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Becoming an ex-pat or staying a national

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

Becoming an ex-pat or staying a national

Old 27th Dec 2013, 19:48
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Calgary
Posts: 16
Cool Becoming an ex-pat or staying a national

I've heard so many stories from my fellow Canadian co-workers about what it's like working overseas, some good, but mostly bad. I'm sure you've heard the same, no job security, you can get laid off in a moments notice, far harder working conditions, and just the general struggles with adjusting to a different country and culture.

Thought I'd take it to the source and get your take, the good the bad, and the ugly. To me, working overseas seems amazing, for starters you don't have to deal with eight months of winter.. And trust me, that may be all the reason I need! Lol!
Chadflies is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2013, 21:27
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: meh
Posts: 659
I don't work for Emirates but I understand no one has ever been fired as a pilot. Correct me if I am wrong of course.

Attitude is the key. If you accept this is home you will enjoy it. I personally do. I laugh at the bullshit knowing I can go back to the real world but that said, I don't want to. Nor does my family. I find that those who send the family home often struggle the most.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 22:02
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 68
This is such an individual question but two things...do you have a family? And are you ready for a 10 year plus commitment?
If you have kids, you will live a VERY average lifestyle on an FO salary and not likely put away much money (if any) until you see an upgrade which is stretching out to more like 5 - 7 years now at EK. Doesn't seem like a problem but you will be surrounded by expats who appear to be flush with cash and spend it at every turn. It is a hard place to live a frugal lifestyle with any quality of life and not feel like you are being shafted. Everything costs there and if you have kids...schooling and activities costs are through the roof and a lot of dubious quality there.
It's just not the great gig that it used to be.
As for weather, expect four months of near perfect conditions between November to mid-March. Once the end of April hits, you are in it...super hot, humid conditions for a solid five to six months without breaks. There are no fluctuation in the plus 40 degree range and very little do except spend the time inside the four walls of your villa or shopping mall. Totally different to a winter where the temperature can range from pretty lovely to brutally cold. Even in Canada I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a place that was solidly sub minus twenties for a four month stretch, unless you are talking extreme North.
Alot to consider but I wouldn't touch it if I had a family. Not a bad gig for a single guy though.
Bindair Dundat is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2013, 03:25
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Dubai
Posts: 768
I don't work for Emirates but I understand no one has ever been fired as a pilot. Correct me if I am wrong of course.
No That is not correct at all, however totally agree with your point
Attitude is the key
There is always a little fear factor here, but in general good operators who play the game keep their jobs with ease.
ruserious is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2013, 04:20
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UAE
Posts: 966
Nobody at EK has been made redundant, plenty have been fired. However, do your job to a reasonable standard, keep your profile low and pick your battles and you should be fine. Job security for those who can fit in is very good- what it would be like if EK ever started to loose money I dread to think.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 05:10
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: i'm in the parking lot
Posts: 244
It would be redundancies out of seniority to both the FO's AND the Captain's list....no downgrades I'd imagine
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 07:02
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Dubai - sand land.
Age: 52
Posts: 2,759
I hardly think redundancies are likely; Massive numbers of new aircraft to come (not just fleet replacement either)...
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 07:12
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: A Town Near You
Posts: 69
"Far harder working conditions"
Having worked 25years in The Great White North.....I'd say "NO way close"
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 08:44
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 458
The weather is great which is a real bonus. Yes getting used to the way of life there is a hurdle but not that much of a problem. The biggest problem is the uncertainty. I had my contract terminated without warning after 9 months for no real reason (they just do it if they feel like it) and I'm owed 3 months salary which I doubt I'll ever see. If you go there, save as much cash as you can, send it home. Enjoy as much as the middle east can give you, but always be ready for the quick exit. If you have family going with you then make sure they always have an exit strategy. In hindsight, I now use the phrase "money isn't everything".
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 14:53
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Below the tropopause
Posts: 381
I love the Middle East and yes I too have been made redundant here at short notice but managed to find another job in the M.E quite quickly. There's a few things you have to get your head around and make sure you fully understand those because fighting it will make your life complicated and leave you frustrated.

