PROGRAM UNIT PDO 205: Destination Country
Session 1: Know your Destination Country
Session 2: Country Profile
Session 3: Problems Migrant Workers May Face
PROGRAM UNIT PDO 205: Destination Country
|Suggested Total Duration: 10 Hrs.
|Session 1: Know your Destination Country
|Session 2: Country Profile
|Session 3: Problems Migrants May Face
By the end of the module, participants should be able to:
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of the environment they are likely to face while living and working in the various destination countries.
- Express an understanding of social and legal norms they are expected to follow.
- Explain the cultural, living and working conditions in the COD.
- To enable the trainees to have better knowledge of the country of destination.
- To have an idea of the COD’s geographical location, climate, and distance from home.
- To appreciate the religious values, culture, and behavior of the destination country.
- To recognize the offenses and penalties in the country of destination.
|1 hr General Information
1 hr General Conduct
1 hr Things to Note
|Methodology: Presentations, and guest speakers.
|Facilitator Materials: Flip charts, markers, and video clips specific to COD.
|Participants Materials: Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.
- Deliver a presentation on the specific COD the migrant workers are going to.
- Share videos of the key features and various documentaries on the COD.
KEY SESSION READING MATERIALS
Know your Destination Country
Explain the work-related and general conduct norms in the countries of destination with example of the GCC countries.
- Wherever they migrate to, migrant employees are regulated by labor laws, which vary from country to country.
- Make sure you know the basic labor laws of your destination country and your rights and limitations in that country, including the responsibilities of the employer, as per the agreement/contract.
- You are allowed to work in the destination country if you have a work permit; you are not allowed to work for anyone else unless your employer/sponsor gives you permission, in which cases the new employer will be your new sponsor.
- In some countries, you need to have worked for one sponsor for at least two years before you get a new job. The rules vary from country to country. Please verify from your Recruitment Agency or friends or even co-workers on this issue.
- Some countries’ workers are organized in labor unions, and the unions have an active role in the welfare of employees. However, in the GCC countries, the activities of unions are banned or limited in one way or another. Obtain country-specific details from your employer or PRA.
- Disputes in most cases are settled between the employee and the employer. You should find out about the rules on workers’ disputes and complaints from the MGLSD before you leave Uganda. In case you fail to resolve a compliant with your employer, contact the PRA or Uganda Mission and log a complaint on the mission’s portal for the necessary advice.
- Each country has its own restrictions and regulations when it comes to public life. Please be aware of the same and prepare well in advance to settle in properly.
- It is best to dress modestly while outside. Some countries are particularly strict about clothing, especially for women. Hence, make sure you find out about the restrictions in the country you are going to before you leave Uganda.
- In countries such as Saudi Arabia, avoid public displays of affection since they are generally frowned upon there and you might get into trouble.
- Many GCC countries ban pork and pork items. Be cautious of restrictions on food, beverages, clothing, and drinking. You must strictly adhere to local norms, values, and practices.
- In many Arab countries, it is not polite for men and women to interact in public unless they are related in some way. Rules in this regard are particularly strict in Saudi Arabia. Keep your distance unless the other person comes to you first. Especially with women, it is a good idea to wait until you are introduced before you initiate a conversation, as it might otherwise be seen as rude.
- In most Gulf countries, there are strict rules about being drunk in public. Laws on buying and drinking alcohol vary from country to country.
- Be aware of the restrictions during the holy month of Ramadan with regard to strict observance of local cultural practices in GCC countries.
Things to Note
- Note down the contact details of the Uganda Mission in the country of destination you are working in, as well as of the local police and other helplines available for migrant workers. Migrants will be availed with a migrant’s information handbook.
- In case your employer mistreats or abuses you or you are not being paid your regular salary, you can approach the local authorities and also contact the Labor attaché at the Uganda Mission in your country of destination. You can also submit your grievances on the complaints portal.
- Do not sign any contract without understanding all the clauses included in it. Also, do not sign any blank piece of paper.
- Keep all your original documents with you. Your employer is not allowed to keep your passport or other documents in his custody. They can only be kept with your consent.
By the end of this session, participants should be able to:
- Understand the religious, family and behavior values of the COD.
- Be aware of the important celebrations and public holidays of the COD.
- Recognize the offenses and penalties.
- Have easy communication tips.
|Country Profile – United Arab Emirates
Country Profile – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Country Profile – Kingdom of Bahrain
Country Profile – State of Qatar
Country Profile – Sultanate of Oman
Country Profile – State of Kuwait
|Methodology: Presentations, guest speakers, simulations, and case studies.
|Trainer will need: Flip charts, markers, and video clips.
|Participants will need: Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.
- Deliver a lecture on the country profile of the COD relevant to the migrant workers.
- Share videos and simulations of the COD.
- Share experiences from former migrants in the same field and who have been in the COD.
Note: The countries listed in this manual are for reference purposes; however, the facilitator will be required to research on the COD in point to provide the relevant information to the migrant workers destined to that country.
Topics to Cover in This Session
For every COD a migrant worker is intending to migrate to, the facilitator should cover the following areas:
- Language and Religion.
- Laws and Customs.
- Entry Requirements.
- Labour Laws.
- Work Week and Hours.
- Dressing / Dress Code.
- Transport Means.
