And you might have to work a 12-hour rotation. These jobs are not particularly bad, someone has to do them.

The problem is that, the structure of this economy does not allow you to have several jobs like in the West (UK, America, Canada and so on). You only serve a master (employer) here. If you want to joggle between two or several jobs, you would need to get a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from your employer to permit you work (at your free time) with another employer. This is almost impossible. And our remuneration here is mostly salary and not wages.

Let’s say you took up any of these jobs for example; the salary is going to be between 1,000dhs (NGN44,927) and 1,800dhs (NGN81,025) per month. You would be given accommodation and transportation. If you are a very frugal person, you might be able to save a couple of hundreds of dirhams per month. And that is fine. However, I don’t see you changing career path so easily. What is common here career-wise, is that, one is most likely to always get the subsequent jobs in the same field he/she started with and I believe this is how it is everywhere. Except on rare occasions. Employers want to leverage on your previous experience and are not willing nor ready to train (I guess that is how it is in most places anyway). They want people who can hit the ground running immediately they are employed.

Therefore, before you take the plunge, ask questions and do the necessary research so that you are well prepared for the eventualities ahead.

About The Author

Ufuoma Joe Umusu is the ”Editor In Chic” of www.uunista.com.
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