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07 August, 2005

Jobs in Dubai

"Female Receptionist, with/without experience, excellent knowledge of spoken English, strictly on father's visa, required by an office on Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai."

"Urgently required Female Executive Secretary, experienced, presentable & good-looking."

Typical job ads from local newspapers, where recruiters are happy to specify gender, age, appearance, ethnicity, religion and marital status. "Strictly on father's visa" is even worse than the usual "on husband or father's visa" - it means not only will they pay the prospective employee an absolute pittance, but they don't want her to have any other responsibilities or commitments such as children.

Discrimination is absolutely rife. Companies will pay for a token "white face" only when they need one ("UK/US/Australian passport holder required"). The rest of the time, a zero is knocked off the salary, and they hire from Asia.

A further look through the classified ads turns up phrases such as:

"Female Cleaner, young, preferably Filipino, required"
"should ideally be 30-32 years of age"
"Motorcycle Delivery Man, Sri Lankan/Filipino, required"
"Female Secretary cum Accountant, preferably Keralite"
"Office Assistant, female, Indian, graduate, computer literate, required"
"Indoor Sales Staff, preferably Lebanese/Egyptian"
"European Female Supervisor"

According to the UAE government, this type of advertising is actually illegal. Recruiters are not allowed to specify what nationality or what "religious sect" they want:

"It is a blatant violation of the labour laws to announce foreign nationalities for a certain vacancy. Newspaper ads should not specify nationalities for the required labour cadres, unless national employees were unavailable," the official told Khaleej Times.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a way forward with this, you know. It's already been done in lots of places. Once the laws are on the books, people need to see that they are enforced by bringing actions in the courts. A fews successful law suits put employers on notice that they pay a cost for discrimination. Even an unsuccessful suit can bring the issue to public consciousness and provide pressure for change.

Of course, it can be hard for indivuals to bring legal action -- that's where civil society comes in. Isn't there some human rights group in Dubai with an interest in moving this forward?

The UAE has an extraordinarily progressive and enlightened government. But government can only do so much. At a certain point, people need to step up and make those rights their own.

07 August, 2005 22:10  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

This kind of behaviour should not be tolerated but I think the sad part is that there is no legal recourse for individuals who face this kind of DISCRIMINATION. I guess the comcept of EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER, EOE is still a foreign concept in that part of the world. SAD very SAD.

07 August, 2005 22:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bigger story is all the jobs in the classified that don't exist. Recruiters place ads in various places more to attract companies to advertise with them, than to attract applicants looking for a job.

07 August, 2005 22:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard this from other people too, that many times jobs that are advertised don't actually exist.
From my own experience I can say this:I once took an IT proficiency course (mid 90s) at a very reputable institute in Dubai. Since I used to go daily (for two months)I made friends with the receptionist working there. She told me that she was told to dump any cvs from a particular nationality straight into the bin.
Now whenever I see that company's ad in the paper(they have a huge section devoted to recruitment and jobs)I always wonder about the poor sods that don't even have a fighting chance.

08 August, 2005 02:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now.

I'm not commenting on todays entry ( have'nt even read it yet) but just letting you know that i've used one of your entry's (13th April 2005), in a discussion forum on architecture.

You can see it here:-

keep up the good work,
cheers then.

08 August, 2005 08:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, Secret Dubai, but if companies aren't allowed to state their nationality preferences in adverts, it's unlikely that those preferences will magically disappear. Instead, you would be left with the worst kind of discrimination - the unspoken kind. Perhaps it's better to be honest? After all, we're probably at least a generation away from having civil courts for discrimination cases.

08 August, 2005 10:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually noticed the ads the last time I had a paper in Dubai, and was surprised at the rampant discrimination. I assumed that, as foreward thinking as UAE prides itself as being, discrimination was still legal. It never occurred to me that it was illegal, and these ads were still allowed to be placed in the newspaper. Why would the newspaper not bar them? Interesting.

08 August, 2005 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civil Society??? Human Rights group here??? That will be the day! Laws, rules are created as and when required for the benefit of the country. Are lawsuits credible? You just have to know the right people in the right places is my opinion.Well thats the way it is done here, we are all here to make a living.....its simple if you dont like it, just leave and go back to where you came from.

08 August, 2005 10:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A rather unjust but doubtlessly effective way of getting rid of the adds (though not the actual discrimination) could be to hold the newspapers accountable. As they have to comply with the press-law anyway, this wouldn't make too much of a difference. And for once, the strict control of the media could be put to a constructive usage.

08 August, 2005 11:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok ... so I finally got the time to read through todays posting.

I'd like you to read my views on the same topic (Coincidently) in the forum that i mentioned about in my above post.

I'm with you. I've been a victim.

