Filipina still looking for an elusive dream in the UAE
By Marie Magleby, Special to Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: Since she came to the UAE in 2006, Rose has been picking up the pieces of her shattered hopes. Now, eight bosses later, she keeps hoping her day will arrive.
Rose arrived in the UAE with a visit visa after years of working in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. She could have signed on with an agency in the Philippines to guarantee a job, but she had already been through a series of unfortunate events and preferred to take no risks. She wanted to meet her sponsor before signing.
She refers to most of her employers as bosses, not sponsors, because only one of them sponsored an employment visa for her.
Rose's never-ending job search has been laced with physical and emotional hardships, too. She was weary and in tears as she recounted her experiences.
Finally, in October 2007, she thought she landed a good job. Although her salary would be Dh200 less than the minimum, her new sponsor offered all benefits, and promised to pay her extra for looking after the two children.
Seven months later, she points to a scar on her face as she describes the children scratching her and pulling her hair. She worked more than her fair share of hours to satisfy her sponsor's demands.
She looked after the children until late into the night and woke up early to cook breakfast each day. She even used her experience as a nursing assistant to care for the family's medical needs, but never received the promised compensation.
On the job hunt again, Rose hopes that luck is on her side. When she regains control of her own affairs, she hopes to find a way to help other housemaids in similar situations.
Marie Magleby is a journalist based in Abu Dhabi
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
'We will stop daily runs to nearby states'
By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: June 27, 2008, 00:07
Dubai: A 25-year-old Syrian teacher was travelling to Muscat for a visa run when he was killed in an accident about two weeks ago.
He went to Oman to change his visit visas as he had to leave the country to apply for another visa. Officials had told him that he had to leave the country if he wanted to get a new visa.
The law, officials said, requires a person wanting to adjust his status - whether employment or residency - to leave the country and return immediately.
Gulf News on Thursday reported that a two-month-old baby must travel to the Iranian island of Kish or to Oman and return so that he can get a residency visa.
The Iraqi baby Ehab was born in Syria and landed in the UAE on a visit visa issued from the UAE Embassy in Damascus.
The father of the baby applied for residency visa for the baby and paid Dh700 to adjust the baby's residency status but it was rejected.
The father was told by residency officials in Ajman to take the baby to Kish or Oman, get a stamp on his passport and come back for the residency application to be accepted.
However, the practice of visa runs was banned in February 2004, after a Kish Air plane crashed into a residential area near Sharjah airport, killing 43 people.
Most expatriates had gone to Kish to adjust their visa status.
Even though the rule was passed four years ago, expatriates continued to make the run, fanning a flourishing business.
The rule also said expatriates can pay a fee and change their status instead of going on a visa run.
Many residents said the fee is not accepted. Naturalisation and Residency Department officials insist that they leave the country on visa runs and return, they said.
But all this is set to change.
According to an official from Ministry of Interior, short visa runs will be completely stopped. People who have got jobs will come here on an employment visa. They will not come on visit visas and then change their status to employment and residency. The official said the complete ban on short visa runs will be announced shortly.
New visa rules will take effect from August 1.
The official said people who need to change their status will have to leave the country for at least a month. "We will stop these daily runs to neighbouring countries. There will be a set of rules," the official said.