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Created by Muhammad imran A. Sheikh: Feb 25, 2016 8 replies
Expatriates coming to Saudi Arabia and GCC

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Muhammad imran A. Sheikh: Feb, 25, 16
I am posting this for new expatriates coming to Saudi Arabia. As working in Gulf is different and it is almost common in neighboring Countries.

1. Here contract jobs are offered; which may be terminated at any time.
2. Always ask and keep a signed copy of contract stating all conditions outright and nothing in verbal.
3. Expatriates have the only rights which are written on the contract.
4. Contract papers have one side English Translation as well as Arabic.
5. Expatriates from Arabic Speaking countries are nearer to management; mostly Egyptians are working on key posts.
6. Sometimes one has to hear & bear unexpected attitudes due to wrong feedback.
7. Here seniors and juniors are treated at equivalent by management. Never expect respect due to seniority only benefits.
8. Never afraid if you are right as you may get justice from top management.
9. Any disagreement between employer and employee may be raised in labor court. But try to avoid it as you will get justice but loose the job.
10. Expatriates get salary and benefits as per their passport not upon academic credentials. However attractive for all nationalities.
11. $48,000 to $60,000 USD, tax free annual salary, free medical insurance, 40 working hours per week, lessons lasts 40-60 minutes.
12. Residence and transport are provided by the employer otherwise they pay for it. Free 04 return air tickets. End of contract gratuity bonus.
13. Annual paid leaves, bonus and increments are offered each year or as per contract.
14. There is a great difference between Expatriates and Locals salaries & benefits.
15. Living in Saudi Arabia is cheaper than other Gulf countries. Food items are subsidized by the government generously.
16. Apartment rental is also cheaper however living in compound is costly.
17. Women have to observe Abaya in public and working place.
18. Women are not allowed to drive.
19. Crime ration is very low.
20. People are good and friendly.

Further queries are welcome.
John Vitols: Feb, 28, 16
Is there an age limit for working in Saudi Arabia and is UK citizenship, experience and TEFL sufficient?
Muhammad imran A. Sheikh: Mar, 2, 16
Well Mr. John Vitols, upper age limit is 60 years, Yes it's sufficient.
John Mccarthy: Apr, 12, 16
Dear Mr. Muhammad imran A. Sheikh,
I'm almost 60 years old.
I'm an American living in Thailand, teaching English online for a Chinese company.
Are online teachers legal in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf nations?
I never see any adverts for teaching online to Gulf States.
I'd like to teach children.
Thank you,
Magnette Coetzer: May, 12, 16
Dear Mr. Muhammad Imran A. Sheikh,

I would really appreciate some information on teaching in Saudi Arabia. Would you recommend that one teaches in a bigger town / city as an expat?

What standard of accommodation can one expect, and what are the teaching conditions like?

I have a TKT Certificate and a B-A. Degree, which I was required to do for Berlitz, when I taught in Germany. I am a mother tongue English speaker, with many years experience in training communication skills to corporate clients, teaching English at all levels, as well as many years in senior positions in the TV / Film industry, marketing experience, and teaching Business English.

I do not, at this point, have TEFL or TESOL qualifications. Does my experience count for a good job offer to teach adults / university students? Or is a TEFL / TESOL qualification necessary?

As a woman, do I need to always wear a hijab or head covering and abaya in public ad when teachig. Or abaya only?

As a foreign woman, would I be allowed to drive?

Is there a social life at all, with other expats / teachers / locals? What opportunities are there to explore / travel over weekends or short breaks. Drawbacks and highlights? As a woman, I may choose to go on my own for a year, or go with my husband who is a Muslim.

Could my husband expect to find a job opportunity in Saudi Arabia? (He has a B.Comm Degree, and speaks Arabic (Mother Tonge), French (2nd Mother Tongue) English and German (Good level).

What visa issues could one experience? (He is Algerian on an Algerian passport, and I have dual citizenship: German and South African passports. Which one would you recommend I use when applying?

Any advice would be most welcome. I am a woman, in y 40's, from South Africa.

Many thanks in advance.

