Dr. Spilchuk – My Story of Deportation…2017-06-02T14:25:40+00:00
Dear Dr. Spilchuk…

February, 2014

My Story of Deportation

Working as a Local-Hire in Kuwait Without a Work Visa

“I was placed in the detention area of immigration in the Kuwaiti airport and questioned by immigration officials. I was then placed in the hands of ground services. About 9 hours later, ground services escorted me to an Al Jazeera flight and handed my passport over to the airline officials. As soon as the plane was fully boarded I was escorted to my seat and instructed not to get up until the plane landed. At that point, I would be escorted off the plane.

Sure enough, that is what happened. After all passengers had left the plane I was escorted to the door. An official from Dubai ground services escorted me to their office and to immigration for a little more questioning. They gave me a visitor’s visa and set me free. I had been detained against my will and deported without a hearing.”

This is my story:

2013

June 13: I entered Kuwait on a 3-month visitor’s visa. Any American can apply for a visitor’s visa upon landing. I was in Kuwait to visit. I had no intention of working. (I had worked there approx. 5 years earlier). It was late summer and Ramadan was going on so it was very difficult to get a flight. I decided to stay a little longer and pay the penalty of 2KD per day as written at the bottom of the visa. (Nowhere on the visa did it state it was a criminal offense to overstay a visa. I have known many expats who avail themselves of the ‘Pay and Stay’ visa.)

Oct 1: I had been in Kuwait for about 5 months and on a whim, I decided to stay in Kuwait if I could find employment.

Oct 10: I interviewed at an international school and was offered a teaching position.

Oct 13: I began my employment with a provisional contract/letter of intent. School HR officials photocopied my passport. I told them I was on an extended visitor visa. A few days later, I gave school officials approx. 80 KD to pay my penalty. The school sent the school driver to pay my fine. Nobody from the school told me the payment was not sufficient and I was still in violation. If I had been told this I would have left the country immediately. However, school officials knew I was illegal and they kept me in employment.

Oct 24: The school paid for/procured an airplane ticket for me to go to Dubai so that I could re-enter Kuwait on a new visitor’s visa. I left Kuwait for Dubai. Kuwait immigration let me pass through and they stamped my passport. Nobody told me there was a problem with my status in Kuwait.

Oct 26: I left Dubai and flew into Kuwait. I visited the immigration counter and received a 3-month visitor’s visa. No problems.

Nov 10: HR contacted me to report to their office to sign my new contract. I reviewed my new contract and discovered it contained significant changes to what I had been previously promised.

Nov 14: I wrote an email to the Principal asking for her help and assistance in clarifying some issues in my new contract, including an insurance problem that was not what I first understood it to be.

Nov – Jan 22, 2014 I advocated strongly for myself to a variety of administrators with respect to my contract and the insurance issue which I clearly indicated to a senior administrator was a purposefully “deceptive hiring practice”. By this time the school had already conceded to let me have a one-year contract, but I still had other concerns.

2014

Jan 24: The school procured another airline ticket for me to travel to Dubai so I could come back with another 3- month visitor’s visa. I left Kuwait, my passport was stamped and immigration officials did not notify me that there was a problem with my status in the country.

Jan 26: I returned to Kuwait and was told I was to be deported. While detained, I called several people from the school to ask for assistance. I was told that I was in serious trouble, with two criminal acts on the record: 1. overstaying a visa and 2. working without a visa. I was also told I had to pay for my own deportation air ticket but then the school relented and paid for the ticket and also sent me about $800+ for food and accommodations.”

Reflecting on the Situation

As I think about this teacher’s story, I am left with a bothersome question. This teacher was working in Kuwait without a proper visa. She advocated strongly for herself and no doubt became a thorn in the side of the director. The easiest way for the school to divest themselves of this teacher was to report her to the authorities as she attempted to return to the country to obtain a third tourist visa and continue to work unlawfully. Otherwise, how would the authorities have known? What do you think?/ Comments

FYI

Local-Hire Status Vs. Foreign-Hire Status

Had this teacher been hired at a recruiting conference and given foreign-hire status this episode would no doubt have turned out differently. Conversely, this teacher entered the country on her own and was hired as a local-hire. There are tremendous differences between local-hire contracts and foreign-hire contracts. If you’re thinking of showing up at the door of an overseas school and applying for a teaching position, I strongly recommend you consider the possible consequences. Here are some of the major differences between the local-hire and foreign-hire contract:

Foreign-Hire Benefits

1) Transport to and from your home of origin is built into your contract. This is critical because if the school decides to terminate you after a 2-3 month observation period, or you are not able to get a work visa, they are required to repatriate you back to your place of origin.

2) Insurance Clause: Some countries of origin will require there to be an insurance package attached to expat- hire contact so that the country you are going to becomes responsible for your health care and for a life insurance policy.

3) Visa Clause: The school is responsible for advocating and obtaining your visa. Your entry into the country may, at first, be on a tourist visa, but the onus is on the school to ensure that you obtain a work visa so you may work legally in the country.

4) War and/or Disaster Clause: You can advocate in advance for a paid, safe exit from a country in the event that a war or some other form of disaster should occur.

5) Housing Clause: Expat contracts almost always come with a housing clause that either provides full housing or partial payment towards rent.

6) Transportation Clause: Expat contracts often provide transport clauses that ensure you have transport from home to school, and back each day.

7) Salary and Bonus Clause: Your salary and any bonuses are clearly stated.

8) English Contract: Expat contracts are provided in English while you are still in your home country.

9) Advice: A third party can preview your contract to ensure that all is as it should be before signing.

10) Investigating the School: You have the time to check out the administration of the school through ISR and other organizations to ensure that you are going to a reputable school.

Downside to Being a Foreign-Hire

1) You may not be familiar with the country and its customs/culture.

2) You may not have any friends where you are going.

3) You must compete with the general international teaching populace for a teaching position.

Local-Hire Benefits

1) You are on the spot and available should a position come open.

2) You do not have to compete with the wider international teaching populace.

3) You may already have friends in the community.

4) You want to extend what began as a vacation by earning money and this is a good way to do so.

5) You like the country you are in.

6) You are able to see the school and how it works first hand.

Downside to Being a Local-Hire

1) No transport to and from the country. No insurance.

2) Visa Clause: The school did not get you into the country; you came of your own free will. As a result, unless the school is committed to keeping you, they may not be committed to applying and paying for your visa. In this case, you will be expelled for unlawfully staying and working in the country. It would be a case of your word versus their word.

3) War and/or Disaster Clause: Forget this clause. You are a local and must fend for yourself.

4) Housing Clause: This will likely not be part of the contract because you are already local. You may be responsible to find and pay for your own housing.

5) Transportation Clause: As a local-hire, you will be responsible to get yourself to and from school.

6) Salary and Bonus Clause: This is not always clear and the goal posts can often move when you are local- hire. In addition, local-hires are almost always paid much less than foreign-hires.

7) Non-English Contract: Local contracts are often done in the language of the country. Can you read the language of the country? If not, how do you know what is in your contract? Will the school want to hire you if you contact a lawyer or third party to translate the contract to you?

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