Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Unscrupulous recruitment agents

One of the sad facets of expatriates working in Saudi Arabia is the problem faced by literally thousands of underpaid and fleeced people, most of them from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is not clear whether it is poverty or ignorance or both, which drives people to work in Saudi Arabia for a pittance.
I have seen janitors from the Indian subcontinent work for just SR400 a month, when they could have easily got a similar job in their own home countries if only they had tried a bit more. Worse, most of these illiterate poor people have been cheated by unscrupulous recruitment agents. The most common problem is that these agents promise them the moon, take hefty amounts as recruitment charges, and send them bag and baggage in the next available flight to Saudi Arabia. It is only upon landing here that these people come to know the vast difference in the salaries they were promised and are actually paid. With just no money to even buy their return tickets, they simply work as virtual slaves. Some of them, out of sheer desparation, jump sponsors and work elsewhere illegally, and sadly, some of them even go to the extent of suicide.
There are some of them who have borrowed huge sums of money, paid the agents hefty amounts, have purchased their own tickets and landed here only to face despair.
How does one identify whether an agent is genuine or not? Well, to begin with, just see the advertisement. Check whether the license number of the agent is mentioned at the bottom of the advertisement. As an example, if the license number is, say, xxxxx/BOM/PER/1000+/......., then it means that the agent is a reputed one. Instead of the number "1000+", if it is, say, "600+" or "500" or any number other than 1000, then absolute caution must be taken. And if you do not find the license number, then don't even touch it with a barge pole!
If the agent charges a fee for recruiting you, DO NOT TAKE THE OFFER. It just means that the agent is making money out of you.
Reputed companies always ensure that the agent charges nothing from the candidates. If you are going to pay a fee to the agent for getting employed in Saudi Arabia or for your air fare, then rest assured that your stay here is going to be miserable. The reason? Either the company which recruits you doesn't want to bear this cost or the agent is so bad that he wants to make a quick buck out of you. In either case, it is not really worth it. And never ever ever give your qualification certificate to your employer / interviewer for safe keeping as he will use it to browbeat you - this is no joke, it has happened to people! Believe me, no place in the world is paradise as Home Sweet Home. If you really do want to come and work in Saudi Arabia, ensure that you work in a good company and that your agent is a reputed one.


Anonymous said...

That was some hard-hitting no-nonsense post. Do keep writing more about such useful topics.

Wayne said...

So, if someone is interested in working in Saudi Arabia, or just the Mideast, how do you go about it? Are recruiters the only way to go?

Expatguru said...

Not necessarily, Wayne. Some recruitments do happen directly by the company themselves, but they are so few and far between. Most companies prefer to use recruitment agents do get rid of the hassles of local logistics. Expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia or in the Middle East have to be cautious, that's all.

Ash said...


I am at Karachi, Pakistan. Could you please let me know if and where i could find a list of good recruiters. Oh and wonderful blog btw.


Expatguru said...


Thanks for your comments. It is impossible to list down the list of all recruiters due to the sheer number. A simple Google search would give you the results.

Anonymous said...


I have been offered a job in Saudi Arabia and i have accepted. I'm meeting my employer soon to sign the papers and contract, is there things i should be carefull on ?

For example can i sign six month contract instead of 2 years contract?

To be honest with you i want to move on if better oppurtunity comes a long so help me.

after finishing my contract if i decide to leave would i get the NOC Letter easily without hastle?



Expatguru said...


Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized and confidential reply by email.