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Working in the United Arab Emirates

1. I AM INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, HOW DO I APPLY WITH WAITRE D’?

Waitre d’ Recruitment is currently recruiting for companies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates. If you are interested in working in this region, or you are already based there, irrespective of your nationality, you are welcome to email your CV to info@waitred.co.za along with a recent photo of yourself, either added to your CV or sent as an attachment. A member of our team will then assess your working experience in order to establish whether we can try and assist you with a suitable placement. If your experience matches what our clients are looking for, or may look for in the future, we will be in touch with you with information of how we suggest we proceed with your application. If you are already based in the UAE, we may be able to set up one on one interviews with our clients. Candidates situated outside the UAE may be asked to conduct a Skype interview and others, particularly the entry level staff situated in Southern Africa, will be invited to attend a free presentation and introductory interview, which are conducted in various cities within South Africa and Namibia.

If you are invited to a free presentation, we will provide you with a list of the application requirements (please see question below). Try and put these items together and bring them with you on the day. Online applicants will be asked to email their requirements to us, and these may differ from the requirements below. The sooner we have your application requirements, the sooner your CV and other requirements will be placed onto our database and we can start looking for a suitable position for you.

2. WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS?

This is a brief list. When putting together your application requirements, you must please refer to the more detailed information in Point 18 below.

  1. 1 x copy of your comprehensive CV – UPDATED TO PRESENT.
    Including at least 2 signed Reference Letters & copies of all Certificates/Diplomas
  2. 1 x clear copy of your passport – in colour.
    (If you do not have a passport, APPLY for one now. Current passports must be valid for at least 12 months)
  3. 2 x full-length colour photos plus 1 x head-and-shoulders photo
  4. 2 x colour passport photos on a pure white background

Medical check-up – is required only if you are offered a contract.
Police clearance – is required only in certain circumstances in the UAE, and should not be applied for unless requested.

3. CAN I ATTEND A PRESENTATION EVEN IF I DO NOT HAVE ALL MY DOCUMENTATION AND PHOTOS?

Yes you can. Many candidates do this, in order to ‘check us out’ before handing over their Application Requirements. The most important thing is that you attend the presentation, fill in an Application Form and then have your individual one-on-one meeting with the recruiter from Waitre d’. After that, you can email your Requirements to us at Head Office in Cape Town. If you are still waiting for your passport, forward the rest of the Application Requirements in the meantime. Please do not wait until you receive a contract before applying for a passport. While there is no guarantee that you will be offered a position, if you are and you do not have a passport, this can slow down the recruitment process and could exclude you from being considered for some positions.

4. WHO MAY ATTEND THE FREE PRESENTATIONS?

The free Presentations are mostly aimed at single entry level candidates, with no dependants, between the ages of 20 – 30 years of age and some management from 30 plus. If you fall within these age groups and you are interested in working in the United Arab Emirates, then please contact us and we will be able to give you an idea of whether or not we can assist you, before you apply. We used to specialise only in the hotel/restaurant industry and still recruit a large percentage of staff for the hospitality industry, however over the years we have diversified into other industries such as retail, fashion, health and fitness, beauty, marketing and events, medical (namely paramedics), safety (lifeguards) and various other industries.

If you are keen to work through Waitre d’, please contact us to make enquiries or book for the next free presentation. Although the presentation is free for you, we have to pay for the conference facilities, so we do need to know how many people will be attending. If you have friends or family who are also interested in attending, they are welcome as long as you inform us, and there is sufficient seating.

5. DO I HAVE TO ATTEND THE PRESENTATION & BE INTERVIEWED?

Every candidate who applies with our agency must be interviewed in one way or another. Senior management do not have to attend Presentations, however for entry level candidates, attending a Presentation is a great benefit, particularly for those who have not travelled overseas before.

In order for you to make an informed choice, you must get as much information as possible from us and from conducting your own research. We also meet all our candidates individually after the presentation, for a short one-on-one introduction. Presentations are held regularly in most of the major cities in South Africa.

Many of our candidates do not live in South Africa and are already based in the Middle East. For those interested candidates living outside South Africa, we can discuss alternative ways of arranging interviews.

