Expats. Are we safe?

Posted on May 19, 2010


This is a blog post about job security. During a recession, we’re more likely feel unsettled in our jobs. With unemployment rising, its always a fear that you might end up a statistic. If you’re an expat working in the Gulf, the implications of losing your job are worse than at home and yet we don’t have the protection that many of us enjoy in our home countries. Usually if you are on a contract that is more than a few months, you have certain employment rights with regard to security of your job. If you are dismissed or simply don’t have your job renewed you are entitled to a full explanation and you can even take your employer to court for wrongful dismissal if things are done in an underhand way. There are laws that protect employees from bad HR practices.

However, such laws don’t exist in Bahrain or if they do, its very hard to get them enforced if you’re an expat. I know of people who have been dismissed with no explanation, given hardly any time to pack up and go home. You can easily fall foul of company politics here and as an expat you’re vulnerable. Shifting sands mean that one day you could be your boss’s star employee only to find the next day you have a new boss who doesn’t like you. Such things do happen in the west but like I said, you do have rights and a certain level of protection.

Whats the reason behind this post? Well firstly, I think that expatriate staff should be given protection against becoming victims of politicking, especially those who have been hired to make  controversial decisions. It is always easy to shoot the messenger when the message itself has come from way up on high. Secondly, for all expats working here in Bahrain and in the Gulf in general, please bear in mind that you don’t have the protection and rights that you might have back home. Make back up plans and make sure you’ll never be destitute if the worse comes to the worst because sometimes, simply doing your job well doesn’t guarantee you job security. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person and it could all start to go horribly…… wrong