- Embassy Details.
Country Profile – United Arab Emirates: https://u.ae/en#/
6.2 Country Profile: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE was formed in 1971. There are seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Qwain. The capital city is Abu Dhabi. Other than Umm Al Qwain and Ajman, each of the Emirates has at least one international airport.
Religion and language
- The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Persian, English, Hindi, and Urdu are also used.
- Islam is the official religion of the UAE, with 96% of the native population being Muslim. It is against the law to spread the ideas of any other religion. However, you are allowed to practice your own religion freely, and there are many places of worship, such as temples and churches, in many parts of the country.
- You need a valid passport with a valid tourist/employment visa. It does not matter which Emirate you are going to.
- You are allowed to stay in the UAE as long as you have a valid work visa and a work permit.
- HIV/AIDS tests are also needed for work and residence permits. The tests will be conducted after arrival in the UAE.
- The test must be carried out in the UAE at a government medical facility, not a private one.
- Results from tests in other countries are not accepted. If the test is positive, then the visa application is denied, and the person is deported.
- The medical test fee for AIDS, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, leprosy, and syphilis is AED 250 (UGX 250,000 equivalent).
- Employment in the UAE is governed by the UAE labor laws, elaborated on the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation website www.mohre.gov.ae.
- Employment contracts have to be endorsed by the Ministry of Labor to be legally valid.
- In order to avoid fraud/cheating by agents, the prospective employee should verify the contract details from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) website (https://eservices.mol.gov.ae/molforms/offerinquiry.aspx)
- Before coming to the UAE, workers should understand the nature of their work. It is common that once they reach the UAE, they have difficulties in adjusting to the work environment and want to go back immediately. Workers should be clearly informed regarding the conditions of leave as per the laws and regulations of the UAE. Usually, there is leave entitlement only after completion of one year of service as mentioned in their contract.
- The worker should have a signed copy of the employment contract. A written contract is a must, and the contract should be carefully read before accepting a position. A verbal contract is worth nothing.
- The worker should be advised to not sign on any blank paper or any document he or she is not sure about.
As per UAE labor laws, it is illegal for the employer to keep the passport of the worker, but this is still a common practice. In such cases, the worker should have a signed copy of acknowledgement of the passport from the employer.
- After arriving in the UAE, the worker should ensure that the employer starts the procedural formalities for the stamping of the residence visa on the passport, and for the issuing of the Emirates ID, labor card and health insurance card within sixty days of their arrival.
- Employers have to arrange for medical tests for workers every six months and should give proper medical care to workers in case of diseases or injuries that are caused by working conditions. The employee is entitled to a full salary for the first six months or till completion of treatment, whichever is longer.
- The worker should immediately report any case of mistreatment/harassment by the employer to the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE), and can call their toll-free number 800665.
- Domestic workers are not covered under the regulations of MOHRE. They are governed by the UAE Immigration Authorities.
- Employers may have to pay for the cost of returning home once the work contract ends.
- A worker who has completed one year of continuous service is entitled to severance pay once the employer ends the contract.
- Engineers and professionals can change their job after two years of continuous service under an employer if they have valid residence visas and No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from the sponsor.
- Female employees can get maternity leave of 45 days if they have been working for an employer for at least one year. If you have completed less than one year, you can still get maternity leave, but you will only be paid half your normal salary during the leave.
- You can contact the Ugandan Mission/Post if the employer does not follow the conditions of the contract or if the employer mistreats you or if they do not pay you your regular salary.
- You can submit complaints to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization if the employer makes unlawful deductions from your salary.
- Domestic workers are not protected by the UAE labor laws.
- In case of death, the employer must pay death compensation equivalent to 24 months’ basic salary, with a minimum of AED 18,000 and maximum of AED 35,000.
- All complaints must be filed with the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization or the authority of the free zone in which the worker is employed.
- Smoking, eating, and drinking is strictly prohibited in a mosque area.
- Health card: After arrival, workers must take a medical and blood test in order to get a residence permit; they will also be provided with health cards.
- An Emirates ID card, also known as Resident ID card, is issued by the government and is needed to use any local service.
- Employees also need to have work permits issued by the UAE government, the cost of which will be paid by the employer. If the worker is unemployed for more than three months, the work permit can be cancelled.
Work week and hours
- The work week in the UAE starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday, and the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Friday is the normal weekend holiday for all employees, except those who are being paid on a daily wage basis.
- During Ramadan (Muslim month of fasting), many retail businesses are closed during daylight hours and open after sunset.
- The maximum hours of work for an adult are eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. These can be increased to nine hours in commercial establishments.
- If an employee is made to work for more hours than normal, he/she is entitled to overtime pay, which should be at least 25 per cent more than the pay for normal working hours.
- If an employee is made to work overtime between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am, he/she must be given overtime pay that is at least 50 per cent more than the pay for normal working hours.
- If an employee must work on a Friday, he/she has to be given another day off or be paid 50 percent more than a normal day’s work for working on Friday.
- Employees are entitled to annual leave, sickness/medical leave, and maternity leave.
- What clothes are acceptable in public varies from one state/Emirate to another. States like Sharjah are generally stricter than states like Dubai, but it is better for both men and women to dress modestly (avoid sleeveless clothing or short pants/skirts/dresses).