6. DO THE EMPLOYERS PREFER A CERTAIN AGE GROUP?

Most of the Employers prefer the entry staff to be at least 20 years of age. This is because the candidate should have some experience for the position offered, as well as be emotionally mature enough to cope with the relocation, being away from family and friends and accepting the difference in other cultures. Maturity is normally related to life experience as opposed to age, so it is more about the person and their ability to adapt to new environments that will be more of a consideration.
Most of our placements are in the 20 – 30 age groups. Management roles for over 30s are very sought after and the employer often requires previous overseas experience. While Employment Visas can be legally obtained for those in their 60s, our clients generally do not recruit beyond the age of 40, however this depends entirely on the role. This is a general idea and there are no hard and fast rules. It all depends on the employers’ needs and what they are looking for.

7. WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED IN APPLYING FOR A POSITION?

We do not charge an application or registration fee, nor do we charge for presentations or interviews, or a recruitment fee for securing a position for you, as this fee is paid by our clients. Once we have your Application Requirements, we will then start looking for a suitable position for you. If you are offered a contract you will be required to do a basic pre-employment medical examination and some tests at your expense. There are no further costs involved in the recruitment process.

8. HOW LONG DOES THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS TAKE?

Once we have received all your Application Requirements, your details will go onto our database. Our role as an agent is to try and match your experience with what our clients are looking for. We cannot estimate how long this process will take and although it is in our best interests to help as many people as possible, we unfortunately cannot find work for everyone who applies.

Once you have applied/been interviewed, all we ask of you is that you are honest with us. If you are not serious about your application, if your family does not want you to go, or if for some reason you change your mind, please inform us immediately, as it is unprofessional of us, and a waste of precious time, to put CVs forward of candidates who are no longer interested or available. Please remember that it could take a couple of months before you could be placed. As it is not possible for us to keep in constant contact with you, please be assured that we are working to find a position for you and will contact you as soon as we have any news.

If you do receive a contract from one of our clients, it usually takes about a month to receive an Employment Visa for you. There are ways to get visas faster, however as most people need to give a month’s notice, the employer will try and time the visa to be ready around the agreed departure date. Once your visa has been issued, it is usually only a matter of days until your flight is arranged and your departure details forwarded to you.

9. HOW LONG ARE THE CONTRACTS FOR?

Most of the contracts are open ended, which means they are not fixed term and require 30-days notice to be given to the employer but some are still 2 year contracts with an option to renew. If however, you want all the free benefits associated with your contract e.g. free joining air ticket, visa, accommodation, meals, medical, uniform etc., in most cases, you will be required to stay with the same company for at least one year.
Many of the costs incurred by your employer are written off during the first year and if you resign after 12 months of service, most companies will require that you pay only for your air ticket back home, if you are not entitled to a free return ticket, at the time of resignation. Senior staff generally receive a free annual air ticket home, either a one way ticket if they have resigned, or a return ticket if they are returning to work for the same company, after their annual leave. Entry level staff, usually receive a free air ticket after two years of service, however it must be emphasized that the staff are entitled to go on paid annual leave and purchase their own air ticket. Some people believe that because they only get a free air ticket after the second year, that they are not allowed to leave the country during this time, and this is not correct. Everyone is entitled to annual leave.

10. IF I RESIGN, CAN I THEN LOOK FOR ANOTHER JOB?

The answer to this is not straightforward. Employers invest a lot of time and money in bringing staff over to work for them and you need to be aware that there is no free labour market which allows you to job hop, even if you are prepared to work your notice period and pay back your costs. Employment visas can be obtained by companies in different ways – through Immigration or the Labour Department. If your Employment Visa has been obtained through Immigration it may allow more flexibility than through the Labour Department, which can be stricter. Even if you complete a year of service, your Employment Visa conditions may not allow you to find another position and swap your visa. In some instances you could get a ban on your passport, which means that you will not be allowed to reapply for another visa for an average of 6 months, but this could be more. Find out what your personal circumstances are before you resign. Your current employer may provide you with an NOC, which is a letter allowing another company to become your new Sponsor. It is a complicated matter which takes a lot of issues into consideration, so make sure you know where you stand before deciding to change your job once you are there.

11. WHAT HAPPENS IF I RESIGN WITHIN THE FIRST 12 MONTHS?

Depending on the terms of the contract you have signed, and how long you have worked for, you will probably need to pay back all your costs, which can be estimated at approximately R15 000, or a rate pro rata – in other words, the longer you have worked there for, the less you will pay. The terms of your contract should clearly outline all this information. We encourage everyone to accept this agreement with a positive attitude and try and complete at least one year.

