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Contract signed on arrival???

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Figmo, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    If they tell you your contract will be signed on arrival for your job in the ME do you run like the wind??

    Cause that's what I have just been told =(
  2. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    I feel like the contract won't be worth much till you're in the country anyway will it?
    Helen-Back likes this.
  3. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Hi Teacherman, No but isnt the signing of contract by the Head the affirmation that I've definitely got a job and of the terms and conditions? Previously I have recieved this prior to my arrival in the country
  4. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    That piece of paper isn't worth much until you're in the country. That way the school has invested enough in you and you've arrived.

    Schools will give an offer letter saying that you have agreed that you have a job. But this can always be changed if the school saw fit for whatever reason.

    You'll sign the contract when you arrive.
    Figmo likes this.
  5. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Also all I have had and signed is an offer letter with the basics on it, not a detailed contract.

    I'm due to start in 4 weeks
  6. frodo_magic

    frodo_magic New commenter

    Do you think that a start date in four weeks is realistic? I'm surprised you can a flight, a work visa into the country and are not shackled by quarantine regs. I'm also surprised the school can even offer you a job - does it really know how many students will turn up in August? Remember, ME contracts (all international contracts) are worth nothing, until you are actually in the country, have started work, been paid at least once the agreed amount and have the agreed accommodation and benefits. Job "offers" can be withdrawn at the very last moment so resign your current job / proceed with caution in these uncertain times. Assume the worst while planning for the best.

    Out of interest, what's your Plan B?
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    It’s reasonably common. Some ME countries only legally recognize contracts signed in the country, sometimes only in Arabic. Some contracts are so long and detailed (through no fault of the school) that the basic offer letter is essentially the contract, while the contract is essentially a document on file for legal purposes. My own experiences have included some truly bizarre contracts, shortest covering barely half a page while my current one is about eight pages of tiny type, most of which is gobbledygook. Paragraphs stipulating that I cannot work while drinking, cannot hit children, that my salary is calculated through some complex mechanism involving phases of the moon, price of wheat and length of a piece of string, and of course that I am entitled to an indoor working space with a certain type of chair. My “real” contract is less than a page and covers the stuff that actually needs to be covered.
    In my career, I have always gotten what I expected to get per contract or offer letter. Sometimes I got more - bless the ME.
    Most schools are good eggs and will treat you right. Others are snakes and will not. So don’t worry about the contract thing. Find out instead, from people who know, which category your school is in. That’ll tell you what you need to know.
    Figmo likes this.
  8. myothername

    myothername New commenter

    I am leaving for a European school in two weeks and I had the contract months ago. The school asked me to send them a signed copy of the contract as well. I would be wary of not having a contract.
    Figmo likes this.
  9. myothername

    myothername New commenter

    Did you check reviews of the school on eye ess are?
  10. TreeMaroonDog15

    TreeMaroonDog15 New commenter

    Hi again Figmo! Personally I would like to see and sign the official contract of where I will be working before moving to a different country. The school in Oman I am going to sent through mine at the end of last month. Perhaps you could ask them why they aren't signing it until you arrive?

    Muscat airport is still closed except for repatriation flights, I'm due to start around the same time as you but nobody knows when the airport will re-open.
    Figmo likes this.
  11. Mitochondria1

    Mitochondria1 Occasional commenter

    All of my jobs in the ME were offer letters followed by contract signed in the country. Standard in many schools...
    Figmo likes this.
  12. desertphantom

    desertphantom New commenter

    Global school in Muscat...?
  13. desertphantom

    desertphantom New commenter

    PM me.
    Figmo likes this.
  14. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Whereas in Spain, you can't sign the contract in advance - you sign it on your first day.

    OP, you need to check what is the norm for the specific ME country you are going to: if the school is just following established practise/the law, then there's no issue here.
    colacao17 and Figmo like this.
  15. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    A contract in ME is meaningless, irrespective of where it is signed. An employer can change your wages or fire you any time they like. Try going to court and see where it gets you.
    Figmo likes this.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Figmo, signing on arrival is a fairly common thing, as previous posters have said. However, I would also agree with those who have said that a contract is not worth much in the ME anyway, so it really does not make much difference whether you sign it before you arrive, after your arrive or after you have left the school. With the present Coronavirus pandemic, rubbishy schools that want to change or cancel contracts have a readymade excuse.
    Figmo likes this.
  17. desertphantom

    desertphantom New commenter

    I don't think what people are saying about contracts not being worth the paper they're written on is true, at least not in Oman. If you know what you're doing and where to go for advice and support you can hold your employer to account, certainly when it comes to pay.

    The ministry of manpower is used to dealing with unscrupulous employers and a dispute can be resolved within weeks through a hearing which you can arrange online through a 'sanad' office - it very easy and 90% of the time they will be on your side. My personal experience with the British embassy and their lawyers has also been very positive and they will support you to get what is in your contract.

    Be wary of schools outside the established three in Muscat (***, TASIM and ABA) they may well try to fiddle you and assume that you're naive of your rights and the labour laws of Oman, as always the golden rule is sign nothing until you're totally sure of what you're letting yourself into, ask the difficult questions before you get the answers too late to do anything about them.

    Establish whether you will be paid from the start of any new contract regardless of where you might be come the start of term - there is no certainty that you will be in Muscat. A good school will find a way to pay you regardless of where and how you are working.

    Also, I would advise to make friends with as many locals as you can when you arrive in Muscat, the Omanis really are as caring and hospitable as people are saying and they hold ultimate power in all disputes (this is not a Western democracy), having some 'wasta' (connections) will take you far.
    Figmo likes this.
  18. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    Thank you for all of your insights, everyone. Much appreciated
  19. Figmo

    Figmo New commenter

    PMed, Desert
  20. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    In some countries (including EU ones) a contract is signed on the first day of work or within a stipulated number of days of that.
    The school may give you an offer letter to sign and return, but it wouldn't mean much in law.

    Truth is, you take it largely on trust - but be reassured that it's not unusual and not necessarily a reason for panic.

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