Currency and remittances
- The unit of currency in the UAE is the Dirham (AED) and it is subdivided into 100 fils (cents). There are paper banknotes for AED 5, AED 10, and so on, and there are coins for 5 fils, 10 fils, 25 fils, 50 fils and AED 1.
- The exchange rate for AED 1 is about UGX 990.
- Most cities have public bus systems. Dubai has a metro rail as well.
- Taxis are also available across cities.
- The primary transport network is the national roadways.
Ugandan Diplomatic Mission in UAE
Villa No. 17 West: 17/02
Al Falah Street 9, Al-Bateen
United Arab Emirates
Telephone: (+971) 2 665 9931
Fax: (+971) 2 665 9934
Country Profile – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
63 Country Profile: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the Gulf region. It is the 14th largest nation in the world. It has common boundaries with Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. The capital city is Riyadh.
Religion and language
- The official religion is Islam.
- Public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited.
- The official language is Arabic and most of the official business is conducted in Arabic only.
- For any complaints relating to contractual violations, there are labor courts where grievances can be registered. The Embassy officials assist workers in registration and follow-up of these cases.
- All legal proceedings are carried out in Arabic only.
- The legal system is complex, and getting a final verdict takes a lot of time.
- Following up a legal case is a very costly affair in Saudi Arabia on account of the exorbitant fees charged by lawyers.
- Law enforcement is very strict and punishments for violations of the rules are very severe.
- Those charged with murder, drug trafficking, adultery, rape, homosexual acts, conversion of a Muslim to another faith, terrorism, etc. could face the death penalty. Possession of narcotics, alcohol, food items containing pork, khas, khat leaves, etc., gutka, pan masala, or other forbidden material such as religious literature or articles associated with faiths other than Islam, pornographic/obscene material, etc. is dealt with sternly, with severe punishments including jail time, public flogging, and deportation.
- Strikes and agitations are illegal; one could get arrested, imprisoned and deported for them.
- There is no ‘free visa’ for Saudi Arabia for a Ugandan passport holder.
- If you are migrating to Saudi Arabia for work, you need to do so against a work visa.
- A work visa is issued with the name of the employer and the job title specified in it. If you are caught working with a different employer or in a different job, you could be arrested, jailed, and deported, with a ban on returning to the Kingdom and possibly to other GCC countries.
- In order to be issued a visa, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months.
- All general-category workers (those working in companies/establishments) are covered under the provision of the labor laws.
- Domestic service workers (cleaning persons, house drivers, gardeners, etc.) or agricultural workers (in farms employing less than ten workers), or workers on a short-term work visa, etc. are not covered by the provisions of the labor laws.
- The labor laws protect workers against abuse by employers and also ensure that employers do not terminate contracts arbitrarily.
- There is an Agreement on Labor Cooperation on Domestic Service Workers signed between Uganda and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ugandan women domestic service workers (DSWs) recruited under the provisions of the Uganda-Saudi Bilateral Agreement on the recruitment of DSWs are protected by the terms of this agreement.
- You must have a written employment contract entered into with your prospective employer.
- This is a very important document which specifies the terms of the employment, including the entitlements and obligations of both parties, and you must be aware of its contents.
- The labor laws state that the employment contract shall be in Arabic and can also be in another language along with Arabic. However, in case of a dispute, the Arabic text shall prevail.
- It will, therefore, be very important to understand what is written in Arabic before one signs the contract.
- You will be required to sign an employment contract in Uganda while your Recruiting Agent processes your visa.
- The contract shall include the name and address of the employer and the employee, job title, location of work, duration of contract, probation period, wage agreed upon, provision of free food or food allowance and accommodation, working hours, overtime allowance, vacation, air passage, medical insurance, end-of-service benefits, provision in regard to disposal or transportation of mortal remains to Uganda in case of demise of the employee, mode of settlement of disputes, etc.
- The contract will be signed by the employer and the employee and will be in duplicate, one copy to be retained by each of the parties.
- If you are asked to sign a second employment contract (in Arabic) upon your arrival in Saudi Arabia, you must understand the terms of the contract. You can also contact the Embassy for any assistance in this regard.
- The probation period shall not be more than 90 days. Normally, either party shall have the right to terminate the contract during this period and no compensation shall be admissible.
Recruitment fees, etc.
- Employers shall incur the fees pertaining to the recruitment, medical tests, fees of the residence permit, their renewal and fines resulting from any delay as well as fees pertaining to exit and re-entry visas.
- You are entitled to twenty-one days’ vacation with full pay after completing one year of service and thirty days’ vacation with full pay after five years’ continuous service with the same employer. You are entitled to sick leave of thirty days with full salary, and then three-quarters (3/4) of the normal salary for the next sixty days of sickness.
- You can also get other paid leave for reasons like marriage, death of spouse (three days) and childbirth (one day).
- A female worker is entitled to ten weeks’ maternity leave (four weeks before the expected date of delivery and six weeks after the delivery). During maternity leave, women are paid half of their salary if they have worked for at least one year with the same employer. They will be paid their full salary if they have worked for the employer for three years or more.
- The employer has to pay for physical examination, treatment and delivery and is not allowed to fire a female worker during maternity leave.
- Women are not allowed to work in dangerous industries or jobs.