08 August, 2005 11:01  
Blogger No Secrets said...

hay SD just a quick comment this time .. I have a little cooment concerning the holder of the worst Recruitment SCAM ever ..
they are a canadian firm in Miss. Ontario .. got a cousin of mine to send them the money that they asked for "processing Fees "
I made my cousin check them up and it was a little corner that looked nothing like what they appear to be .. or sound like or make themselves out to be ..
It was a scam no one ever contacted me .. So please keep this in mind should you ever have a friend looking for a job avaoid those scammers...

08 August, 2005 16:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, some time back, I wrote about Racism in Dubai. Nothing has changed since then.

What is legal and what is illegal is very much irrelevant in the labor market. Blatant racism and violations of basic human rights (withholding an employee's passport) are the norm, despite it being spelled out in the law books.

Gulf News' editor's note mentions that they do not post classifieds that specify nationalities. Of course a quick look at today's classifieds shows:

Accountant cum Outdoor Salesman, male, Indian, age up to 30, with U.A.E. D/L & knowledge of Tally, required. Salary Dhs 1,500 - 1,800/- + commission + visa provided. Call 050-7341360.

I mean, really.. the Gulf News editor should be more careful when making such an outright lie.

Newspapers should take the lead on this. Perhaps this will lead to companies considering other nationalities for positions that would otherwise not be accessible to others. It will take time, but it certainly is the right step in the right direction.

As for 'silent' discrimination, well.. that exists everywhere in the world.

08 August, 2005 16:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mohamed,

Please not that in that advt. that you posted, the paltry sum they were offering the man!!! The firm deserves to be flogged in public.

Again, this is because they mentioned "Indian". They would not get anyone else for that sum. This is reverse discrimination!! or something like that .. I'm sure you understand.

08 August, 2005 17:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, nothing will change until courts get involved and laws change and/or get implemented. In the US -- not that it is perfect -- it took many, many lawsuits before women, blacks, senior citizens and handicapped people were no longer able to be discriminated against. Now, when it happens, at least there's a clear law and system in place to follow.

08 August, 2005 17:18  
Blogger Emirati said...

I believe that jobs should be discriminatory for the sake of emaratisation only. IE between emaratis and non emaratis, not between non emaratis.

08 August, 2005 20:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

emirati, I absolutely and a 100% agree with you. Of course, they should be. In fact, any country in the world gives preference to citizens over foreigners. However, this should not only be done at the company level but at the government level.

At the government level, it is put in paper, but I am not sure is actually implemented (let alone the whole quota business). For instance, I believe in the UK or Canada, the company must provide sufficient evidence that it had pursued all reasonable avenues to employ a citizen before attempting to bring in a foreigner.

This is not easy to do in the UAE, considering that the majority of the work force are expatriates -- since this only means that UAE citizens are not enough to fulfill the needs for all the companies available.

I believe that UAE citizens should be able to apply and get priority with job applications. If a company does not hire a UAE national who has applied for that job, the person in question should file an official complaint against the company. However, when a UAE national demands a salary higher than what the company has allocated for the position, it becomes a questionable area -- well beyond my humble expertise ;)

08 August, 2005 21:36  
Blogger Emirati said...

And btw, I am against this "white face" thing, I can bet you that maybe even some of the bloggers here got their jobs because they were white or from a certain country when there were more qualified people to choose from.

the discrimination is also against locals, i knew of a local man with a PhD in English, he was not allowed to teach in a university because it was for "english first language people only" this man lived almost all his life in the UK and spoke better english than many of the professors teaching htere which had MASTERS degrees. This man can barely speak arabic, but his english is superb. This white face thing really goes deep, its a caste system that puts white people as the most qualified, and then other races under them.

In my university as well, the professors are trash, really, they taught at joke universities of agriculture and in oman before coming here, while this university is supposed to be the best in engineering in the Middle east. Only reason they got hired over others is because they were white, i can name off the top of my head 12 or 13 Arabic PhD holders i know personally that would do a better job at teaching at a far smaller salary.

08 August, 2005 21:49  
Blogger Emirati said...

There is growing a large amount of resent within locals, about how certain corporations and companys turn their back on their own people, mind you not all locals have palaces I would say that there is a large majority of locals living in the middle class to poverty range. The big buisnessmen have not done their duty, and have turned their backs on their countrymen to satisfy other people and themselves.

Another story i heard about is the British Electrician, a technician with a diploma who was sent by the Saudis to go head an Engineering department of Electrical Engineers..

This is an inferiority complex by many people here that white people can do things better than others can, that they are civilized and we are not, and that arabs are incompetent and the westerners are not.

Personally I refuse to adhere to any of this, I refuse to call my professors in university "Sir", because it looks degrading and was exactly what Indians under british control used to adress the british, I treat an Indian man the same way as an Englishman, the same way I would treat a sheikh, which is with respect and equality, like all humans should be treated.

08 August, 2005 21:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your comments very interesting. I never realised that there really are qualified locals that do not get hired because of the whole "white"is gold mentality.

