Nhlalwenhle Ncube in Dubai
WHILE most people believe the grass is green on the other side, that is not the case with Zimbabweans living in Dubai who are always racing against time to secure work permits so as to continue making a living in the United Arab Emirates.A�Dubai has proven to be a no relaxing zone for foreigners seeking job opportunities. Working visa permits expire after two years and no one is guaranteed of a renewal.
Dubai is located on the south east coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most popular cities of UAE.
Speaking to Zimbabweans based in Dubai, they revealed that for sure a�?time is moneya�?.
a�?I have been in Dubai since 2008 and for the past few years I was lucky to get my contract renewed and at times get a new job. Now it seems all has come to an end as I have failed to get it renewed and I am returning home in two months time. Dubai is a land of milk and honey, but you have to work hard. There is no time for resting. Average working hours for most people is 12 hours and at times ita��s more than that.
a�?After long working hours, when you get home you are dead tired and the only thing you can do is sleep and wake up when reporting for work the next day. You never realise how time flies with only one day off in a week,a�? said Ishmael Moyo.
It is said that the tricky issue about Dubai is that you have to complete the first two years at the same work place before moving to other jobs.
a�?You have to stick to your first job for two years and no matter how bad it is, you are not allowed to move and if you do, you are banned from working in Dubai for six months and during that period you are deported,a�? he said.
Dubai is a multi-cultural society and this has a strong effect at workplaces as salary grades are not uniform.
a�?Dubai is all about tourism and hospitality and that is the biggest employer. Unfortunately, at workplaces we have different salaries depending on where you come from. With regards to African countries, Zimbabweans come third with the highly paid being South Africans followed by Batswana. Of course there are some from Ghana, Kenya and other African countries, but they get less.
a�?Life is not all rosy for everyone and the least paid Zimbos get Dh1 200 (Dirham) which is equivalent to R3 600 and these ones are working at restaurants and highest paid Dh5 000 (R45 000) being those working at the airlines,a�? revealed Teresa Moyo.
Foreigners in Dubai have become accustomed to the art of sticking to budgets, due to the unpredictable working environment.
In Dubai food is affordable just like in South Africa.
a�?Most employers in a bid to run away from accommodation allowance provide accommodation to employees and you will find three beds in a room which is evident that it is a temporary stay.
a�?Then for the lucky ones who can afford, they pay something like R7 000 a month and that is at International City, where most foreigners stay,a�? she said.
All this explains why most people fail to bring their partners or families to stay with them in Dubai because they are trying to work and save before their contracts expire.
The other challenge is that for one to qualify to bring his/her family, the minimum monthly salary should be Dh10 000, have a marriage certificate and stay in a two-bed roomed apartment.
a�?It is unlike South Africa or Zimbabwe where you can use one room as a family, here ita��s not allowed. If you want to stay with your family you should get a good paying job and stay in a proper family house,a�? said Moyo.