- The employer has the responsibility for ensuring mandatory health insurance coverage of the employee.
- The employer has to bear the airfare of the worker from the home country to Saudi Arabia for joining work and for their return after completion of the contract period.
Duties of the worker
- A worker can only work with the employer and in the profession specified in the visa/iqama. It is illegal to work with another employer or in a profession other than the one specified in the visa and the iqama (permit).
- Change of profession is not allowed.
- Change of employer can be done only through the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development with the approval of the previous employer.
- If you run away from your employer or refuse to work, you could be declared as huroob or a runaway by your employer. As a result, your stay in the country will become illegal and you stand to lose all your legal rights. You will also face difficulties in leaving the country.
- It is the duty of the worker to perform the work in accordance with the instructions of the employer, to take due care of the machinery, tools, supplies, and raw materials placed at his/her disposal. Also, to abide by proper conduct and ethical norms during work, extend all assistance in cases of hazards threatening the workplace. Undergo medical examinations required prior to or during employment to ensure that he or she is free from occupational or communicable diseases, and not disclose any information related to the work or firm to a third party which may cause damage to the employer’s interests.
- Workers in Saudi Arabia have no right to strike or resort to agitations. It is illegal to do so, and one could be arrested, imprisoned and deported.
Work/residence permit (iqama)
- It is the responsibility of your employer to obtain your iqama before expiry of your visa within ninety days of your arrival in the country.
- The employer has to arrange for your medical test and medical insurance prior to applying for iqama. (If you do not pass the medical test, you will be sent back.)
- If iqama is not issued within 90 days of your arrival or renewed before its expiry, your stay will become illegal. You will not get access to various services like banking, remitting money, insurance, driving license, medical facilities, mobile phones, etc. You will also not get an exit visa to leave the country.
- If the employer does not process your residence permit within 90 days, you must register a complaint with the Saudi Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development (Toll-free number: 19911).
- Though a very common practice, it is illegal for employers to hold in their custody the passport of their workers. You are not obliged to hand over your passports or originals of other documents to your employer even for safekeeping.
- However, it must be remembered that even with the passport in your custody, you need an exit visa for leaving the Kingdom, for which the consent of the employer/sponsor is a must.
Work week and hours
- Friday is the weekly rest day for most workers. The employer may replace this day for some of his workers with any other day of the week.
- The government sector, banking and some businesses follow a five-day work week from Sunday to Thursday and with Friday and Saturday as the weekend.
- A workday is generally eight hours, and a work week is forty-eight hours. If you agree to work beyond normal working hours, your employer is required to pay an overtime allowance of an additional 50 per cent of the basic wage per extra hour.
- You are entitled to a rest of thirty minutes during a workday and shall not be made to work for more than five hours continuously.
- Total working hours should not exceed eleven hours per day.
- The working hours for the offices are generally from 7:30 am or 8:00 am to noon, and from 3:30 pm or 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm. However, working hours in private establishments vary.
- During the month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to six hours a day for Muslim workers.
- All women, including those from abroad, must wear an abaya (a full-length, loose black robe that is worn over normal clothes) outside the home and also have their heads covered.
- Men should also dress conservatively and not wear shorts in public or go without a shirt.
- Standard dress for men is lightweight trousers and shirt (usually long-sleeved).
- The current exchange rate for SAR 1 is about UGX 977. The exchange rate between the US dollar and the Saudi Riyal is fixed at USD 1 = SAR 3.75.
- A well-connected public transportation system within most of the cities is absent.
- The locals rely on personal vehicles for transportation.
- Taxis remain the most used/preferred mode of transportation for those who do not own personal vehicles.
- Companies usually provide transport to and from the labor camp/workplace.
- A well-connected network of roads connecting major cities is available.
- Inter-city buses run by the government-owned Saudi Arabia Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) are available.
Ugandan Diplomatic Mission in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
11, Hassan Bin Al-Numaman Street
West of Salahddin Hotel
Al Worood Quarter
P. O. Box 94344
Telephone: (+966) 1-454 4910
Fax: (+966) 1-454 9264
Country Profile – Kingdom of Bahrain
.4 Country Profile: Kingdom of Bahrain
Bahrain is a small desert country in the Gulf, with a population of 1.7 million in 2021. The capital city is Manama. Bahrain International Airport is located in the city of Muharraq.
Language and religion
- Most Bahraini nationals practice Islam. Arabic is the main language. English is also widely used.
- Bahrain is home to several communities and cultures. The country has allowed non-Muslims to build churches, temples and gurdwaras as well.
- Passport valid for at least six months.
- Valid work visa.
- Employment contract, work permit or letter from sponsor.
- The employer is obliged to pay wages/salaries in accordance with the work contract signed between the employer and the employees, though minimum wages for any category have not been prescribed.
- A worker may not be effectively employed for more than forty-eight hours per week, and he/she may not be effectively employed for more than eight hours per day unless otherwise agreed upon and provided the effective working hours do not exceed ten hours per day.
- Workers who have spent at least one year in the service of the employer shall be entitled to paid annual leave of not less than thirty days with an average of two-and-a-half-days each month. If the period is less than one month, the worker shall be entitled to leave corresponding to the period of work.
- On expiry of the contract, it can be renewed for another term on the same or on other terms by virtue of express agreement between the employer and the employee.