You will not be held a ‘prisoner’ if you have not done anything against the law. If you resign, give the correct amount of notice required, pay your costs and purchase an air ticket, they will cancel your visa in your passport and you will be free to leave. You need to be aware that unless an arrangement has been made, you cannot resign from one company and go and work for another, as your present employer is your sponsor and it is his name or the company name on your visa. Visas are only transferable under special circumstances and with the permission of the employer, Immigration or Labour Department. In most cases, if you resign you will have to leave the country and there could be a ban placed on your passport, which means you will not be able to return for at least 6 months.

Please note that if you abscond i.e. run away, it is very likely that you will be blacklisted and will never be allowed into the country again, so you need to consider the long term implications of doing something which may affect the application of visas in your future, even as a tourist.

12. IF THERE IS A FAMILY EMERGENCY CAN I RETURN HOME AND GO BACK TO MY JOB?

This depends upon your employer and the conditions of your contract, as well as the nature of the emergency and how long you intend staying away for. We have not heard of any problems in obtaining emergency leave and employers are usually very understanding and compassionate in the case of death or serious illness or accident. In most cases you would need to fund your trip home, as well as provide some reassurance or surety that you will be returning. The employer may require verification from the South African Embassy or family doctor that it is in fact an emergency.

13. WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION WILL I GET AND DO I SHARE WITH OTHERS?

For the majority of people, the type of accommodation and the location is extremely important. Most of the companies we work with provide their entry level staff with free, furnished accommodation and cover the cost of utilities such as water and electricity. Some companies may provide an accommodation allowance in certain circumstances. Your job title will dictate what type of accommodation you will be offered. Senior staff usually receives their own room, studio or apartment, depending on their position and type of accommodation the company offers. Entry level staff usually share same sex accommodation, with an average of two staff members per room. Sharing should be seen as a way to make friends and develop a support system.

The type of accommodation can vary greatly from one company to the next, however all accommodation offered is basically furnished, basic bed linen is provided and kitchen ware, if you have a kitchen. You may want to add some items at your own expense, for your own comfort, once you are settled and can establish what you need or want. Only you can make it look like a home.

14. I HAVE A PARTNER, CAN WE GO TOGETHER?

It is very difficult to place a couple, whether they are married or not, even if they are in the same industry. Everyone who applies needs to apply as an individual and be prepared to go at different times to different companies. If it works out that they can depart at the same time, then that is a bonus and we have placed lots of couples with this understanding. Most companies have a policy not to employ couples or family members anyway, so in most cases it is out of the question. We are also not prepared to have a contract turned down by a candidate because the partner has not been offered anything yet.

Couples in junior positions wishing to live together could rent their own accommodation outside of the staff accommodation, but it is expensive and although some companies may provide a living out allowance, it may not be sufficient to cover the entire cost of your rent and utilities. Please note that it is against the law in the UAE for unmarried couples to live together.

Family packages offered to married candidates with children are virtually unheard of these days and usually only offered to extremely senior management. For entry level staff it is not advisable to apply if you have children, irrespective of whether you intend leaving them behind or not.

15. ARE THE DRESS CODES VERY STRICT?

Firstly, there is not a lot of difference between what you will wear there and what you wear in your own country. The Middle East is a big region and not all countries have the same strict dress regulations. The UAE is quite accepting of Western dress styles whilst they do ask that their customs be respected. Most companies in the Hospitality Industry provide their staff with uniforms and expect their employees to be very well-groomed and smart, much like air and ship crew. Companies outside the hospitality industry usually require you to wear your own smart office wear. Irrespective of the industry, most companies have grooming standards, which may include that males be clean-shaven and have neat hair. Women will mostly be required to tie their hair up or wear it neatly off their face and to wear some make-up whilst on duty. Some stand-alone restaurants and nightclubs may adopt a more casual attitude to dress and appearance. Every company sets their own standards and you will be informed what these are.

Off duty, the dress code can be quite casual and relaxed, depending on where you are. As a Westerner you will not be required to cover up or wear the traditional dress worn by the Muslim women and men, however you should be respectful towards people of the Arabic culture and not wear skimpy clothes and beach gear in the city, in the malls or around religious places of worship. It is advisable to take advice from people who are already based there, or have been there, rather than listen to those who may not have all the facts.

The temperature in Dubai can get extremely high, often between 38 to 50 degrees Celsius in summer, so light fabric is preferable, but it can get chilly though in the evenings during the winter months, so do not forget to take some warm clothing. We will give you some advice on “What to Pack”, should you receive a contract.