In my experience,jobs were given to many locals that were not quite competent to be in the positions they were in. This could also be because Banking in the UAE has great emphasis on emiratisation and they are always seeking to get their "quotas" regardless of quality. They just try to make sure that when they have to report the percentages of nationalites to Central Bank that the Emirati number is on the high side. (note to locals -apply to Banks near end of year reporting, more likely to get hired!!!)

However, I would have thought that there could be nothing better than having a qualified,professional local teaching other locals. If for no other reason than to inspire and motivate them on a level that an expatriate wouldn't be able to.

If there are such scenarios then no wonder locals feel a sense of resentment.

08 August, 2005 23:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am not aware of UAE citizens living in poverty. This is certainly not the image I (or dare I say, most people) have of the UAE nationals. Of course, one would be foolish to say that all citizens are equal. We all know that there are classes just like what they call in bahrain and kuwait (bidoon, etc.).

I would also dare say that if a UAE citizen is living under poverty then they are most likely to be plain lazy. All I would have to do, at the very least, is sponsor a business+. Maybe it's naive to say so, but then again, I think I speak for the majority of expatriates. It is the impression we get. Please do educate me (and others) on the real truth here. It is quite obvious that I don't have enough real information to go on.

As for quotas, I think they are a very dangerous tactic that breeds incompetence. I know that a government doesn't lightly enforce them and especially in the UAE.

I have met a few locals in my time here and to be quite honest, they have all, without exception have been impressive individuals (male and female).

However, I wouldn't blame businessmen from shying away from their own countrymen so easily. For example, walk into an Etisalat office and you will find the nationals talking on their cells while half-helping customers. This doesn't really help foster an image of seriousness and professionalism.

All I am trying to say is, it's a two-way street. I can tell you about Bahrain as an example. It took businesses a very long time (and still are working on it) before they were willing to take on Bahraini's. It took Bahraini's a long time before they were able to prove themselves to be serious, professional and competent employees. And guess what? It's working. I am sure it will for the UAE, but it does take time.

09 August, 2005 00:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am NOT seeing all the white faces you speak of in my daily coming and going. I am seeing a lot of Asian faces and hearing English that I as a native English speaker simply can't understand.
Any Emirate who WANTS a job and is even half-way competent should have one. There are only, what....600k altogether in the country, and the Emirate workforce is a number less than that, meanwhile this economy is supplied by a couple of million workers.
Howeever, the Asianization of the Emirates is appalling and scary. It won't be long, if it already hasn't happen, before the economy will be completely reliant on them, which could pose problems for the UAE.

09 August, 2005 08:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous (who posted 9th Aug 8.23 am),

It might indeed be a scary thought for you personally to see all those asian faces. But did you ever stop to wonder why?

Could it be because there are few other people/nationalities that would put themselves in that position-to be underpaid and overworked?

Don't be "scared" of someone that does a job you /other people are not willing to do. Be grateful.

As for their spoken English, people from all parts of the world speak English with many different accents. It's sometimes impossible to understand even native people from the UK. Ever tried to understand someone with a broad accent from Lancshire or Yorkshire? or even a thick welsh/scottish/Irish/cockney accent? Should we look down on people with accents in English? Or are some accents acceptable and some not?

I hardly think in this part of the world you can criticise someone for not speaking English the way you need it to be spoken to understand it. I might have even agreed to some extent to your point if all the native English speakers in Dubai spoke the Queens English. Unfortunately, not all the westerners I have met have even come across as being educated.

Lets just say that the "scary" asians at least have some grasp of English and can communicate most of the message across(although I agree, after having been asked what one's good name is for the umpteenth time, it does try ones nerves)

Question for you though-how many languages can you make yourself be understood in?

09 August, 2005 09:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised to see how the discussion here has developed. It started out as a rather focused exchange concerning overt discrimination. All contributors to the discussion seemed to agree that it was appalling. But very gradually it turned into not-so-subtle expressions of the very emotions that foster the same discrimination (the expressions "white faces" and "scary" asians!).

Until this country revises the current citizen policies (which conflict with basic human rights - remember that international pressure forced Germany to revise their - more lenient - citizenship policies c. 8 years ago!), the "society" here will continue to consist of "first" and "second" rank human beings. And whether it is intended or not, this fosters a distorted self-understanding in most people (Emiratis, "whites" and Asians alike) and it fuels the already pronounced racism.

09 August, 2005 10:02  
Blogger secretdubai said...

From my understanding, the poster using the term "scary" was applying it to the prospect rather than the people. There is a fear here among local people that the economy could become too reliant on one single expatriate ethnic group.

09 August, 2005 11:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emiratisation is one of the best initiative thats happening in UAE. I am for it, in spite of being an Indian. It is necessary that all developing countries should have their countrymen in key roles in Govt/Public/private organisations.

