Discussion about jobs in Asia inc. Middle East

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Walt Gomez
Posts: 8
Joined: 30 Nov 2019, 10:14
Status: Teacher


Unread post by Walt Gomez » 30 Nov 2019, 10:22

This company has extremely negative reviews. My friend who has worked for them asked me to post this on his behalf.

I was offered a contract from QEC, formerly QEHC, and now simply EC. This is my story.
My contract from QEC, which I unfortunately accepted, included the requirement that I accept an Iqama. Initially I tried to get a Business or Work Visit visa but QEC refused. According to them, they could only issue an Iqama, since that was what the client wanted. A contract with QEC is bad enough, but with an Iqama? That’s a no-no. It’s simply signing up for slavery. The contract was for one term, or about 4 months, while the Iqama was valid for 18 months.
After the completion of the contract, I waited around and begged QEC for my exit visa. They’re not the nicest folks on the planet, or even the Kingdom, but they eventually issued a Re-entry visa, a very strenuous, time-consuming task done in their office on a desk computer. Data was simply entered online with the Ministry of Interior, a process which took maybe two minutes. Then, presto, the visa was printed out. For this, QEC charged me 300 riyals. A re-entry visa meant that I had to return to Saudi within 90 days from my exit.
After I left the country, QEC sent me a contract, knowing I had to return. In the contract, QEC offered a bonus on its terms, also known in the West as a pay cut of 25%. Everybody likes a pay cut, right? They thought that I had no choice, but to sign, given that I had a re-entry visa. Well, I returned, but again refused to sign their contract. I simply did not want to continue working for such a friendly, honest high-paying firm. Their rather rotund owner, Mr. Mohammed Al Suraihi, is quite content with skimming off the backs of foreign employees. Such a nice fellow! Poor old Mr. Al Suraihi has to pay for his third helping in the restaurant, right?
I asked for a transfer to another sponsor. Of course, QEC refused. It is their way of holding you as a slave. If you do not want to work for them and put up with their antics, such as delayed salary, or even no salary, and short-changed End of Service Bonus, Vacation Pay, and Flight allowances, then leave or stay home. You simply have to be happy with what “high paying” QEC gives you. The contract and Saudi Labour law are just pieces of paper to make you think that there is some sort of legal protection in the Kingdom.
After some time, QEC informed me that I would be reported to the police and placed on ‘huroob’ or absconder status. Not working for your sponsor, even if there is no contract, is a crime in the Kingdom, a definite no-no. You’re a slave. Slaves do not run away. They just smile and gladly work again for their “high” QEC pay. So, I went back to QEC. They offered to remove the ‘huroob’ from my Ministry of Labor account if I would only sign their contract, such nice fellows those QEC slavemasters . Again, I refused. They told me that since I would not sign a contract with them, I would have to go to the Labour Court to get an Exit visa.
After going through the Saudi ‘legal’ process – yes, this is what they call it – for months, a decision was given by the Saudi civil court, but not until I had made several appearances at the Labour court. The decision? Neither the company nor I were liable. How nice. I was told that I could continue the process, if I disagreed with the decision, but I would have to continue it at the Labour court, from where everything was launched, to begin with. You see in Saudi, you just go around and around. Nothing really happens. Nobody really does anything. The Saudis pretend to work and us foreigners have to pretend we like it. No foreigner wins in Saudi. It just does not happen.
To get out of the country, I had to go to the Ministry of Interior (Jawazat) which could issue me an Exit visa. At this Ministry, they can arrest you and then throw you in a hall full of Africans, non-Saudi Arabs and Filipinos, all waiting to leave the Great Kingdom. The Philippine Embassy even has a consular representative who spends one day at the Labour Court and the next day at the Jawazat prison, pleading the cases of his abused countrymen, of whom there are thousands.
Fortunately, the Colonel at Jawazat issued me an Exit visa. The blue passport likely helped a bit. I got out of Saudi. Two days later, I touched the ground in Europe. My ordeal was finally over.
The moral of the story is that taking a contract with an Iqama from QEC, yes one of those “high paying jobs”, is a huge risk. It simply is not worth the time and stress. Wait for a better job without an Iqama in Saudi.

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