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Dubai August 2017 - I've had enough already!! How to exit Dubai ?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by fedupalreadyiam, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. fedupalreadyiam

    fedupalreadyiam New commenter


    So, I arrived in Dubai to start my new teaching job a bit early and to get settled in, 10 days ago. I was shown to my new pretty grubby single person accommodation 40 minutes from the school, which turns out to be an apartment with two others in it! For the first three days, I was told it was just temporary. Then on the fourth, I was told that all teachers have shared accommodation now. I was told at the interview, and specifically stated that I would only accept the job if I had single accommodation.

    So, moving on, on the first day of induction, I find out that my timetable is two thirds my subject and one third subjects I know nothing about. I was told all teachers are expected to be flexible. Again, I was specifically told at the interview (because I asked) that I would be teaching my subject all of the time, with possibly one or occasionally two lessons a week in another subject.

    They are now being extremely cagey about paying us the salary we were quoted, saying that 10% of it is kept back and paid at the end of the year to cover accommodation repairs, any problems etc - standard practice, they say. This is surprise to myself and a number of other teachers. There are other lesser issues that I won't bore you with.

    I've worked abroad before in two other places and am flexible but this is the first time the ME. I like to think I'm flexible, accommodating, hard-working etc but this is taking the mick. I have a contract which says single accommodation, my teaching load, salary etc, which they are now saying has been revised and I should have had the updated one before I left. I am in no position and don't have the desire to hire lawyers, assert my rights with the contract I signed or do anything else. I just want to leave now, today, on an evening flight. I realise I have been completely shafted. Do I need any kind of exit visa at the airport, or can I just buy a ticket and get the hell out of there?

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
    install likes this.
  2. fedupalreadyiam

    fedupalreadyiam New commenter

  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hello. I am very sorry that all of this has happened to you, fedupaireadiam. To answer your question, YES, you can get on the next flight out. When I was teaching in the UAE, you did not need an "exit visa" in order to leave the country. (Exit visas are standard for KSA and Qatar, but not the UAE.) Well, that is my understanding and I do not things have changed much.

    Unfortunately there are lots of schools opening in the Emirates and some are pretty blooming awful.

    Please send me one of those "Conversation" things, if I can be of any further help.
    install likes this.
  4. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    No need for an exit visa. Expect a ban from entering the UAE - no idea for how long... sure a google search will tell you.
    Sounds like a proper cowboy unit - maybe really struggling for student numbers now Dubai has too many schools and so are having to adapt at your expense? It doesn't sound like a government school as you were recruited directly, so must be a really s**t private school... commiserations - awful situation.
    install likes this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, Powergnome3 is probably right. However, it sounds as though the OP might not want to go back to the UAE sometime soon!
    install likes this.
  6. bridging

    bridging New commenter

    Has your visa been processed and filed with immigration? Do you have your labour card? I could be wrong but unless you have these then you are on a tourist visa and can leave when you want. Whether the school follows up on a ban is up to them but I don't think this would be possible unless all your paperwork is in order. I could be completely wrong though so wait and see what other people here say.
    install likes this.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    It was quite some years ago that this old hippo was teaching in the Land of the Nile, at that place for the ex-alcholics just outside Cairo. The notorious Mr Black was c-in-c and he always made all of the new teachers sign their contracts in the UK, so that the contracts were subject to the laws of the UK (even though the school was and still is in Egypt). Then any teachers who broke their contracts, either by failing to turn up at beginning of the school year or by doing a runner, would receive a rather nasty letter from Mr Black's solicitors, informing them that legal action would be taken if the teachers concerned did not financially compensate the school for the inconvenience they had caused by breaking their contracts. Guess what always happened? They paid up. And yes, we are talking about what to most of us would be a lot of money. Now did the OP sign his or her contract in the UAE or in the UK? If it was in the UAE, then there will be no real problems if he or she gets on the next flight out of Dubai. But there might, in theory at least, be some serious issues if the contract was signed in the UK. That is my understanding, but then again I am just a smelly old hippopotamus and not an employment lawyer.
    install likes this.
  8. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If the OPs contract is subject to UK law, the school may threaten legal action against him. However, they have already breached the conditions of the contract (conditions being fundamental terms of the contract) and the OP is entitled to rescind it, i.e. treat it as having been breached and walk away. A party cannot be sued for breach of contract that the other party has already fundamentally breached.
  9. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    Thank you for the info @GLsghost. Always very much appreciated.
  10. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    I am so sorry to hear of your terrible experience. I can say, for the benefit of others who may read this, that this is not typical for schools in Dubai. As far as I am aware you can just get on a plane and leave. Once you are back home it would be very useful if you could come back on here and give some hint as to which school it is. You cannot mention schools by name, of course, but it certainly sounds like one that should be avoided like the plague! Good luck.
    install likes this.
  11. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I should add, that the OP would be entitled to be compensated for his losses that would have been " reasonably in the contemplation of the parties at the point the contract was made". This would include flights home, loss of income etc.