Firstly you are in their country and there is a different religion and culture than back home. Things are done way different and don't try and improve it. You'll always rank behind a local and it's your fault even though you might have propably been right. Ce'st la vie, just accept it and move on.

Life is xpensive here. Before coming over make a choice and stick by it. You'll either go for money in the bank/back home or go for a lovely lifestyle and have just enough to survive the month, don't even think of saving. (assuming f/o with wife and kids) The claim it's tax free and on your monthly payslip that's in theory correct. But there are some ways they claim back that money you would otherwise have paid to the goverment. What do you think pays for all the bling bling etc?

Uncertainty. Your visa is only valid for 2, or some GCC countries 3 years. Some add a seperate contract duration to it, some don't. Nothing is permanent even if it's specified so. Rent is expensive and expect to pay a hefty sum and even more so after every two years. Schooling will cost you an arm and a leg too, even if the company has a set allowance for it. Expect to start paying out of your own pocket from year 2 or 3 onwards. (nursery and <4 yrs is fully on yourself) All classes and hobbies for kids are seriously expensive!

And yes it's bloody hot for 6 months, seriously hot! 4 months are lovely and the other two are so so.

Although you'll have lot's of likeminded friends quicky it's difficult and expensive for friends and family to visit you. Make sure your kids and wife settle in quickly as it will be a big shock for them. You'll be off flying and doing what you like but the wife is at home between 4 walls, sometimes with screaming kids to entertain her. Make sure she drives and gets on facebook/forums quickly to get her, and the kids, out of the house and comfortable.

You'll miss home and the things you are used to. But always remember there are other things here that make you're life 'richer'. Things you wouldn't have done/seen/experinced if you had stayed in your comfort zone. Depending on the airline obviously, but I would say it is not a career choice for life. Lot's of folks who are here out of necessity, not choice.

Life is what you make of it but just come prepared. Make no illusion, if you can be replaced by a local, they will. The good thing is the expension of some of these companies is so vast it just can't be crewed with locals only.

Redundancy. It has happend to me and I understand it, it doesn't make me bitter or angry. Just wary and prepared. The M.E. has so far given me opportunities I would have never had in Europe, and much quicker too. (Working)Life here is much easier than previously back home. No plans to go back to the civilized world any time soon...

Last edited by High Energy; 28th Dec 2013 at 17:43.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 16:32
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: not in Dubai anymore
Age: 91
Posts: 713
how long have you been here high energy?
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 16:41
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: uk
Posts: 255
High Energy,

Out of curiosity what do you love about living in the middle east? Everything you listed in your post seemed seemed negative.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 17:12
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: A Town Near You
Posts: 69
High Energy
One of the most concise, comprehensive
unbiased, straight forward and honest
Opinions of "life" in the dunes

For Me,
Come with "eyes open wide" and you will enjoy flying in this part of the world
YFlex is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2013, 17:24
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Below the tropopause
Posts: 381
I've been in the GCC for a number of years and my youngest was born here too. Very impressed with the medical attention and care.

I know my post could be percieved as negative but my aim was to highlight only those facts as for an outsider it's difficult to get a good perspective of what's in store. We all know about the things to see/do in certain countries but hearing/reading what it's like to actually live there is different, I assume that's what the original poster was after.

Why do I like it? My kids go to a fantastic school, have a great mixed and broad view of life/the world. They get into contact with cultures and habits they would otherwise have missed. Same for the wife and visiting family/friends. You get to do some amazing things you would otherwise not have experienced. (IMHO) 4-6 months of great weather, bbq'ing, swimming in your own pool in the backyard and just enjoying what life has to offer in general. I just make sure my leave is planned between may-oct so I only have to bear 4 months of 'oven like' temps.

My job is secure and my company is expanding at a incredible pace. Yes the flying is different than back home. All nighters, 1am check-in's, warzones etc. But that's the middle east for ya. Don't come here if you hate that. Yet I've got more days off per month, more leave than back home, less nightstops, pretty much in control of my own roster and A LOT more quality time with my family. Yet I fly more block hours than back home. I'm one of those pilots who actually likes to fly a lot. My current company is well organized and forward thinking with state of the art equipment. Not this bullsh*t of penny pinching, downsizing, many annoying health-and-safety, security rules etc etc. Flying wise the challenges of different weather extremes/climates etc is what I do miss but that doesn't outweigh the other positives.

