Being an OFW in Saudi – Advantages and Disadvantages. How to find jobs in Saudi Arabia? Are you one of the millions of Filipinos who wish and dream to work in Saudi Arabia to seek green pasture? Know the benefits of being an OFW in Saudi and the Middle East. The pay and salary are awesome but then what are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a job employment in Saudi? Know them before going abroad.
To be an OFW is never an easy thing. Honestly, I stumbled in theorizing how to start writing this article for the first time in my life.
From a young age, I’ve witnessed a lot of Filipino workers abroad who’ve been through a lof of sacrifices for the betterment of their lives. Behind all the prestige and reputation they get from people way back home, lies an adversity and misfortune that they keep on surpassing because of great effort and perseverance in what they do for the benefit of many loved ones.
For an unmarried man or woman, except for those who are not handling heavy responsibilities, financial problems could be somehow manageable. But for those who are into marriage and belongs in a big family, it’s another story around.
The accountability could be really tough. I am not an OFW, not an expert either. But I am well aware with the pros and cons of OFW working in Saudi Arabia. I should tell you, it should be a provocation for you to consider this article. Why? Because it will serve as your guide and will broaden your understanding regarding of what’s waiting ahead if you’re aspiring to work there or you can even share it to your friends just to give them a snapshot.
Being an OFW in Saudi
Moving on to the matter, working abroad has a lot of joys and challenges and has been one of the imperative issues our nation is facing today. It has been an issue because everybody thinks going abroad is the only solution to poverty and hunger.
Many Filipinos believe that the way to improve one’s economic status is to work abroad which often leads them to misconception. Although there are better opportunities there, it shouldn’t be the main solution.
In my own point of view, going abroad isn’t the only way. Anyone can be a successful person, in his/her career, by focusing on his/her area of expertise, also depending on his effort, perseverance, right strategies and educational background.
Despite of the high salary and better benefits abroad, there are also security issues and uncertainties that we have to consider along the way before we jump into a final decision of flying away from the country we originally live in.
And please be reminded that life abroad can be really rewarding but do consider its consequences. The verifiable naked truth is that the advantages we get from working in this kingdom, are those same credits we get from working in any other countries. Culture and traditions only makes the difference.
Advantages and Benefits of Working in Saudi
Have you ever been an OFW? If yes, you might just figure out what I’m going to break out. If you haven’t tried to work abroad, then it’s advisable for you to continue reading this article.
The feeling of being able to comply with the government’s requirements, going through a grueling and intense process for your application and eventually getting hired in the end, and know that you’re qualified to work abroad, is a big accomplishment every individual can be proud of, no matter what position is waiting for you out there.
People will never ask if you’re successful afterwards or not. The fact that you made it, gives you a prestige. It leads you to fame because people will look at you as a bank full of cash, though not everyone thinks this way.
When you see an OFW, you usually think that person has surpassed poverty already, although you’d never know. To wrap it up, this prestige gives you an exciting feeling and increases your self-esteem.
Economic financial benefits
Life here will be very different to what you were used to back home, but that’s not to say it can’t be fulfilling and prosperous. Your pay will be largely tax-free and you will also enjoy benefits including healthcare, housing allowances, paid holidays and educational support.
Since 2000, a lot of OFWs are deciding to take their family from Philippines and bring them to Saudi Arabia because of the benefits offered. Most of the families are enjoying their stay in KSA because life there, beyond any doubt, is very convenient. The climactic and atmospheric conditions are not big issues since they can just stay at home during rain of ice or sand storm. The weather may suck sometimes, but believe me, this country is one of the best home for every family.
This is worth to be recognized as well. Every work experience we get, from any places, is always an advantage. You should be grateful for every knowledge that you get from every work that has been entrusted to you. That certain job may not be your source of income for the rest of your life, but it could somehow help you with some other stuffs, who knows?
And plus, if you’re intelligent and lucky enough to be hired in a prestigious position, the company usually provides all the travel expenses so you can bring your family with you in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the outstanding benefits in the kingdom.
It’s so hard to be in those days when you’re sick and all you have beside you are fruits and medicines, no one’s taking care of you. Every Christmas, not everyone has an opportunity to see their families and embrace them. So what usually happens, they spend their Christmas alone.