Kind regards,

Ms. Magnette Coetzer

Muhammad imran A. Sheikh: May, 31, 16
Dear Mr. John Mccarthy,

First I am sorry to reply you late. Well; you look young and energetic; teaching to children will add more. Yes teaching online is legal in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Countries if you teach from some other country.

If you reside in Saudi Arabia and teach online then you need approval from concerned authorities. In Saudi Arabia one can only do the job which is written on the Iqama (Profession on Residence Permit). The Government Authorities regularly check and monitor it; if someone is found doing job other than written on the Iqama then big problems have to face.

We do not see adverts for teaching online because it is least needed here. In Saudi Arabia there are many well equipped and big Universities like Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University, King Saud University, Prince Sultan University, King Faisal University etc all of them hardly have 40-50% enrollment besides Arab Open University (Distance Learning University).

If more information is needed you are welcome.

With Best Wishes and Regards.
Muhammad imran A. Sheikh: May, 31, 16
Dear Ms. Magnette Coetzer

I am grateful for your kind compliments. You have many questions and queries; I am replying accordingly.

Yes I recommend expats to teach in Saudi Arabia either in Big or small City/ Town; both have benefits; one get more salary in small City/ Town; usually 3-10 Thousands more Saudi Riyals per month; depending upon entity.

Family accommodation is provided including utility bills sometimes in Compound; salary and fringe benefits depend upon the entity. No specific and discriminating conditions for teachers; Working 8 hours per day except Ramadan (6 hours per day); weekly two off (Friday & Saturday); Summer Vacation; Winter Vacation etc besides annual paid leave vacation with family air fare (Four Air Tickets including Husband,Wife and Two Kids).

Well, good qualification but instead of "Teaching Knowledge Test(TKT)"; TEFL & TESOL are commonly asked.

You have a plus point of having nationality of English Speaking country "South Africa" and English as your mother tongue. I think that in the scenario of your experience; you have bright chances to get a good job as "English Teacher" in University\ College\ School in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Countries.

Yes being in Saudi Arabia you have to observe dress code in public and during teaching (Abaya and head covering; however face covering is optional for expats. Here mostly Saudi women cover face and use hand gloves also). Other Gulf countries are relaxed in dress code.

No woman is allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia either local or expat; may be in future government relax and grant permission.

Social life in Saudi Arabia depends upon your mutual understanding with your teachers, colleagues, neighboring expats and locals.

Saudi Arabia has a lot of historical places, desert life, many beaches and also have road link with neighboring countries. You may enjoy sight seeing by road travelling and air fare is also cheap. If you get a job and residence permit; then you may travel over weekends or other holidays through Saudi Arabia even in neighboring countries.

Yes it is up to you to choose to come alone or with family. Singles are offered combine accommodation mostly.

Drawbacks and highlights? I experience that living is Saudi Arabia is very cheap in comparing other Gulf Countries, one can have good savings within few years. If both husband and wife get good jobs then ideal.

There is no problem being a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Everyone has to observe local law and regulations; no relaxation to Muslims and no force to non-Muslims.

Your husband has better chances to get a good job because B.Comm and related experience has scope in banking, financial entities, Industrial organisations, schools, universities and many other sectors; they all need bilinguals (English and Arabic).

Speaking Arabic, French and German is a unique and rare combination. He has greater scope to get a good job of a translator in embassies, business entities etc.

In the scenario of your future job prospects being English Teacher, "South African" Passport is best option; For your husband "German" Passport is best otherwise "Algerian" passport is ok. In Saudi Arabia salary and benefits are given on the basis of Passport and Nationality not on experience and qualifications.

Retirement age is 60 years; after 60 years of age expats are not allowed to work because residence permit (Iqama will not be renewed).

If you need more information and guidance; you are welcome. God Bless you.

With Best Wishes and Regards.
Lorraine billo: Oct, 23, 17
One question, Sir. Do you think that Saudi Arabia will raise the age of expatriate teachers? I have been reading a bit about the difficulties arising due to the restrictions on hiring of foreign teachers. The articles do not specifically address age, and it is clear that many educators under the age of 60 are available, but might there be some new regulations?
As I understand, there are two schools of thought on this issue.
I have previously taught at Princess Nora University from 2012 to 2015, and have had several interviews for Saudi educational institutions, since. However due to age restrictions, I am not able to secure a position.