- The employer is liable to provide the means of occupational safety and health at the workplace in such a way as to ensure protection from work hazards.
- If a worker sustains an injury as a result of an accident during work, he or she will have the right to receive treatment and the employer will bear the entire cost, including the medication, transportation, rehabilitation services and the cost of necessary prosthetics as decided by the treating physician.
- For workers having sustained an injury arising out of or during work, the heirs will be entitled to compensation for injury/death.
- For workers coming to Bahrain on employment visas, the sponsors are responsible for arranging their residence permits, insurance, etc.
- After the employment contract comes to an end, the worker needs to get a NOC from the employer to take up another job and get a new residence permit.
- The sponsor and the employee must have a formal employment contract.
Facts related to the employment visa
- It is essential to have a work visa to work in Bahrain. The visa is issued by the Labor Market Regulatory Authority, except in the case of domestic workers, for whom an entry visa is issued by Immigration authorities with the stipulation “VALID FOR STAY UP TO 30 DAYS ONLY. BEARER MUST OBTAIN RESIDENCE PERMIT WITHIN THE PERIOD.”
- For workers coming to Bahrain on an employment visa, the sponsor is responsible for arranging their residence permit within thirty days of arrival, insurance, etc.
- The employment contract should show the worker’s designation, salary, and other benefits, which may include accommodation and transport. The employer may pay an allowance in lieu of accommodation and transport.
- As per the law, the original passport is to be retained by the employee and is not required to be handed over to the employer. Some employers may insist on taking the passport from the employee. In this case, one should obtain a receipt from the employer confirming that they are keeping the passport in safe custody. The employee should keep a copy of the passport in Uganda and another copy may be carried in person.
- A person is not allowed to work when on a visit visa, but it is possible to change the visit visa to a work visa on payment of a fee. However, such workers are vulnerable/potential victims of trafficking/labor abuse.
- Blank papers should not be signed and given to the employer. A worker should also not sign on any paper if he/she does not know or understand what is written on it. If he is forced to sign any paper, he should register a police complaint within twenty-four hours.
- The employee should not stay away from work without a valid reason. Staying away from work without the consent of the employer may lead to termination of employment, subject to certain conditions.
- A passport and other important documents should not be handed over to an unauthorized person. If any of these documents are lost, please lodge a police complaint immediately.
- Labor disputes are referred to the ‘Authority for settlement of individual labor disputes’ which tries to reach an amicable settlement between the employee and the employer. In case no agreement being reached, the case will be referred to a higher civil court whose judgement will be final.
- If a labor contract is terminated without abiding by the notice period, the party terminating the contract shall give the other party compensation for this period equivalent to the worker’s wage corresponding to all parts of the said period as the case may be.
Work week and hours
- The work week is from Sunday to Thursday, and Friday and Saturday are the weekend.
- The usual working hours are from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and shops operate between 8:00 am and 12:30 pm and between 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm except on holidays and Thursdays, when they work from 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
- Bahrain does not have a formal dress code. However, it is best to dress modestly — both men and women should avoid shorts and sleeveless clothes, since they might be seen as offensive.
- Standard dress in the office is a shirt (usually long-sleeved), tie and lightweight trousers.
- The currency is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD). One dinar is equal to UGX 9,748. The exchange rate for USD 1 is about 0.38 BHD.
- A Ugandan driving license is not acceptable in Bahrain. A local driving license needs to be obtained after passing the driving test in order to drive in Bahrain.
- Buses are easily available across Bahrain.
Ugandan Embassy in Bahrain
Covered by the Ugandan Embassy in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Country Profile – Qatar
Qatar is a small country in the Gulf, with one land bordering neighbour, Saudi Arabia. The capital is Doha. The Hamad International Airport is located in the capital city.
Religion and language
- Islam is the official religion. Qatar is more tolerant of non-Islamic religions than other Arab states, with non-Muslims serving in government.
- Arabic is the official language, but English is also widely spoken.
- Passport with validity of at least six months.
- Employment/tourist visa.
- Valid employment contract.
- Copies of marriage certificate, academic certificates, and birth certificates.
- Passport-size photographs.
- Workers should have a medical certificate as well.
- In addition, Qatar’s immigration services will perform various medical tests on the migrant.
- Before leaving Uganda, check whether your visa is an appropriate one. The visa may have endorsements in Arabic. If you are unable to make out the endorsement, please ask a person who can read Arabic to translate for you. Do not rely on what the PRA tells you.
- Foreign workers need to get a residence permit (called iqama) and a work permit. You need to carry your permits with you wherever you go.
- The sponsor/employer has to arrange for the residence and work permits for employees within thirty days of their arrival.
- Employment contracts have to be in Arabic, though a second language can also be used for non-Arabic-speaking workers. The Arabic version is the only legally valid one.
- Contracts can be made for a term of up to five years.
- If a worker violates the rules of the workplace, the fine should not be more than five days’ salary in any month.
- Carrying drugs and other narcotic substances entails a very harsh sentence in Qatar. You must be extremely careful not to accept any gift or packet or any item from anyone, not even from close relatives, while coming to Qatar. The baggage that you have, both check-in baggage and hand baggage, should not have any open pockets on the outside into which packets can be pushed by anyone.