One of the saddest trend is the mad love for employees from Western countries. I heard a joke when i raised this concern with a friend of mine . He said " there is a shortage for porters(those who handle luggage) in UK and europe , since all those porters are General Managers in Dubai!!" . I am all for hiring Competent Employees and paying him right compensation. But there is a trend in Middle East towards hiring Westeners just because he is one. Many who've just completed certificate courses are Project heads here!!!. BTW... will a competent Westerners choose ME as a place to work?(when he is already paid well in his own country!!) somewhere there is a lack of logic!!!

09 August, 2005 12:16  
Blogger Emirati said...

Of course, for security concerns i think that the population of asians should be reconfigured as well for certain jobs. More Indonesians ,Malaysians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laosians and Chinese Should be recruited to even everything out.

Dispersal of nationalities is very important. The UAE is 50% subcontinental (India and Pakistan), this needs to be changed. This problem has been realised, more nepalese and chinese have been hired but a larger number of other is nessecary to vary the demographics.

I would go for a maximum of 25% subcontinentals. No single demographic group from one country should be allowed to have a higher percentage than the Emaratis living here. It is simply a threat to the countries interests.

However there is another problem, the problem that many asians do not speak englihs or arabic and that hindi is becoming a major language for communications here.

09 August, 2005 15:16  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

I have been listening and there is my 2 cents
You see learning a new language(HINDI) as a problem , WOW.I would love the oppprtunity to learn a new language, the more I know the BETTER.
But it is interesting to see where this discussion has GONE. I am first one to say EMARATI's should be the first ones to be HIRED for a job IF and only IF they are qualified and not because they are Emarati's, if a suitable/qualified person is not found from the POOL of Emarati applicant then the co can open up its doors to other individuals( just like the U.S.)
Also , what is the security threat that your Country faces according to you due to this INFLUX of Indians ?
Why dont the so called POOR Emaratis work at a fast food joint, Delivery personel, construction site? Why not take pride in building the DUBAI BURJ with Emaratis, I am sure they can use all the unskilled/uneducated locals. Once you fill out these low income jobs there would not be a reason to bring foriegn help.

Now to respond to a comment "will a competent Westerners choose ME (DUBAI in this eg)as a place to work?. In my experience most are here on a contract from co's in the US and I am only speaking for Americans. We like experiencing diferrent cultures so when an opportunity comes up we take it. I agree those who come there looking for JOB are not doing much here in the US and usually have a long criminal sheet, thus failing background checks which is now required by most co's. During my time there I didn't meet a single American that was happy living there , it was always "Just trying to save a few bucks and start a business back home".
I thought I had seen racism/discrimination in Australia. UK and US, its nothing compared to UAE.

09 August, 2005 20:26  
Blogger Emirati said...

If you reread what I said, I said that hindi or urdu is a major language here, the problem with sticking laosians in is that they will not be able to communicate effectively.

Lets say 2 companies have 2 applicants, one emarati and one non emarati, the emarati scores 80% on the evaulation and the non emarati scores 90%. I think in this case, the emarati should be hired. You also have it in the US its called Affirmative action.

A majority of one non national group leaves the country vunerable to a single country, it will depend on it for workers, say india and the UAE get into a diplomatic row or even some kind of war. then what ? many indian labourers may be kicked out or pulled out, causing a problem. or maybe we wont be able to kick them out because they are such a great majority. flexibility and the space to adapt are very important, the worker bring in policy should be that we saturate the pool of workers so as not to become too dependent on one country for anyhitng.

well, you should try feeding a family in the UAE with 1000 dhs per month, none of the foriengers that make that much have to deal with it because the exchange rate is so high.. how about the northern emirates where there are no jobs ? naturally you would go say work in abu dhabi and dubai, transport and accomidation costs would come into play. really its because there are whole families here..

And at least discrimination here is given openly, and truthfully when it comes to locals vs non locals, we make everyone understand that it is important to the countries that we educate and nationalise buisnesses. it is showed normally, not like the discrimation in the west where your poor and minorities are tucked into ghettos, only a small percentage making it up the ladder while the rest suffer.

09 August, 2005 21:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears as though this discussion is turning into the wrong direction.

First off, it is very natural for people to prefer communicating with those who share the same native tongue. They certainly prefer those who they can communicate effectively with. In my stay in the US, Americans grew rather irritated with those who could not speak proper English (unless it was agreed that the accent was cute by either of the sexes of course ;)

Secondly, it bothers me and I am not ashamed to admit it. If the person you are dealing with cannot speak in any language you know, it turns into a rather frustrating exchange of hand gestures. I have had such an experience with a hairdresser. I often think, there should be an entrance exam to people getting an employment visa where they have to demonstrate sufficient language skills to be useful to the majority of the population living here. I believe Arabic is the official language with English being the second language. Anything else should be optional.

