Employment Contracts in the Middle East

In this tough economy, many job seekers are looking abroad for employment opportunities. One of the few places in the world that has a growing economy is the Middle East. If you are considering a position abroad, here are a few facts to help your transition go smoothly.

Compensation – There is a standard formula for employment contracts that begins with a base salary and includes housing allowance, transportation allowance, health insurance, and possibly round-trip tickets to the country of origin, and sometimes annual bonuses.

In the Middle East, the laws require that each non-citizen resident is under the sponsorship of a citizen or business. The standard arrangement is through the employer, who recruits employees from abroad and therefore accepts full responsibility for the employee and his family while he is under contract.

The process of bringing an employee from abroad is very expensive and comes with it a great deal of responsibility. It is not uncommon for an employment contract to specify that if the employee chooses to leave before the end of the contract, he must repay all costs associated with his recruitment. On the other hand as an incentive, the contract may include a substantial end of service bonus that is paid at the conclusion of the contract period.

If there are difficulties between an employee and employer, the local embassy or consulate may be able to provide assistance. Because the sponsors are wholly responsible for the actions and well-being of the people under their care, the laws in most Middle Eastern countries require that the sponsors hold the passports of employees while in country.

In addition to the technical aspects of contract negotiation, there are a few issues that are also very important.

It is hoped that this information will be helpful to you in your quest abroad. You can find more detailed information in my series of articles about moving abroad on my website.