- If the employee has taken an advance, salary deduction in any month should not be more than 10% of the advance.
Work week and hours
- The work week in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday, and Friday and Saturday are the weekend.
- For workers, the normal working hours are forty-eight hours a week, with eight hours a day for six days. During Ramadan, this is shortened to six hours a day.
- Friday is the rest day for workers, except for shift workers. If you have to work on a Friday, you have to be given another day off along with an additional 50% of your basic wage.
- Qatar does not have any dress code for foreigners, but it is best to dress modestly (avoid revealing clothes, sleeveless clothes, and short pants/skirts/dresses).
- The currency used is the Qatari Riyal (QAR), subdivided into 100 dirhams. The foreign exchange rate for QAR 1 is about 1,007 Ugx.
- Public buses are available across Qatar.
- There are no railways or metro services.
Ugandan Embassy in Qatar
West Bay, Saha 74, Zone 66
Street 544, Building No. 9
P. O. Box 5503
Telephone: (+974) 44 277 339
Country Profile – The Sultanate of Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is situated at the south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula and shares a common border with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The capital city is Muscat. Other major cities are Salalah, Sohar, Sur and Nizwa.
Language and religion
- The official language is Arabic. English is also widely used.
- The official religion is Islam. It is against the law to spread the idea of any other religion. However, people professing other religions are allowed to practice their own religion, and there exist places of worship such as temples and churches.
Laws and customs
- Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol. However, non-Muslims can buy and drink alcohol if they have a license to do so.
- During the month of Ramadan, alcohol cannot be sold anywhere. During this period, it is not advisable to engage in trading or consuming alcohol, which is a punishable crime.
- It is also a punishable offence to bring banned medicines with you while travelling to Oman.
- It is advisable to enter the Oman legally, with a valid passport and an employment visa. Within one month of arrival, one needs to get a Labor Card, for which fingerprinting and an iris scan are a must. Everyone needs to always carry the Labor Card and produce it to access any service, e.g., medical treatment, bank transaction, etc.
- Upon your arrival in the Sultanate of Oman, in case you are unable to reach your employer’s correct address, you can call 80077000 or approach the Ministry of Manpower in Ruwi (near Badr Al Samaa Hospital).
- If the process for issue of your Labor Card is not completed within one month of your arrival, then you are required to notify your direct supervisor or contact the nearest Ministry of Manpower’s Labor Directorate.
- Your Labor Card is an official document, and you always have to carry it with you.
- Your passport cannot be retained by anybody except you.
- You are entitled to request for and keep a copy of your employment contract to be acquainted with your rights and duties. In case of a dispute, the terms and conditions of the contract shall prevail. Therefore, you should ensure that you sign a contract as well as ask for the contract to be attested by the Ministry of Manpower to obviate any violation of the terms and conditions of the contract.
- The law requires that salaries be paid into the bank account of the employee. In case of default in the payment of your monthly wages, you are entitled to claim the wages from your direct supervisor. If your direct supervisor refuses to settle your monthly wages, then you are required to report the issue to the nearest Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Directorate or the Ugandan Embassy.
- You can lodge your complaint online at sthe website of the Manpower ministry of
- approach the Embassy to register the complaint for you.
- If you are asked to work overtime, your employer must compensate you for such overtime work in accordance with the terms of your contract.
- If your services are terminated for no acceptable reason, you may submit your grievance to the nearest Ministry of Manpower’s Labor Directorate to revoke the termination decision within fifteen days from the date of being notified of the same.
- Please note that anyone working in the Sultanate of Oman without a legal work permit, or any person working for any employer other than the licensed employer, or any worker who absconds from work, shall be liable for punishment with imprisonment for not more than one month and a fine of not less than OMR 400 (UGX 3.8 million) but not exceeding OMR 800 (UGX 7.6 million) or with either of these two penalties, in addition to the revocation of the work permit issued thereto, deportation at the expense of the party who employed the worker and debarment from re-entry into the Sultanate of Oman.
- You are required to cooperate with official personnel since any person impeding their work or deliberately obstructing any official employees from carrying out their duties shall be punishable by a financial fine or imprisonment or both these penalties combined, and the penalty shall be doubled in case of recurrence of such an act.
- Follow the health and occupational safety regulations at your workplace for your own protection.
- Keep track of the expiry date of your passport and get your passport renewed by the Embassy in Muscat in time.
- Workers need to get a work permit signed by their employer.
- Most employers will pay an allowance for housing and utilities up to 50 per cent of the employee’s basic salary.
- Annual leave is fourteen days. Employees are also given severance pay in case the employer cancels the contract before it ends.
- Most contracts used to last for two years, but contracts without any end date have become more common. Contracts can be renewed if both the employer and the worker agree.
- No transfer to a new job can be made unless the original employer gives a NOC.
Work week and hours
- The work week in Oman starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday, and the weekends are Fridays and Saturdays. An adult must work for 48 hours a week with two days as weekly off.
- There is no official dress code for foreigners. However, it is best to dress modestly and avoid revealing clothes, sleeveless clothes, and short pants/skirts/dresses.
- The national currency is called the Omani Rial, with currency code as OMR.
- The exchange rate for OMR 1 is about UGX 9,533.