Finally, I agree with emirati and his view of not becoming dependent on foreign labor from one specific nation. The national security is very real and anyone who underestimates it is unrealistically living in an 'ideal world'. Things happen. Best be prepared.

09 August, 2005 21:39  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

I do agree with your example of 80% and 90% to an extent a local should be hired in that case. But now what if the company is hiring for an Engineering job and the local scores low on that test can the company take the 10% risk of a structure collapsing because the local was not well informed on the topic. You say he can learn on the job (TRUE) but not if the co wants someone to HIT THE GROUND RUNNING. Yes, we have affirmation action here which is a very hot topic, co's still believe that the best person should he hired for the position(which they hire most of the time). If both candidates are equal then most companies will hire a minority.

Don't the locals get free housing , free water, subsidized Power, allowance per child, marriage allowance which I say is great on the part of the GOVT so maybe a 1000dhs can go a long way if you don't drive a 4x4 and buying things you can't afford so you can fit in.
You talk about exchange rate , say a worker gets paid 1000 dhs , deduct accomodation, eating, pocket money, clothing for one , if lucky they are sending back 500dhs, you try to explain how one supports a wife , elderly parents and kids on that where a pound of meat is may be 500 RPS. Trust me most of them are greatful to be there and its 500dhs they wouldn't earn back home but it does not give anyone the right to SCREAM at them. Take out your frustration on the system and the govt not the poor souls who earning their KEEP.

I don't understand why discrimination in any form is acceptable even if you are more upfront and open. People in the Ghettos have the same opportunity as any one else ,its sad people have to live in the Ghettos here but if you are hard working and skilled you do make it. Just look around the NBA , NFL the music Industry majority of the people are from the Ghettos.

09 August, 2005 21:59  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Affirmative action should only be used if both candidates score the same.

Otherwise, the government should educate and train the emirati candidate until he or she also scores 90%.

It will not benefit the UAE to replace expat staff with less competent local staff. Train the locals and help them complete equally, then they can take over with confidence that they can run things as well, if not better.

09 August, 2005 22:26  
Blogger Emirati said...

Okay hurricane,

contrary to popular belief, no one in the UAE is given free handouts from the government (as is the case for the UK poor). Child allowance is 300 dhs, negligible amount of money, water and electrcity have always been cheap on both locals and expatriates, and the rate discounted dont make more than 50 to 60 dhs more saving.

Also, only a small number of locals get free housing, the marriage allowance is going to be discontinued and was origionally paid 3 years into the wedding or more. Really this leave people here with no choice, women here, UAE nationals in fujariah are forced to work as taxi drivers, are you telling me we couldnt kick out a few lebanese reception workers and train these people to replace them instead of being taxi drivers ? A job as a receptionist is very easy, its just transferring calls and writing up logbooks, but the only ppl that seem to be getting such a job are the small number of arab foreigners who can barely speak any english that suck up to their local friends here.

such is an instance of getting your back turned on you by your fellow local, when a corrupt fat ass buisnessman would rather employ some moroccan hooker than help feed an emarati family in poverty in fujaira.

and lets talk about foreigners in HR departments, that feel threatened and bend the rules in order to fail or make it impossible for emaratis to join or they lie about things "Sorry that position is not available" when it is, and possibly is their position or their cousins/friends. This happens alot, happened to me once as well, I call etisalat for a job, ask the receptionist "What positions are you offering college students at night time", she tells me there are no vacancies its full of locals, but it turns out a bunch of jordanian acquaintances of hers that study in a university in ad have taken the job.

09 August, 2005 22:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD and Emirate:

I very much agree with this comment from Emirate:

No single demographic group from one country should be allowed to have a higher percentage than the Emaratis living here. It is simply a threat to the countries interests.

And this is what I meant by the word scary! It's not in the national interest of ANY country that a majority of its workforce are foreign nationals. Think of the regional political ramifications if there was a conflict between the predominant Asian population's home country and the UAE.

Hala asks:
Could it be because there are few other people/nationalities that would put themselves in that position-to be underpaid and overworked?

Underpayment should be remedied and not acceptable whether it's Asian or otherwise. The UAE government instituted a mandatory break period during the hottest part of the day and many companies complained about it. I wonder how many of those companies were foreign run or based. It seems to me, a very casual observer, there is plenty of worker abouse to go around on everyone's part, foreign and national, employee and government. I'm very disturbed there's a rumor that seems to imply the government of Dubai doesn't want people who earn 10k dh or less to live in the city. The UAE economy is built on this cheap labor and if we want to start somewhere, let's start with making salaries a little more realistic for the job, instead of these super cheap fares we have now!

