A small matter of business - A degree of unease
For most of my time in the UAE I have been a Follow-Up Clerk.
If you are not sure what this means or why I mention it, it relates to the job description on my visa. To have a designation on a visa such as manager one needs to show examples of a university degree education.
I finished school at 15 and made my way into the working world. Yes, I went back into education when I was 22 to change my career path, but my Diploma is not considered enough for my visa designation to be upgraded (as it were).
For the first time during my near decade in the UAE, this has become a problem.
Alongside my consultation and training services, I teach at a marketing institute.
This organisation needed me to travel to Saudi Arabia to teach students there.
It was a one day affair, fly in, teach, fly home.
Yet, it was only the day before I was due to fly that I got my visa for Saudi.
Why was it so difficult?
Because Saudi Arabia “doesn’t accept Follow-Up Clerks.”
Had it not been for a very persistent lady and a healthy dose of wasta (roughly translated as ‘influence’) I would not have boarded the plane.
I do not have an MBA, degree or a doctorate. I do however have 20 years work experience that came from a thoroughly decent state education.
But, in the UAE I cannot secure the right words on my visa because I do not have a piece of paper that says I deserve them.
This is a problem.
I have contributed to the UAE economy since 2003.
I hope to build a strong business here, hire people and impart my knowledge.
Will I be able to do this if I cannot travel?
I understand the UAE’s need to categorise expats – but there must be an answer.
Perhaps an aptitude test for those without an expensive piece of paper?
Because right now I have no other option than to spend money I don’t have on an expensive piece of paper I only really need for the purposes of a visa.
And that’s a problem.
For more info from Alan, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alan’s business has now been in operation for just over three months.