- There is a good network of roads and shared taxis are available. City buses are also available on limited routes.
Uganda Embassy in Oman
Covered by the Uganda Embassy in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Country Profile – Kuwait
Kuwait is a small country on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The capital of the country is Kuwait City.
Language and religion
- The main religion of Kuwait is Islam.
- Arabic is the official language and English is the second language.
Documents required for entry
- A valid passport with a Kuwaiti visa is needed to enter the country.
- Migrant workers also need to present a declaration from their employer and an NOC from the Ministry of Interior.
There is a labor law in Kuwait specifically for private sector workers, issued in 2010 and applicable to all workers in the private sector. The salient features of this law are as under:
- There should be a contract between the employer and the employee for a limited/unlimited period, for a maximum of five years at one time, signed by both parties.
- The employment of the worker is subject to a probation period for a term not exceeding 100 working days, where each party has the right to terminate the contract without any notice.
- The amount of salary to be paid is required to be mentioned in the contract.
- The employee has the right to have paid annual leave of thirty days after completion of one year of service.
- The employer is responsible for providing a return ticket after expiration of the period of work in the contract.
- It is the employer’s responsibility to provide medical insurance to the employee.
- End-of-service benefits are to be paid as set forth in law.
- Workers must have a residence permit (iqama) and a work permit. Always carry your permits with you.
- The employer has to arrange for permits after the worker arrives in Kuwait.
- Domestic workers do not come under the labor law in Kuwait.
- Workers cannot work with a new sponsor/employer without getting a release certificate or NOC from the old sponsor.
Work week and hours
- The normal work week in Kuwait is from Sunday to Thursday (though it may vary in some companies), and Fridays and Saturdays are the weekend holidays.
- Working hours should be eight hours per day with a rest period of not less than one hour, except for the cases set forth in law.
- The Kuwaiti National Assembly passed a law for domestic workers in 2015 but it has not been implemented as yet. However, in June 2016, the authorities announced a decree that sets down the measures that have since been used to implement a landmark law adopted by parliament in 2019. The decree requires employers to pay overtime for any extra hours worked. It grants domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, thirty days of annual paid leave, a twelve-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month a year at the end of contract.
- Kuwait is the first country in the Gulf to regulate the working conditions of domestic staff through legislation, and rights groups have urged others to follow suit to tackle widespread abuse.
- A notice published on the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior’s website recently listed the minimum salary as KWD 60 (equivalent to USD 198or UGX 727,620) a month.
- There is no official dress code for foreigners in Kuwait. However, it is best to dress modestly (avoid revealing clothes, sleeveless clothes, and short pants/skirts/dresses).
- The currency used is the Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD); 1KWD is equivalent to UGX 12,127. The foreign exchange rate for USD 1 is about 0.301KWD.
- Buses are the main type of public transport in Kuwait, with services available across the country.
6.9 Common Problems that Migrants May Face
Things to Note: Dos and Don’ts of Living in GCC Countries
|Keep your original passport, visa, work/residence permits, employment contract and other documents with you. Give only copies to your employer and government authorities if they ask.
|Do not eat, drink or smoke in public during the day in the holy month of Ramadan. Wait till after sunset.
|Always carry local ID card/Residence Card/Employee card, whatever is issued by the destination country.
|Do not lose your ID Card issued by the destination country.
|Try to learn Arabic, at least the basics, even if other languages such as English are also widely used. Being able to speak in Arabic will always be useful and help you fit in better. The Handbook on Predeparture Orientation has
Arabic words and phrases that could be of help to you.
|Avoid drinking alcohol or being drunk in public, even if alcohol is not banned in the country you are working in.
|Respect the local customs and culture. Try not to be noisy or rude and avoid wearing clothes that are offensive (revealing clothes or sleeveless clothes and short pants/skirts/dresses should be avoided).
|Do not offer alcoholic drinks to Arabs, unless you are certain that they drink alcohol.
|Most Gulf countries are very conservative, especially as far as relations between men and women are concerned; so, always keep that in mind.
|Do not try to enter holy sites or mosques if you are not a Muslim. There will be signs clearly warning non-Muslims not to enter these areas.
|Always abide by local laws and regulations. Avoid blasphemy (saying anything against the local religion).
|Do not take up a temporary or permanent job with any person or company other than your sponsor company/establishment/person. Working for people other than your sponsor is illegal.
|Do not lose your copy of the employment contract. Always have photocopies of all
|Do not participate in any unauthorized activity, including labor protests and strikes.
Session 3: Problems Migrant Workers May Face
By the end of this session, participants should be able to:
- Have an idea of the various problems they are likely to face.
- Know how best to deal with the problems they are likely to face.
|1 hr Common Problems
1 hr What to Keep in Mind
1 hr Precaution to Female Domestic Workers
|Methodology: Presentations, brainstorming, case study, discussion, and guest speakers.
|Facilitator Materials: Flip charts, markers, and video clips.
|Participants Materials: Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.
- Discuss common problems faced by migrant workers.
- Share experiences with former migrant(s) on the key issues to keep in mind as one starts employment in a foreign country.
- Brainstorm on precautionary measures to be born in mind by migrant domestic workers to have a successful work life in the COD.
Common Problems Migrants Face in Countries of Destinations
List and explain the common problems that migrant workers face in the destination countries and that they should be aware of.