09 August, 2005 22:58  
Blogger secretdubai said...

UAE nationals in fujariah are forced to work as taxi drivers

See - here's the problem Certain jobs are still perceived as being "beneath" emiratis. The average IQ in any developed country or ethnic group is approximately 100. Simply put: no matter how much you train and educate people, some of them simply aren't going to be fit for high-level, white collar jobs. If you put incapable people into positions of reponsibility, they will adversely affect the economy.

Until you take the stigma away from manual labour, and welcome job opportunities across the scale, you are not going to have successful nationalisation.

Omanis drive taxis. Bahrainis drive taxis. Once a critical masss of Emiratis drive taxis, the salary will be forced upwards to something more suitable (it's currently exploitative) and a lot of unemployed locals will have another reasonable job option.

09 August, 2005 23:46  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

Okay Emirati
How much do you think a receptionist gets paid ? 1500dhs and they have to put up with a lot of SHIT. Hotels knows that locals will not put up with that SHIT.Plus even being a receptionist needs a certain education level which someone driving a CAB does not have in my opinion.

I don't know about Abu Dhabi, but in Dubai locals don't pay for water and Power is subsidized heavily , locals pay 12 fils/watt and expats pay like 62 fils/watt. My source is a guy who works for DEWA, thats a FACT and I even asked the Indian once who came to take my meter reading.In the summer time the difference is hundreds and not 60dhs like you mentioned.
By the whats wrong in driving a cab, why don't they start emiritazation with Dubai transport because most who lack the education want a nice cushion JOB.

09 August, 2005 23:49  
Blogger Emirati said...

I never said it was beneath them secretdubai, so pls dont pin that emarati mentality stuff on me. I merely said that better and more paying jobs can be found that would lessen the financial hemorrage. btw, small typo in that, i was referring that women in fujaira were becoming cabbies.

10 August, 2005 00:02  
Blogger Emirati said...

Also this mentality you talk about is prevailent in teh west as well, in italy people refuse to work at the local mc donalds or even some jobs in the US and the UK need to be taken by the immigrants (note lots of cabbies in the US and the UK are arab and pakistani immigrants)

10 August, 2005 00:05  
Blogger Emirati said...

10 August, 2005 00:08  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I am not pinning it on you: but you cannot deny that there is a mentality here that looks down on manual labour, even highly skilled manual labour. There is no denying this attitude is prevalent in the West too. But the imbalance of local people-blue collar jobs is greater here. There are certain jobs that literally no local people will do. Because these jobs are done by expats, they are paid a pittance.

In the UK plumbers and electricians can earn a fortune: those could be great jobs for emiratis. Even childcare workers, brickies, porters are all often well-paid. It is really sad that local people here can't do those jobs: whether because they don't pay well enough, or because they look down on them.

10 August, 2005 00:11  
Blogger Emirati said...

Sure construction workers and plumbers in the US are paid far better than here one can make a fortune from working there as a construction worker. But like I said, the higher ups wont have it. They intentionally keep salaries for 'menial' labour low as to maximize on gain minimize on cost. To be honest the recent construction boom would not have been possible had the UAE paid workers here as well as they are paid in the US. This is in fact why the government subsidizes everything for everyone, no taxes, cheaper water than what should be paid, cheaper gas, etc. In raw economical terms per capita, the UAEs expansion capabilities as a result of keeping the costs of the basis of society low are one of the highest in the world.

This is why in the short term, 'menial' labour for emaratis will continue to be very hard to support a family with.

10 August, 2005 00:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear ya, emirati: many engineering and IT companies in US only hire cheapo H1-B workers, not citizens, because H1-B workers are way cheaper and far more tractable. (yet, companies petition lawmakers to let in more H1-B because there 'aren't enough US engineers,' which is total BS).

Also, in the US, ALL the farm labor(the worst kind, having done it myself once!!!) is done by latinos. You will NOT see a black or white man there! Step into 99% of restaurants in any remotely civilized area, and the kitchen staff, if not waiters, are all latino, and they're ALL illegal, and so there's no WAY a local can compete with their crappy wages.

I could adduce more examples, but basically the latinos of the US are the south asians of emirates. I think this is a fairly apt analogy.

10 August, 2005 06:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phirang's analogy is right on! The US has a "minimum wage" which employers get around by hiring people who don't qualify for it and who if they don't get it won't complain or petition for it from the government........ILLEGALS! So yeah, many Americans think working for 2 bucks an hour is beneath them because it is! They as well as every other worker should at least get double or triple law!! Employers in the UAE are probably thrilled they are not required to pay people a minimum wage so they exploit their workers by making them work for nothing. This is exploitation pure and simple and when employers flood the market with this cheap labor to the extent they have here in the UAE you can get the results we see here. The fact that workers accept this "slave labor" says something as much about them as the people who hire them.

10 August, 2005 08:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comparisons between the UAE, the UK and the US are useless: the reality here is so fundamentally different from any European/North American society. The rather childlike accusations that the one is better than the other reflects one of the main problems of this place, namely that a lot of "us" expats come with the misconceived idea that we know better.

