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Check List for Indian Workers
If you get a job at a private firm in Saudi Arabia always make it a point to check with the Indian Embassy/Consulate in Riyadh/Jeddah the bonafides of the company you intend to join before you depart from India. Also check with your agent or the employer himself the exact terms of the contract, especially about the salary, the other benefits such as housing, food, vacation, tickets for going home, etc., the place where you are supposed to work and the living conditions. If the contract is in Arabic, you should have it translated into English and also understand the contents of the contract before signing it. Do not sign another contract on arrival in Saudi Arabia specially if the terms and conditions are inferior to what you signed in India or if it is in a language that you do not understand.
Check with your agent the exact name of your employer, whether it is a person or a company, and the person who is supposed to supervise your work. Get the telephone number of this person and talk to him before leaving India. Ask him about who is going to receive you at the airport, how will you be transported to your residence or work place, etc. If you are not familiar with Arabic and English and if this employer knows only Arabic or English, then you should ask someone else who knows Arabic/English to talk to him over the telephone from India in your presence to get all the details and finalise your programme accordingly.
While having your passport made either through the agent or directly, you must furnish your correct particulars and correct address. This is also important in the case of any tragedy which (God forbid) may occur. You must always truthfully record all your particulars. When you get your passport please check up that all your particulars are recorded properly and if there are any mistakes you should have it corrected. Do not travel on a passport which is inaccurate.
Before leaving India, check up whether your visa is the 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 entirely on what your agent tells you. Please remember to check the validity of the visa issued to you. If you stay beyond the period stipulated in the visa you become an illegal alien in Saudi Arabia and liable to detention and deportation apart from getting more rigorous punishment.
Before coming to Saudi Arabia you must talk to people who are either working in Saudi Arabia or have been to Saudi Arabia in the recent past to know about the living conditions and working conditions in Saudi Arabia. Alternatively you can request information on living condition in Saudi Arabia and other details from the Embassy/Consulate of India in Riyadh/Jeddah. You must be thoroughly acquainted with all this and you must not come here only on the basis of what your agent or your recruiting company tells you.
Photocopies of your passport and the contract that you have signed should be available with you in adequate numbers and you must also leave a set of the photocopies at your home in India so that in time of need you may be able to get the same easily.
Possession or transportation of drugs and other narcotic substances carry severe punishment in Saudi Arabia. You must be very careful not to accept any gift or packet or any item from anyone while coming to Saudi Arabia. The baggage that you have, both checked in baggage and hand baggage, should not have any outside pouches in which packets can be pushed in by anyone from outside. If you are under medication and if you are carrying certain prescribed medicines you must have the doctor's prescription in original and the medicines should be carried along with its packing and its literature so that customs authorities can easily identify them.
You must know that religious literature, liquor, obscene video cassettes and obscene literature are banned in Saudi Arabia and you are liable for punishment if detected carrying them. Get to know the exact rules of customs from your agent, especially about prohibited articles.
In many cases, agents are charging exorbitant amount of fees from candidates which they are not supposed to charge. In most cases, the company or person recruiting you would in any case be paying a handsome amount to the agent. If at all any amount is to be paid to the agent it should be reasonable and you should not be asked upon to take a loan, sell land or pawn your jewelry to pay the agent. Do not get carried away by the green pastures that the recruiting agents show to prospective candidates going to the Gulf.
Please do not befriend any one on your way and definitely not on the aeroplane or on landing. You are liable to be cheated and put into serious trouble by such people. You must be aware of how to use telephones at the airports since in case you are stranded at the airport or any other place you should be able to ring up your employer or the person who is in charge, with whom you should have already talked to from India, and inform him about your situation. If you face any problem at the airport always make it a point to contact your Embassy/Consulate without delay.
Once you come to Saudi Arabia it is always desirable to register with the Indian Embassy/Consulate in Riyadh/Jeddah so that in case of need or when you are in distress you may be helped by Indian Embassy/Consulate officials. There you can be best assured that the officials will take care of your genuine problems.
While in Saudi Arabia always carry either your passport which should have a valid visa or in lieu of the passport a valid Residential Permit called 'Iqaama'. In no case you should part with your Iqaama or give it to anyone else. It is your basic document without which you may be arrested and deported.
In case of labour problems you can approach the Indian Embassy/Consulate in Riyadh/Jeddah for help. The person who is employing you is called the "Kaafil" (sponsor) and your basic relation is with your sponsor. If you are shifting sponsors, it is illegal without a valid permission. If you run away from work and join another work that is also illegal. In case the job is not suiting you, you should also have with you enough means to travel back to India. Further a very important point to note is that for exiting out of Saudi Arabia, your employer (sponsor) has to provide you an exit permit, and only on receipt of the same can you exit out of the country. Accordingly you should be prepared to wait till the sponsor's clearence, which in some cases can become very difficult to obtain after your arrival.
Do not come with pre-conceived notions. Study the living conditions and working conditions in Saudi Arabia. Study your contract before coming to Saudi Arabia and be prepared to leave as and when things do not turn out the way you had imagined or wanted it to be. Ladies who are coming to Saudi Arabia to work as maids etc. should be very careful about the place where they are supposed to work and the conditions of their employment, specially if they are coming alone. Do not fall into bad company and do not get drawn into illegal activities in Saudi Arabia as the punishment is severe and swift.