- Poor working and living conditions
- Migrant workers, especially women migrants, may end up with long working hours and night shifts, improper working conditions and low pay.
- Migrants may not get overtime pay for working extra hours; employers might also not give them holiday or sick pay.
- Workplaces may have poor health and safety standards, which increases the risk of accidents.
- While employers or recruiting agencies may provide a place to stay, the conditions may be very poor, with very little space.
- Because migrant workers cannot easily change jobs, they find it difficult to complain about abuse, irregular payments, or sexual harassment at work. However, there are grievance redressal forums to approach, apart from the Ugandan Mission/Post.
- Confiscation of passport and other documents
- In many cases, employers demand to keep the original copy of workers’ documents, especially the passport. This is illegal. You have the right to keep your passport and other documents.
- Confiscation of such important documents gives the employer more power over the worker and makes the worker more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
- Please inform the local police and the Ugandan Mission in case you lose important documents, especially your passport and ID Card (issued by the local government in the COD).
- Lack of legal aid
- When the rights of a migrant are violated, the employer stops the worker from taking any legal action against them. Please contact the Ugandan Mission immediately for further assistance.
- Trouble with sending money home
- Many migrants send their earnings to the home country through informal agents because they do not know about the legal channels and, many times, these agents cheat them.
- Legal channels are available for sending remittances to Uganda and have been discussed in detail in the module on Financial Management, below.
- Discrimination and violence against migrants
- Locals in other countries often see migrant workers as a threat to their jobs and pay, and sometimes also to their culture.
- Often, locals will discriminate against the migrants and cause trouble for them, and sometimes even physically attack them.
- Always be aware of your situation. Do not get into arguments or fights at any time.
- Sexual harassment
- Women workers, especially domestic workers, are at risk of sexual harassment as they work in isolated workplaces.
- Employers sometimes demand sexual favors from domestic workers, who are especially vulnerable in GCC countries as they are completely dependent on their employer for their stay in the destination country.
- Lack of respect for migrants’ religion and culture
- Both locals and employers may sometimes discriminate against migrants based on their religion, culture, and color.
- At times, the employer does not show respect for the employee’s customs and religion.
- Human trafficking
- Trafficking is when a person is forced to accept a different job, salary, or working conditions than what was promised at the beginning, or when he/she is forced to do things that they do not want to be involved in.
- People all over the world are recruited, bought, sold, and transported by human traffickers, who profit from this illegal activity. Please be aware of such exploitative situations.
- Migrants who have been trafficked might be treated as illegal immigrants, and often face abuse — physical, mental, or sexual.
Migrants are often exploited in different forms, physical emotional and financial. Physically, the work the migrant worker will be made to do might in some cases require more than one person to execute, and this may actually be outside the pre-discussed job description. Emotionally, migrant workers are exploited in the way that employers fail to address the emotional issues or actually subject the migrants to emotional torture. Financially, migrant workers often leave the COO with high expectations of a good salary and end up with jobs and duties that do not match the financial remuneration provided.
- Language barriers
– Because migrant workers mostly do not speak the language of the country they are working in, they find it very difficult to communicate, and that makes it difficult for them to exercise their rights.
Things to Keep in Mind Things to keep in mind
- Your employer/recruiter has to pay you what you were promised, and your job should be exactly as they described it when they hired you, and as per the agreement/contract signed by you and the employer.
- Your employer does not have the right to abuse you, and you have the right to go to the local authorities (or the Ugandan Embassy) for help if your employer is abusing you in any way.
- Your employer/recruiter cannot force you to do something you do not want to be involved in. If they do, you are a victim of forced labour.
- and you should go to the nearest Ugandan embassy or contact one of the human rights organizations listed in this module.
Precautions for female domestic workers living with employer families
- Domestic workers, especially women who are living in the same house as the families they work for, often face the risk of abuse (physical, mental, and sexual). Screaming, shouting, insults, etc. also count as abuse.
- Other issues domestic workers face in these conditions: they may be overworked, trapped into forced labor, or they may have their passports and other documents confiscated by the employer.
- These issues are made worse by the fact that in most GCC countries, labor laws do not apply to domestic workers. Therefore, women working as domestic helps in the Gulf should take some extra precautions.
- Keep the originals and copies of your passport and other documents with you safely. The employer does not have the right to take them away from you.
- Do not work for anyone other than your original sponsor/employer, without the original sponsor having released you from your existing contract (along with a NOC).
- Take up a job only with a formal employment contract. Make sure you understand the contract entirely. It should clearly state your salary, working hours and duration of contract. In case your employers are abusing you in any way, contact the Ugandan Mission/Post immediately (Mission contact details are provided in this module).
- If you have been sexually abused by your employers or their family members, go to the Ugandan Mission/Post immediately and ask for protection.
- In countries where domestic workers do not come under labor laws, settling disputes with the employer can be difficult. The officials at the Ugandan Mission/Post will help you.
- If your employer is not paying you what you were promised, or if they are delaying your wages or forcing you to work for more hours than what is mentioned in your contract, call the Ugandan Mission/Post for help.
- After you arrive, if you find that the person/family you will be working with is different from the sponsor/employer in the contract, go to the Uganda Mission/Post immediately and ask for help.
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