General culture: There is a rich and ancient culture in Eastern Arabia (Arab states of the Persian Gulf). Eastern Arabia's culture has always been orientated towards the sea. While being Arab at its core, it has been heavily influenced by the cultures of Persia, India and Horn of Africa, because of extensive trade links.
Precautions during international travel: It is prohibited to bring with you items such as liquor, movies and films in general, tobacco of any sort, etc. If caught, there is a high risk of imprisonment and sometimes the punishment can be as severe as death by hanging. The law is very strict in this regard.
Labour law is mature and strong, and usually protects both the employer and the employee. Holding of strikes and the formation of unions is now allowed. Engaging in fights between individuals is also not allowed. In case you engage in fights you will lose your job immediately on disciplinary grounds, and usually both individuals will also be deported back to their home country.
Your company will usually provide free accommodation, and the details will be mentioned in your contract. It is common to be placed in shared accommodation. Accommodation is often in worker's camps that are usually in isolated areas a bit away from the main city, and is usually close to your workplace, factory or office. Inside the worker camps there are usually also other facilities inside the camps such as barbers, grocery stores, laundry, currency exchange, and small supermarkets.
Generally, transportation between your accommodation and the work location will be provided by the company. Company transportation is usually company buses. The time spent traveling between your accommodation and work location is not counted as working hours towards your salary. Working hours are only direct hours spent at the work location once you reach the site, usually time spent between entry and exit from site is calculated.
Work Culture and timings: Since the weather is usually extremely hot and humid, the work starts early in the mornings, usually around 6 a.m.
During peak summer times, there is a break given for workers who are working outside to relax and drink adequate water etc. In the summers, there is usually a break from 12 noon to 3pm. The exact break times are declared by the government, and are usually applicable from June to August.
Weather conditions: The weather is extreme, very hot and humid in the summers, and quite cold in the winters. Usually worker camps are in the outskirts of the city and temperatures are more extreme in these locations.
8 hours of work and 1 hour break every day are standard working hours, and are not considered overtime. Any time spent above 8 hours of work every day are usually counted as overtime, however, the rules vary from company to company and these rules will be specified in your agreement with the company. Overtime rules can also change depending on the workload or work requirements the company has at any given time.
Public Holidays: The Friday of every week is a holy day for Muslims and is a public holiday. Additional public holidays are around Islamic festivals such as Ramadan, Eid, and other events which are usually announced by the government.
Since the campus are usually away from the main cities, the company will usually provide bus service on Fridays to transport you from the camp to the city so that you can do some shopping or meet your friends etc. This service requires coordination between you and the company organizer for exact timings etc.
Work timings during holy month of Ramadan: Ramadan is considered a holy month for Muslims, and it is common practice to not eat or drink and hold a fast (this is usually only enforced for Muslims). Due to the strict requirements on diet, it is not possible to work on a hungry stomach. Therefore, working hours are usually less during Ramadan month. For Muslims, the working day is usually 6 hours, but for non-Muslims the standard 8 hour day will still apply. Usually is a worker is not interested working overtime during Ramadan, no one will force you.
During the holy month of Ramadan no one is allowed to eat outside and in public, where a Muslim who is fasting can see you. This is to make it easier for Muslims to successfully complete their fasting. Usually Muslims will fast from early morning to around 7-8pm in the evenings. The exact times will change every Ramadan and you should make sure you ask what these timings are.
Bachelor restrictions: Due to a conservative culture and respect for traditions, some areas, such as beaches, some shopping malls are not allowed for bachelors to visit. There are also some public places that only allow bachelors to visit on specific days and timings during the
Metro, Bus, Tram, Monorail, water boats, and taxi etc. Exact services vary country to country. In general there is not a very extensive and well-connected bus network. You will usually have to rely on taxis for some part of your journey.
Work locations: It is normal practice for your company to change your work location frequently, based on their own requirements. Usually, once the work on a particular site is complete, you will then work on a different site. Your accommodation and work camp usually remains the same.
Exchange facilities:Generally once you get your salary in to your bank you can withdraw and convert foreign currency to your home country currency.
There are cinema theaters, featuring shows in languages such as Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, English, etc. Movies will be released at different times in different countries, and generally all movies released in India are also released in the Gulf, sometimes even a day early. Ticket costs are approximately AED 25 to AED 40 per person. Cinema theaters are in shopping malls, and in other places traditional theaters are also available. Internet and telephone ticket bookings are available in some theaters, but such bookings usually require a credit card.
Generally most of the companies will transfer your salary directly to your bank account. You will usually not receive cash directly from the company. Using a debit card issues by your bank you can withdraw cash from an ATM machine or from a currency exchange shop. Leave: In general the trend is to allow for a leave once every 2 years (for both skilled and unskilled workers) and for every 1 year for the post of supervisors and above.
Leave salary: Generally after the completion of 2 successful years you will be eligible for a paid leave of 2 months. Some companies will pay for your airline ticket and some companies will pay an allowance for airline ticket every month as part of your salary.