Wednesday, 18 November 2009

New job in Dubai ends in jail time

This story seems to back up something I heard recently about a New Zealander, here in the UAE on a week's holiday.  He went to visit a friend at their Dubai office.  The friend had to leave the office briefly and told the Kiwi to sit at the friend's desk and surf the internet to fill in time while he waited.  During the friend's absence, the immigration guys arrived for a spot check, something which happens in Dubai fairly regularly.  They saw the Kiwi "working", checked his passport which showed a tourist visa and arrested him for working illegally.  No explanations were accepted and the Kiwi ended up in jail for several weeks until his release could be arranged.
Source: 7 Days 17 Nov 09
Two British real estate agents have been jailed for working without visas just days after starting new jobs in Dubai.
Nick Awalski and David Wynn have now been in Al Aweer jail for three weeks after they were found working on tourist visas.
Awalski had been at his new company just two days when he was nabbed in a visa raid.
A close friend said she was shocked by the arrests and said she hoped it wasn’t the start of a clampdown on foreigners.
“I don’t understand it. Everyone works on a tourist visa while their papers are being sorted out.
Nick and David never intended to break the law,” she said.
Both were arrested in the reception area of the company after labour officials posed as clients wanting to buy an apartment.
Awalski’s heartbroken mother has flown in from the UK to visit him in jail.
“His family aren’t taking it well, they are heartbroken and very worried about his future,” the friend said.
Awalski had previously worked for a major Dubai property company, while Wynn had just arrived from the UK for the new job.
“They had left it to the company to sort out their paperwork, like everyone does,” the friend said.
Wynn, 27, from Reading and Awalski, 30, from London, are due to appeal their conviction and deportation at a hearing scheduled for November 24.
Their lawyer, Abdullah Al Nassar, confirmed that the two men had only just begun working when they were jailed and said it should never have happened.
“It’s just really bad luck,” he said, adding there was no set time limit for companies to obtain work visas and that many employees go for weeks or months without the correct work visas.
An official from the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs confirmed that there is no set time limit for companies to obtain work visas but said that they should file early to avoid legal problems.
He said he could not comment on individual cases.

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