Let's get the discussion back on track and focus on the problems that exist here: the fact that nationals feel discriminated by "whites", that "whites" feel discriminated by the nationals and that asians (in general with good reason) feel discriminated by both "whites" and nationals. Except for the fact that Africans so far are absent or only very moderately represented, it seems to me that the tensions in this society mirror the tensions of a globalized world. However, in this affluent and tiny society there should be a much better chance of resolving some of these issues.

Hence, rather than accusing each other's societies of having failed (they all have to some degree - that's the nature of a society), try to devote the energy to the pursuit of the various ways in which the discrimination (both the real and the perceived) between these groups be solved.

10 August, 2005 09:39  
Blogger Hurricane_ said...

I agree Latinos here are the same as South Asians in the UAE when its comes to cheap labor but thats as far the ANALOGY goes.Latino are far better off South Asians in the UAE. Their kids can go to public schools just like everyone else here. Even though they are ILLEGAL we( the American tax payer)pay for their medical bills if they ever have to go to the hospital.
Now coming to the point someone made about them working in restaurants ,farms etc etc. Since they are illegal they don't get taxed on their income, NO FEDERAL OR STATE INCOME OR SOCIAL SECURITY , they are paid in cash which they prefer.The establishments don't have to pay for Medical Insurance for these workers and keep them off the books, so ITS A WIN WIN situation for both parties unlike the UAE where only one side benefits.
Also Latinos are not brought to the US on a false pretence unlike the Asians in the UAE ,they know jumping the border from ARIZONA can get them SHOT and if they do make it what jobs they are going get. They are well educated in their country about it .UAE labor comes thinking they are going to get an electrician job paying 2000 dhs but end up digging ditches for 600dhs, Woman come thinking they will be receptionists and maids who are forced into being HOOKERS.Is the system PERFECT ?, no its not . Is it better than the UAE, you BETCHA.

10 August, 2005 16:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating discussion.

Above all the end and the exchange between the expats (I presume) and the emirati.

Of course as a financial economist I have to say there are quite a number of false "facts" being slung around in regards to developed markets (in both connexions), but no matter, very intriguing to see the underlying attitudes.

One substantive comment, I can't say I am particularly sympathetic to complaints from anglo expats in re the Hindlish and the like. They should be happy they don't have to do Arabic (although it does build character, ala kouli Hal).

10 August, 2005 21:05  
Blogger phirang said...

Where do you see flagrant fallacies in this thread? I'm just curious, not defensive :p

10 August, 2005 21:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would like to know from your economist point of view what are the fallacies you've seen in this thread? And oh, shouldn't it be, 'alhamdulilah ala kouli Hal'?

11 August, 2005 00:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face it guys! Western Expats are IMAGINED to be better qualified than any other race and these guys end up laughing all the way to the Bank! I mean come on! how may of the Western Expats can really afford a 3/4 bedroom villa+maid+car/s+++++ back in their own countries? face it, the Asians/Middle Eastern's work the hardest and get paid the least. Wake up UAE!! there are equally qualified folk around.

11 August, 2005 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boys boys, boys ......and Girls!

I must add my cooment after readin your many posts and say from my perspective if I may that the most racism I have faced, came from locals, both male and female locals think that they are above the law, civilisation and anything that considers itself social.

We must admit that if the Europeans and particularly the Brits, Ozzies etc.. behave the way they do it is because locals let them, try walking into a govt department and see the difference and how you are welcomed when you are European. If you are an Arab or an Indian, Khalli waaly you can fuck off and die.

Locals have got this fascination with Europeans , they want to be just like them......

But that will be one day, when they grow up, until then, everyone expect this behaviour everywhere you go.

And by the way, Emiratisation, yes My Ass!

12 August, 2005 00:45  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

A colleague of mine from Philadelphia came in to the office one day all worked up. He was mad as heck and started talking about hanging his passport around his neck.

He was black and said he was frequently mistaken as a Sudani or from Africa and therefore subject to substandard treatment.

A filipina friend said as a secretary in the UAE she earned as much a doctor in the Philippines. This is a powerful draw. Of course a woman from the UK, Oz, Europe, the States would earn more but it did not matter to my friend.

Forget about trying to sue unless your wasta is more substantial than the person whom you are suing.

16 August, 2005 00:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting blog!

I know that you are not a teacher but I am trying to find some realistic info on what an international teacher's life would be like in UAE (Dubai). The wages are said to be between $40,500 and 45,000 US with free accommodation included.
Really is this enough to have a "good" life? Money to travel and go out on a regular basis?
Any info would be great!!!!

16 August, 2005 23:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did some work for this emiratization company recently, some of you locals might be interested in.
Also, as Sheikh Zayed is key.

