lørdag 4. oktober 2008


Dubai dreams fade away
Dubai, the city paved with gold, where many expatriate workers have made their golden dreams come true through long years of hard work, is fast losing its allure. On the contrary, it is fast becoming a nightmare. It has been an ever popular destination for the desperately jobless Sri Lankan workers, past and present, for over three decades. But today that dream is slowly being shattered like soap bubbles exposed to the hot desert air, as the authorities place heavier burdens on the working populace.
Trouble began when Dubai Municipality introduced a law that only one family could live in a villa. Thousands of workers share bed space in villas in order to save a substantial amount of their earning which they could remit back home. With the new rule already in effect, where the landlord could be fined up to 50,000.00 Dhirams (App.Rs.150,000.00) for sheltering more than one family, many have been evicted and are scrambling to neighbouring emirates where rents are cheaper and travelling becomes much lengthier and costlier. Many who have children and shared villas with other families are getting back to their country as they cannot cope with the cost of education for their kids. It is expected that this rule will shortly extend to all those sharing apartments too, triggering an exodus of people who will be out on the road without shelter, becoming temporary nomads.

The lucky ones are those given accommodation by their employers, such as the airline companies and hotels.

Authorities here seem to be in a hurry to fill the thousands of gleaming new flats now available at an exorbitant price! The expatriate workers do not have and do not want to part with such sums of hard earned money for rents as they will not be able to save any money.

The nightmare continues in other areas as getting to work on time is increasingly frustrating with a pathetic public transport system and a thick-skinned taxi service! The roads are clogged with more and more vehicles as new toll systems at several major bridges are also creating confusion and an additional dent in the purse. It is imperative that you live close to your office and your children attend a nearby school to avoid a daily dose of exasperation and expenditure.

With the cost of living rising steadily and rumours of a tax on your pay packet coming soon, the golden era the workers enjoyed is fast fading away. Many have decided to call it quits and go home, even if it means going back to nothing.

Take heed, if you are preparing to come on an employment visa, make sure your employer provides you with accommodation or else you are in for your initial jolt on an exasperating bumpy journey to realizing your dreams.

Amarnath Paul

courtesy: www island.lk