    It may well be that the OP is content to be relieved to get out in one piece, which is purely a decision for him. Just acquainting him with options.

    If it's not subject to English and Welsh law,I can't help. If it is and suggested wording for a letter informing of the fundamental breach would help, let me know.
  12. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    No advice re exiting Dubai, but might be a wise idea to have all these new 'conditions' in writing before/if you decide to leave. Ie. shared accommodation, different timetable, 10% salary withheld etc. That way, you at least have some paper evidence (for what it might be worth) should things get messy.

    Make an appointment with the Head of School/HR, to discuss your concerns. Try not to get emotional; just state the facts: my contract says single accommodation, one subject, salary. I have now been told, x, y and z. What is their advice? If they say 'tough luck', then you could say that you are not interested in continuing this broken contract.

    I hope that more-experienced ME teachers will be along with some more advice.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
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  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some wise and sensible advice has already been given. silverfern makes an excellent point - get these new "conditions" in writing. GLsghost also makes some very valid points.
    install likes this.
  14. kstainsb

    kstainsb New commenter

    Sad to hear of your mistreatment. May I suggest, if you have the chance, to join a well known review site dealing with the international schools situation, and leave a review so perhaps the next hapless teacher doesn't get hoodwinked similarly. Sadly this great forum expressly forbids mentioning establishments by name, and we are all left wondering where to avoid like the plague!
    T0nyGT, install and MSL7 like this.
  15. fedupalreadyiam

    fedupalreadyiam New commenter

    Thanks for the help and advice. I never though my birthday present would be of any real use, except for a bit of fun!

    Right. I calmed down by this morning (a bit) took photos of my "single" accommodation and went off to work. I sat down with first my line manager and then the HR person and calmly showed them my contract. I explained clearly what I had expected (and what is in writing) and what I had been told on arrival re the things above and other points, and what I have got. I received a lot of tea and sympathy, a reiteration of the need to be flexible, not to make waves at the start of the year, to see how the job goes and a promise that they will issue me with a new updated contract as soon as possible, which they said, should clarify things. They've said we should have a meeting at the end of next week.

    **** them. I heard nothing that filled me with confidence. So much for doing my research and only applying to a well-thought of "international" school in Dubai with a good reputation. They are a bunch of crooks.

    My birthday present was a secret camera in a pen (nicely slipped into my jacket pocket) so I now have all the evidence I need from two different people that they have broken the contract, if ever I need it. It's uploaded to my dropbox account and the originals deleted. As it happens, I did have a settling in allowance as part of the contract so won't be too much out of pocket by leaving, although I will at some point need to find a new job - no real problem as I teach Computing and Maths.

    And most importantly, I have my passport on a tourist visa, although they were in the middle of getting the right work paperwork. I should be winging my way to tropical climes in an hour or two, having passed through customs without a hitch, the biggest concern. I'm going to unwind and have a late holiday. Oh, and I'll send them my resignation email when I land - all in a very calm, short and professional tone! I really hope they ask for compensation or their settling in allowance back - I may not be able to hold back!

    May well join ISR when researching the next place! If you are thinking of Dubai, be very very careful and do as much research as you can. I did, and still got stung, and I thought I was pretty streetwise! Will post an update when the donkey has landed! I may be avoiding the Emirates for a while.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
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  16. isotonic

    isotonic Occasional commenter

    Send an email to the school highlighting these issues clearly stating the original contract offer you signed with your terms then get them to admit they have changed it...word it in such a manner for them to admit that yes they have gone against the offer you had originally accepted
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  17. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    sabrinakat and install like this.
  18. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    With the original caveats about UK / non-UK law, they can't issue a new contract after the event! The contract that has been breached is the original one. In common law, you can't introduce terms / conditions retrospectively!

    Good luck! Take legal advice if you need it when you get back.
  19. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood New commenter

    So, so glad to read your second response. These things so rarely end so well - I'm glad you got out, and your responses have been nothing but professional.

    Best of British for whatever comes next, and I look forward to getting the "URGENTLY REQUIRED" job posting in the TES job board updates! :)
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  20. install

    install Star commenter

    A friend in a similar situation had a genuine emergency at home.:) They ended up not going back....due to illness.

    I hope it goes well for you anyway:) Maybe your Union can help in some small way, even with just some good legal advice.;):)

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