The other day, a very good friend of mine called me, distraught about her job. I am one of those people who empathize with anyone who is being treated unfairly. She only recently started working at a small company and she has already discovered the main concern of many expats working here in Kuwait: lack of job security. Hire an expat, fire an expat, hire someone else for WAY less money. It usually happens after the Western person has been in Kuwait for about a year. Could be less – depending.
Of course, I am generalizing, but unfortunately, it happens a lot.
It is happening now at a very large logistics company with lots of Americans on staff. The homeys are asked to leave and quietly slip away because they are too worried about rocking the boat and potentially getting themselves into trouble.
My advice to my dear friend - toughen up and always have a Plan B. You can't take it personally (although it is, you have to pretend for a while that it isn't). You have got to network in Kuwait. You have got to know what your options are should something happen to you suddenly. Feel out the market. Find places that you would like to go to work if something happens to your current job. Determine which companies are working on the interesting/profitable projects in your field. Talk to people there. Mingle. Network. Cover your ass.
Know your rights.
All of a sudden, a whole lot of companies are "extending" the 100 day employee probation period – thinking that, should they fire the employee at say 130 days, the employee won't know the difference. By Kuwait Labor Law, a company can ONLY give an employee a 100 day probation period. No more. After 100 days, they are guaranteed rights (like not being terminated a the drop of a dime).
Do you know what happens to your credit cards if you are a Westerner here and lose your job? (Credit cards which you have obtained from the bank where your salary is being deposited into and debited directly from your account each month.) If your salary isn't transferred by EFT to the bank on the usual transfer date, whatever is in your account is immediately taken to cover your credit card (since they are all "secured" cards here). Then, your credit card is cancelled until your new employer provides you with a salary certificate and the first electronic funds transfer transaction takes place. In other words, you will have no money to get back to where ever you came from (unless you have your money in another account or overseas).
Do you know what happens if you are fired and a company doesn't feel like paying you your settlement? You have to take them to court. It may take years to actually receive any money. If you don't know of any good lawyers in Kuwait, you should find out. Establish a relationship with a lawyer just incase. Go have coffee with a lawyer and make friends. Send him/her a card on Eid or special occasions. Make them remember you should anything ever happen.