16. ARE THESE AREAS IN THE MIDDLE EAST SAFE – ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN?

Yes, it is extremely safe in the UAE. A large percentage of our candidates are placed in Dubai, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. When it comes to safety, women have a lot more freedom there than they do here. We have received numerous emails and calls from our candidates over the years and we have a very large Facebook Group and we can honestly say that we have never had any reports of any incidents of girls being treated in an inappropriate way. The women say they walk around at night with friends and never feel afraid. While the crime rate is extremely low, we do advise you not to become complacent and forget general safety rules.

17. IF I AM OVERWEIGHT, WILL I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO FIND A JOB OVERSEAS?

In most cases yes, but it does depend on how overweight you are and the position you are applying for. Generally, the employers are looking for experienced, well-groomed, healthy, fit and attractive staff, of normal weight – just like the airlines and cruise ships. Whilst we can get into a debate about it being a superficial world and how unfair it may be, this is what the employers are looking for and are not policies set by us. You do not have to be a model or beauty queen, but a fit healthy image is very important and those candidates of normal weight will find it easier to obtain employment.

18. DETAILED LIST OF THE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  1. 1 x copy of your comprehensive CV – UPDATED TO PRESENT.
    Including at least 2 signed Reference Letters & copies of all Certificates/Diplomas you may have.
    Your CV must contain the dates you have worked at your places of employment and as much information as possible regarding your duties performed. Start with your current job and work backwards. Salaries and reasons for leaving should not be added to your CV, however clients sometimes request this information on their application forms at a later stage.
    References – please give us at least 2 references from different companies or 1 Company and 1 Character reference from a professional person, school, church etc.
  2. 1 x clear copy of your passport – in colour (If you do not have a passport APPLY for one now. Current passports should be valid for at least 12 months, at the time of receiving a contract, otherwise apply for a renewal). Whilst there are no guarantees that you will be offered a position, if you are offered a contract, you must have a passport in order to apply for a visa. You do not need a passport before you apply through us, however you should start the process ASAP and not wait until you receive a contract. Temporary passports are no longer acceptable.
  3. 2 x full-length* colour photos plus 1 x head-and-shoulders photo of yourself. One full-length photo can be of you dressed business smart i.e. jacket and tie for males, jacket pants/skirt for females, and the other, more trendy/casual. If you wear a uniform to work, you are welcome to wear that for the photographs. (Chefs – photos of yourself, taken in the kitchen, always look good. You can include photos of your food and menus). Management and Corporate applicants must look smart in their photos.*Full-length means that you should be photographed from your head to your toes. The size of the actual photo can be a normal 10 x 15 cm photo, not A4 size!Poor quality digital photos are not recommended. Clients will see these photos and judge you on your presentation and effort you have made. If you are asking someone to take your photos, please be aware of the background. Outside photos often look better than ones of you standing in front of a white wall, couch, fridge or chair. We highly recommend that you go to a studio to have your photos taken. Shop around for the best prices. Blurred photos with heads half chopped off are not suitable.
  4. 2 x colour passport photos – also business smart, so wear a jacket or long sleeve shirt or blouse. Although ladies are not required to ‘cover-up’, please do not wear plunging necklines in your photographs. These must be proper passport photos with a pure white background taken at a photographic shop/chemist/studio against a screen, as they understand what the requirements are. Please do not have them taken against a wall and scan them onto ordinary paper. Selfies or photographs taken on a smartphone will not be accepted for visa applications, should you receive a contract.

• You would need to complete a Medical Examination ONLY once you have been offered a contract.

19. I UNDERSTAND THAT I WILL BE REQUIRED TO DO A PRE-EMPLOYMENT MEDICAL, ONCE I HAVE RECEIVED A CONTRACT. WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?

You will be given a form and instructions at the time of receiving your contract. You will need to visit a G.P. of your choice for a general check up and be sent for the following tests:

  1. Chest x-ray – to establish whether you are free of TB. Only the report needs to be submitted.
  2. Blood tests for:
    HIV – Candidates who test positive for HIV will not qualify, as they will not get a visa.
    Hepatitis B Surface Ag (HbsAG) – Candidates who test positive for Hepatitis B will also not qualify.
    RPR & T PALLIDUM IgG (STD’s) – these tests would need to be negative.

No other tests are required at this time.