Easy-way-out advice from RP Consulate in Dubai
Posted date: December 14, 2007

Eto po ay tunay kong karanasan. (This is a true experience of mine.) I was one of the recipients of so-called “public service” from our Consulate, when I started considering this office dead in helping us find solutions when this kind of labor dispute arises.
I started off last April 2003 and acquired a 3-year employment visa from a local company in Deira, Dubai. Unfortunately, I left the company for both professional and personal reasons that led to my “release.” It made me suffer a lot – reported as “absconding” if I did not sign all my cancellation papers and let myself be escorted directly to the airport to exit Dubai and go back to the Philippines. It was all such a terrible experience.

But a month after I left my old company, I was lucky enough to next get hired by a free-zone company and received an immediately-processed employment visa with an in-country local amendment, for which the immigration department area needed my original passport for final stamping. But my Dubai employer would not release my passport, advising me to meet the company PRO at the airport to get deported.

I immediately called our consulate office, seeking legal help or intervention on my case. I already had a visa ready for stamping. I needed help only on my passport that was still with my old employer.

You won’t believe what Atty. Cabe advised me over the phone after I told him my story, “Mahirap magkaroon ng problema dito sa UAE. At sa kalagayan mo na yan na ayaw ibigay sa yo ang passport mo, mas makabubuting umuwi ka na lang muna at bumalik ka na lang after six months – by that time tapos na ang ban mo. (It’s hard to have problems here in UAE. And in your situation where they won’t give you your passport, better that you go home meanwhile and return after six months. By then, your ban would be over.)”

I was so desperate. I was almost there. I didn’t follow Atty. Cabe’s advice. Instead went to our free-zone immigration department, telling them of the hard time my old employer was giving me on my passport. Despite my valid new residency, they wanted me out of UAE for good.

I was then advised to speak with Mr. Jafar, head of the government services section. I was surprised when he gave me a letter typed on official Media City Letterhead and written in Arabic, instructing my old company sponsor to immediately release my passport as I was already hired/ employed and sponsored by the government of Dubai. (Our visa is sponsored not by our employer but the government of Dubai.)

Looking back at what transpired, and what the personnel of my own government provided me as “support,” I knew I did a good job of fighting for what I believed was my right and due me. If I followed the categorically wrong advice, I would have suffered more. I need to support my kids and my family.

Knowing now what they will tell you in times of labor dispute like this, I can’t help but wonder – besides their having done nothing, what else can we expect from them? Are they good only at giving speeches at closing ceremonies, attending social functions, cutting ribbons and gracing inaugurations?

Surely there are a lot of things – major things with major issues – that our embassy officials need to face head on since that’s what they are here for and being paid for. They need to justify the people’s money – public funds allocated for their salaries in consonance with the services they’re supposed to provide.

Until our government is sincere in its promise to provide good governance and public service, we can expect our country and countrymen to suffer in agony.

We should be glad and proud that our peso is slowly gaining its value in the international market. But if we look at how the cost of basic needs in our country continues to rise everyday, surely there has to be something wrong in the equation because the rich gets still richer and the poor even poorer.

I’m just a common OFW. I work to feed my family the best I can, and always make sure to provide my employers the best service I can possibly give to justify the salary I receive every single day. Why can’t our officials do the same? Give the OFWs the best service they could possibly give, and not easy-way-out advice just to get rid of some paper work or not lose a lot of time studying one’s case and plight. When can we possibly attain sincerity from these people?

I pray that we, who came here so that our country will have enough dollars to use and abuse, be spared from extreme problems and hardships so that we may move forward and achieve success in our individual dreams for our families back home. I can say, Be brave, everyone, fight a good fight within your reasonable means. A lot of your kababayan are out here to support you.

But we do need good law practitioners here in Dubai who have enough knowledge of international law to share part of their time for their fellowmen in need – and with the courage to advise legal alternatives in case somebody needs them. The way our government officials are doing right now, I have this impression – “We are here if you’re not in trouble. If you are – not one minute do you have the right to stay Dubai. Better yet, go home!”

Rechille Arcain
Finance Manager, Dubai Media City
United Arab Emirates

Forwarded by Isabel Saguinsin (