Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Syrian and Egyptian expats at the bottom of the food chain

According to this, highest paid expats in the UAE are (in order):
Americans, Brits, SAfricans and Canadians

In the Arabic version of this story though, the report claims that the least paid are expatriates from: India, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt and Philippines

As an Arab, I am not surprised to see Syrians and Egyptians amongst the lowest paid in the UAE.

To start with Syrians, and with the exception of college educated and high skilled professions; like doctors and engineers, most younger Syrians flock to the GCC to score 5 years GCC residency. According to Syrian laws, a 5 year work residency in the GCC qualifies military drafts-to-be to be exempted from a the compulsory service in the Syrian Army. That, plus a $US 10,000/- government fee.

Sadly, most employers here know this and use it to force Syrian job seekers much lower wages than market standards. You'd be shocked to know how much some of these kids are willing to accept just to stamp a GCC visa and dodge the 2 year gig in the Syrian army.

As for Egyptians; I would say 2 main factors. 1) In the past few years, and with the help of a much talked about and an un-official restriction on bringing in more low-paid workers from the SubCon and Asia to the UAE. As a result, many construction companies shifted to the Egyptian market for cheap, low waged and relatively better skilled construction workers.

Many of them found their way here and are paid about $300 per month on average .

The other factor I would say is mainly functional. Egypt is known to host more talented and better trained in hospitality and food business skills. In Egypt, you have some of the best tourism/hospitality colleges. And the training they get in Egypt's tourist spots, make Egyptians even more attractive to hotels and restaurant operators here in the GCC.

However, and in case you didn’t know, restaurant workers (runners, waiters ..etc) and non-management hotel staff (front desk, waiters, housekeeping) are some of the most poorly paid jobs in the UAE. KFC, Pizza Hut ... etc). Don’t believe me, ask any Arab who works there.

Nontheless, maybe I should ask some of the Syrians and Egyptians I know/work with to take the survey in 2010; who knows, it might alter the scales a bit…


  • My friend got rejected from a job offer when they found out he was Syrian! It was a few years back.

    By Blogger KJ, at March 9, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

  • its all unfair isn't it?

    who knows you just have to keep your head up, hope for the best, and help otehrs when you can.

    sad to say though that our brethren egyptians and syrians get shafted so easily like that.

    By Blogger inmotion, at March 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

  • KJ, once and after passing all the interviews, the PA of the big honcho i was supposed to work for called and asked if i hold "another" passport... she had to withdraw the offer when I said no.. it was an american company too.

    inmotion - do you anticipate more nationalities to join the ranks here?

    btw, i have something that belongs to you - when u gonna pick it up?

    By Blogger moryarti, at March 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM  

  • I'm so sorry to hear on you past withdrawal, Mory.

    Honestly, such (pardon the French) f*** twits and surveys get me worked up, you can't even imagine! Man, when are 'we' (and I use 'we' loosely) as a nation going to grow up and see people for who they are? How many more light years of this BS must people be put through?

    My younger brother, a Columbia alum (GPA 3.4) got screwed when it came to compensation, because he was 'born' in the UAE and his mom is Indian (though his bassbort is UK and he's all 'white', unlike I) .... you know, our folks help built that tiny nation. I remember, back in the day, on occasions, when called on emergency cases, mom who (is a doctor) would walk from our home to the hospital in scorching heat 'cause she couldn't get a cab or her car was in the garage. There were so few doctors in the early 70's. Dad's travels hardly had him home for birthdays or graduations. Yes, of course, they didn't do it all on charity, however, they've always taken pride and an honest interest in their two cents worth of UAE rolling for a brighter future. I can share so many stories, but that's another post.

    Today, at the corporate HQ where I work, I'm amongst highest paid in category. I make more than most Americans, Brits (the firm is a Brit conglomerate) or Saffies. Hardly anyone gives a f*** about my 'bassport' or f***ing 'nationality'! My professional and educational credentials matter, which are pristine goddamn beyond amazing (or so says career evaluations and pay & bonus checks). I mad and I'm saddened on ways of working in the UAE. Sad stuff for mankind.

    By Blogger rosh, at March 9, 2009 at 11:44 PM  

  • ..sorry on the rant, can't help it sometimes!

    beace bro! :)

    By Blogger rosh, at March 9, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

  • I anticipate that the next in line will be the other arabs and then the arabs with passports ..

    i mean hello look at me?

    but im not complaining .. I just got an insane offer from a government company in Qatar so I'm doing ok just not liking the idea of leaving family that's all

    i'll pick it up when you invite me over for one of your famous bbq'ed burgers


    By Blogger inmotion, at March 12, 2009 at 12:13 PM  

  • umm.. inmotion gets an invite for home cooking and the rest of us (read me) don't?! I throw a pretty darn tantrum ya know..I also kidnap pets..neh..


    By Blogger rosh, at March 14, 2009 at 7:15 AM  

  • Rosh ... i love rants ...i used to rant all the times here and between you and I, i don't think i am ranting as much as i should be here. So, i am glad you are covering that gap....

    AND you do not need an invite. Just ping me whenever ur in town again, and we'll work something out ;)

    Inmotion - Glad you still got your mojo intact.

    And you are true most headhunters lurkin around to capture "talent" that didn't want or feel like leaving dubai to Qatar or Abu Dhabi... until now of course.

    And i concur with ur commments on "other arabs" ... i guess employers nowadays are setting their terms more than anyone else.

    I'd call you next time do burgers here :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at March 14, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

  • Rosh and inmotion gets an invite for home cooking????

    By Blogger marwan, at March 22, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

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