Forget about the gifts, forget about the lights. That’s why Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia living there for more than 10 years is such a blessing from our almighty God, because not everyone has an opportunity to be in a place where they want to.
Exposure is an ambiguous word so let’s try to specify. You could be exposed to anything when you’re there, both good and bad occurrences. But the best part to get exposed at is their culture and traditions.
It can really be rewarding because it is challenging to be in a place where people and the language is different. Obviously, theirs is a lot different so this gives you another knowledge, something new to learn. Exploring cultures and traditions is highly exciting.
Just to inform you that recruiters are being strict nowadays, because there has been a so-called ‘Saudization’ that resulted from unemployment of many Filipino Overseas Workers. Some are forced to convert to an Islam religion, for the sake of not getting terminated and stay at a particular job they’re in or so they could re-apply again.
If you come to notice, there are many newspapers with job offers from Saudi Arabia, that says only Muslim can apply. But I believe, we should take a look at the other side of the story. The truth is, there are numerous jobs that either require skills they do not have or are type of works that Saudis will not do especially physically stressing jobs. So they will still probably hire some Filipino people. But in terms of religion, they’d choose Muslims and overlook the rest who are not.
Competition is legitimately fierce, but there’s no reason to give up. If the job is for you, it is meant to be yours.
I know a lot of people are already given an idea that every person who applies for a residence visa in this kingdom gets issued an iqama (pronounced “ih-gaa-muh”), which is the equivalent of a national passport. You should never leave it at home.
‘m sure we all know that women in Saudi Arabia are required to wear their abaya, whenever they’re staying outdoors. The abaya is the floor length long sleeve garment that all women in Saudi must wear when out in public. The Muslim women in Saudi must also wear a headscarf, no exceptions when it comes to women.
If you’re a woman, at least 14 of age, be careful of not wearing your headscarf because the “Mutawwah”, the religious police, will always ask you to cover your head. Some are too stubborn because they still take their head cover off when the officers are gone. And to tell you more of what it’s like to be in there, all restaurants have two sections; a single males section and a family section.
They’re very strict with women, even in driving, they are not allowed to do it. It’s so sad to say that most of them can’t fight for their rights, because that’s how it is in this kingdom, that’s a part of their cultures and traditions.
In Saudi, however, when prayer time comes, the entire economy comes to a screeching halt! Stores close, restaurants shut their doors, and things come to a complete stop until the prayers are over.
Considering this happens 5 times a day, you can imagine how much of a hassle that becomes! So, these are just some of the issues you have to be informed about, regarding their cultures and traditions with a combination of their rules and regulations, although I did not mention everything.
Disadvantages of OFW Working in Saudi Arabia
Let’s go to through the matter and tackle about its opposite side, the disadvantages.
This doesn’t only happen for OFW in Saudi Arabia but to every part of the country where there are OFWs. I mentioned it because a lot of applicants don’t usually prepare themselves for this kind of situation. It’s time to uncover it.
Surely, not seeing your family for a very long time can put you in a very depressing situation. The good thing is, instead of seeing this are negatively, they don’t mind these absences because they see it as a necessary sacrifice to support the education of their children.
Usually, when you’re new to a place, this happens. And it’s normal. Don’t get nervous because whatever happens, you’ll get used to it. The place may seem new and mysterious, but once you remind yourself why you’re there, it might be because of your family, you’ll feel inspired, enjoy and last longer in that place no matter what obstacles are ahead.
Make friends and familiarize yourself until you get used to it. Saudi Arabia may look like a boring place, but a lot of adventures are waiting for you.
Discrimination in some ways
Usually, this happens in terms of wages and other social security benefits. And I’m not saying Arabs are discriminating Filipinos. It’s just so obvious when it comes to job positions, they give us less opportunities and offers low paid jobs while they give more to their co-Arabs, which is normal because they’re the real citizens there.
Life in Saudi is different and often demanding, but if you have an open mind and are flexible to other cultures and their requirements, many people live and work in the kingdom for many years, traveling all over the world and banking large sums of tax-free income.
If these things are not showstoppers and the current war on terrorism situation there doesn’t bother you, then life in Saudi can be a very interesting and rewarding overseas place to live. Overall, the pros and cons would be no worry to you.
Although this is not so felt now because of Facebook and Skype, still we can’t avoid the fact of the long distance longing thing.