Jobs in Dubai is a scam. Lots of friends have tried it, with maybe 1% placement. They will take your processing fee and hold it as long as they can before you get fed up and ask for a refund.

Also if you aren't getting response from companies, try changing or adding a nickname to the resume. A couple friends have tried it and they have been getting more interviews now. Make it sound more "western" or even a celebrity name ;)

22 August, 2005 13:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wonder also about the situations of some locals here, they pushed to take an extra advantages of others without any proper reasons, but because they r locals, this we can understand its thier home , the government supported them, but how about another kinds of racism remarks or attitudes, u can find it in some british companies they only hire british from outside with the highest salaries comparing to other nationalities ( i wont understand why is that ) this is the most apply on british coming for work in this country.

this is some from alot of raised racism issues in gulf.

22 August, 2005 19:11  
Blogger NIDA said...


03 September, 2006 20:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Scam

Check it out...

While searching on their website, no employers or job postings exist but they say they are affilated with Bay't.

19 September, 2006 21:22  
Blogger kindman said...

let them enjoy, what ever they like

28 October, 2006 16:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I am an Indian English teacher in the States. I grew up in Dubai as a child but left when I was 11. I basically lived abroad all my life and even though English isn't my native language I speak just as well as an American. On top of that, I am a published writer of short stories and articles.

According to some schools qualifications for teaching English, you have to be a native speaker. What is the defintion of "a native speaker" Is that another word for white? So, would that automatically disqualify 4th generation Hispanics who grew up in the US, Black Americans, and Non-white Americans for instance?

Is a White American, who doesn't have a teaching degree or experience, more qualified simply because he or she has a white face?

Anyway, I am an American citizen with an Indian name. So what is that recruiter going to do? I'd like to know.

I think the discrimination is a result of post-colonial mentalities. If UAE really needs a good reputation and move forward they need to stop all of this... But like someone else said "That would be the day"

Another question: What is the status of women? I am married. But for a single woman is living in Dubai tough? Is there a major wage discrimination? I've known working women but I want to know how it is.

09 May, 2007 11:50  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Hi Indian Lady:

Womén's status is pretty good here. It's not equal - there are few laws that discriminate, I think women can't post bail for example (only a problem if your husband gets caught drunk driving or something) - but other than that things for western women are pretty equitable. It's also fine for both married and single women.

In terms of discrimination, most western companies will judge on skills, not face. With local companies it's a matter of chance. Some specifically want to buy a "white face" and pay more for this. I also have several very sad stories from Asian British people who got jobs over here and were then treated very badly. One guy was told his salary had to be reduced by two-thirds because he should be on an Asian payscale. When he pointed out he was British they hummed and haaed, and finally agreed to let him keep his salary, but he was so insulted that he quit the company. And who can blame him?

The fact that any kind of nationality or skin colour discrimination system exists at all is appalling, but it does exist, and is is very pervasive, and it would be naive to come here hoping that things will change quickly, because they won't.

09 May, 2007 12:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends

I am a experienced web/graphic designer in Sri Lanka who want to get a job in dubai, and i have tried through some web sites to post my CV to the employers in the GULF region. As the Jobs In Dubai website has lots of vacancies in my area of work I am interested in paying the sum they requested...but not 100% sure about their stability and reliability. Is this a another scam???..I need advice? their anyone who got caught in this scam site(if its a scam). Help me guys.

24 May, 2007 11:54  
Blogger Chris Bell said...

nice blog keep it up. I have also a blog related to Jobs in Dubai

18 July, 2007 13:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


08 August, 2007 07:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is a full fledged scan and I happen to be a victim who was swayed into paying the money for no response or leads for over two years now..they are not even responding to my repeated requests to refund the money...stay away from them...big time fraud guys exploiting the weakness of the internet...

27 August, 2007 16:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any jobs that appraoch you by email from - Ajman Oil & Gas company is a scam.
I learnt it today. Got my hopes all high with the salary being offered but flushed in no time.
Hope this will help you in case you are approached with such a situation.
Please do not give them your passport details and/ or any money tranfers.
All the best !

05 November, 2007 13:06  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Guys,
I have paid very close attention to most of the preceeding comments on differents faces of discrimination in the job market in UAE. Fortunately or unfortunately I happen to be an indian born american pp holder, a CPA, and 5 years experienced in companies like Deloitte and Goldman Sachs. What could my chances of striking a good compensation package in UAE be like ? Thanks.

28 July, 2008 17:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my friend was Born in this nice country and its so sad that he may have to leave this country if he do not accuire job after he complete his degree programme in this nice expensive country. Atleast in West he wold have been a national and wouldnt have to face this discrimination towards himself. This country was actually made by India and Pakistani national. But still these nantinals are spit upon. sure the locals should be more prefereed but what about people who are born in UAE and have been living and if do not get job due to racism in this country and go to a coutnry of fathers brithpace.

24 July, 2009 14:55  

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