I make good money, more than I would ever make back home and still have enough disposable income to enjoy what's left at the end of the month whilst enjoying living in a fantastic house/area. The wife loves it and she has a good social circle and is really active and content. Same can be said for the kids. What more do I want...?

Again, this is just my 0.02c. It's such a delicate subject that is quite personal. It all depends on where you are in life, what you want from it and what's currently happening to you. I know it's not for some but I'm enjoying it for now. And yes, it's only untill we feel our time's up, are able to move elsewhere (aka it's always been a personal quest to move to a certain continent/country/airline) when the markets improve and the financial situation is sound. Untill then, life here's quite good.

I'm just the messenger of my experience...

Edit: If you want another very entertaining but oh so true blog about living in Abu Dhabi/UAE then please read this blog and make sure your wife reads it too. I think many of us here with a family can relate to her blog. Although she has just moved to Jakarta, scrolling back through the archives gives you quite a good insight into life in Abu Dhabi/UAE. (in this example) Other parts of the GCC, excluding Saudi/Kuwait/Iran/Yemen etc etc, are pretty similar.

Last edited by High Energy; 28th Dec 2013 at 18:04.
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Old 28th Dec 2013, 18:50
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: hang on let me check
Posts: 622
Chadflies at the end of the day what you get is a job. If you need one by all means go to the M.E. or anywhere you can find a good company/compromise and enjoy the experience.

If you have a good/good enough career already then stay where you are and see the world during your holidays.

I am afraid it is as simple as that. It saves you leaving, realising what you had wasn't so bad, and start moaning non stop. Like I have seen many do.
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 07:15
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,037
Regarding EK, no pilot has ever been made redundant or been fired. However, plenty have 'resigned'!

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Old 29th Dec 2013, 07:23
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: FL 370
Posts: 13


Can you please confirm that as an family fo in ek, no name, qr you do not save anything ?
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 08:29
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: overthere
Posts: 2,961

How old are your kids, and how many? They at school? This makes a big difference. Pre school age you will do ok. School age things become a bit tight. Do you want family holidays each year? It all costs, and the older the kids the more it costs. I wouldn't plan on much savings until command time.

When I was FOing the profit cher use to pay off my credit card bill built up over the year. Unfortunately it would seem that cher won't be playing here anymore.

The don
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Old 29th Dec 2013, 08:46
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: FL 370
Posts: 13

Thank you don

In my case they are school age. I get your point

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Old 29th Dec 2013, 17:22
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Around
Age: 44
Posts: 83
Admittedly I'm not at FO in EK, I'm an ATCO, but I have plenty of friends who work for EK and as far as I'm aware, by the time things like flight pay and allowances are factored in, the FO's take home pay each month isn't far off what we in ATC are on.

Based on that, I don't understand how people are saying that you can't save here. I have a young family (wife, 2 kids), and although some things are more expensive than Europe, other things aren't. We're not party animals by any stretch, but nor are we hermits who lock ourselves away in the villa or apartment. We're still saving a significant amount of money each month.

We have our accomodation paid for (like the EK guys and gals) as well as all our bills covered, and although the kids haven't started school yet, when they do the company will cover it. If I have to top it up a little bit by then, so be it. I don't have a mortgage to pay here, I don't have any household utility bills to pay, running my car is dirt cheap compared to back home, my salary is more than I was earning back home and I don't lose anything by way of income tax. My health cover is covered by the company and although I have to pay a deductible on any treatment, It's no more than an NHS prescription charge back in the UK.

Which is why I don't understand why some people say they can't save money here.

If you fall into the trap of thinking as soon as you get here you have to have the biggest, shiniest car, eat at the most expensive restaurants a couple of times a week, have a maid to look after your little darlings so that wifey can sun it up with the other Jumeirah Janes, as well as regular brunches, then I guess it adds up.

But we've found that as long as you're relatively sensible, you can have a great life here, with regular 'Dubai recharge' trips outta here every couple of months, as well as saving a decent sum of money too.
mhk77 is offline  

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