NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Jobseekers complain of recruitment agency 'scam'
Sharjah - Dec. 20: Desperate jobseekers say they have fallen victim to a scam by a recruitment agency group which charged them for arranging interviews which never happened.
Jobseekers said they were taken in by British Management Consulting and Employee Service Centre and Orient Employment Services, the companies which make up the recruitment group, which promised them jobs and even arranged fake interviews.
The group, which operates through two offices in Al Buhaira, charges jobseekers a registration fee of between Dh50 and Dh100.
It also takes a Dh500 interview fee which includes fees for writing CVs.
Roughly 50 people register with the company daily, according to company's data. The group attracts customers by advertising vacancies in daily newspapers and does not mention it is a recruitment agency.
M.A.W, a Pakistani lady who registered with the company together with two of her friends, said they were promised a job after they saw an advertisement announcing a vacancy for sales executives. They were promised that the interview was just a formality and that they were already selected for the job.
"They took us to an office in Bur Dubai and said that this was the company we would be working for. Nothing has happened yet and we did not receive anything other than empty promises," she said.
Aiman Al Zitawe, Group Manager of the company, denied the allegations and said its job was to broker between the employer and the jobseeker and the fees they charged were in return for the services they provided. "I make it clear to people that I do not sell jobs, but they seem not to get that," said Aiman.
He said several complaints have been filed against the company through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
S.P, a Sri Lankan jobseeker, who had registered with the company after he saw an advertisement for a cook, said he registered with the company two weeks ago and had not received any of the services promised.
"They called me up just after I registered with them and told me that they had arranged an interview. So I went and paid the money, but until now I have not managed to meet the alleged employer," said S.P.
Agreement: Police do not see cause for complaint
Humaid Bin Deemas, Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour, said that it is illegal to take money from jobseekers only to broker between the employer and the jobseeker.
"Trading with the dreams of desperate people is intolerable even if they have signed papers saying that the money is non-refundable," he said.
Several people said they could not file a case with the police because they refused to register their complaint. An official at Al Buhaira Police Station in Sharjah confirmed that they received many complaints from people every day.
"But there is no criminal act involved as there is a written agreement between the company and the customers which states that the money paid is non-refundable," he said.
Parents outraged by school fee increases of up to 70%
Duba - Dec. 20: Parents were up in arms yesterday when seven schools in the UAE opted to go in for a fee hike ranging from 55 per cent to 70 per cent.
Three of these schools belong to the Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) and have already sent circulars of the revised fee structure to parents.
A Ministry of Education official told Gulf News that the ministry is yet to provide approval for a fee revision to these schools.
“The ministry has not been notified about the hike. Some of these schools are not allowed to ask for a hike in fee structure. As per the ministry regulations a fee revision is only allowed every three years. The maximum increase should not be more than 20 per cent,” said a ministry official.
A parent who has four school age children said; “When I received the circular for a fee revision from the Cambridge International School I was shocked. The school had already brought in a fee hike of 20 per cent in September 2005.”
The circular from the Cambridge International School reads “In order for us to enhance teachers’ salaries, needs, increased operating costs and continue to improve on our high standards, tuition fees will increase by 30 per cent from January 2007 and a further 25 per cent at the beginning of next academic year in September 2007.”
The circular further says that the Ministry of Education has been informed of this fee revision.
Similarly a circular from The Westminster School, Dubai says that in order to continue providing a world class international education for all students, it is essential to increase tuition fees by 70 per cent.
The fees will be increased in two stages, 35 per cent in January 2007 and 35 per cent in the next academic year in September 2007.
“We received complaints from parents whose children study in seven different schools in Dubai regarding fee hike,” said Abdul Rehman Yousef, head of the private school licensing section at the Dubai Education Zone. “We have to investigate the issue and if it turns out to be true then it will be considered as a violation. In such cases the schools will have to pay a Dh10,000 fine,” he added.
“I am sure that the schools did not get the permission to implement the fee hike. It is ridiculous. It was only last year that the schools increased their fees. The ministry should come down heavily on these schools,” said another parent whose two children attend a private school in Dubai.
Another parent whose children attend one of the GEMS schools said: “It is very painful. On one hand we have the exorbitant rent on the other we are burdened with a fee hike every year. Unfortunately our income remains the same. We also need to plan for our children’s higher education. My daughter is in grade 10 and with this fee hike we have no other choice but to get her into another school.”
According to a ministry official schools have to apply a month prior to the start of the school.
An official statement from Global Education Management Systems said that parents of pupils at Cambridge International School, the Westminster School and the Winchester school were informed on Monday of fee increases, ranging from 25 per cent to 35 per cent, effective January 2007.
Previously, in June, parents were informed of a potential fee increase scheduled for September of this year.