Date Published: 02/15/11
How Nigerians are decieved with fake job offers in Qatar by Yahaya Musa
As a Nigerian Professional resident in Doha, State of Qatar, I would like to draw the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria, The Federal Ministry of External Affairs, and the National Assembly to the activities of some unscrupulous agents in Nigeria, with collaboration of some Nigerian elements in Doha offering Work Visa to unsuspecting Nigerians to work and live in Qatar. This practice has been on for some time but has recently reached a frightening dimension in the last few months.
There are now many Nigerians living roughly, some in detention, many living in uncompleted buildings earmarked for demolition, as a result of a scam going on in Nigeria about Qatar Work visas.
Qatar is a tiny emirate in the Middle East. It is a country rich in oil and gas resources which have fueled the infrastructural and economic development of this Arabian Peninsula nation over the past decades. This economic boom has seen the migration of people from South East Asia, Europe, America and Africa to this small Gulf State. The local Qatari people are also friendly and receptive to foreigners of diverse languages, cultural and religious background. In anticipation of the influx of economic migrant to support the Nations growth, the government of the State of Qatar has an effective immigration system that has been designed to ensure that only legal immigrants are allowed to live and work in Qatar.
While Work Visa as it’s currently being secured for Nigerians by Local Nigerian agents in Qatar and their collaborators in Nigeria grants you the right to live in Qatar, there is no job attached to this Visa. The impression given is that once you arrive in Qatar, Jobs are waiting for you as there are opportunities everywhere. This is not the truth as there are many Nigerians on the streets of Doha today seeking employment without headway for months and in some cases over a year.
Some have returned home disappointed after borrowing money and selling properties to secure Qatar Work visa with high expectations of better life. They lived in harrowing conditions in slums and labour quarters before finding their way back to their motherland. The Agents, who procured the Visa disappeared and live these individuals to the mercy of friends and fellow Nigerians to assist to the best of their abilities. The saddening thing is that most of these unfortunate migrants left paid employment behind in Nigeria, to seek “greener pastures” as painted by this Work Visa Agents.
I must state clearly that, there are indeed job opportunities for qualified professionals in Qatar, and many Nigerians are gainfully employed and practicing their professions in Qatar, it is important to highlight the danger posed by the activities of these nefarious individuals not only to law abiding Nigerians in Qatar, but also the image of the Nigeria Nation. In addition, because of the bad publicity this has generated in government circle, stricter restriction on the issuance of Visa for Nigerians is in place. All hotels in Qatar no longer process Nigeria tourist Visa as applicable to Nationals of other countries willing to come to Qatar on holiday. Despite all these, there has been no official response to this malaise by the relevant Nigerian Embassies in the Gulf.
The implication of this is that, Nigerians with genuine business/holiday interest are refused entry visa. This was not the case five years ago, as you could apply for Visa for anyone by approaching any of the hotels in Doha.
This article is aimed at bringing to the notice of the Nigerian Government, the dangers posed by unscrupulous “visa agents” as well as the attendant suffering and hardship being faced by unemployed and starving Nigerians roaming the streets of Doha, Qatar.
As has been published already in an article already circulating the internet by some professionals in Qatar, please find below all the information you need to know about Qatar visas. What You Must Know about Qatar Work Visa.
• Any genuine employer of labour in Qatar will not ask prospective employees to pay a Visa fee. The employer will also be responsible for the flight ticket from Nigeria to Doha.
• The pretext of the people involved in the work visa racket is that they are providing opportunity for people to travel. This cannot be true as this is rather for their economic gains. The actual cost of work visa in Qatar is about N30000 equivalent, however charges for this Visa in Nigeria ranges between N500000 and N600000. This clearly shows that this is for economic gains of individuals
• The Qatar Visa is issued in different categories depending on the job being offered. The category of the job/title is written on the Visa in Arabic language, thus many are not aware of the job category that has been indicated on their Work Visa. The implication of this is that, an experienced graduate can be given a visa indicating his level of job is a Laborer without his knowledge as he cannot read nor understand Arabic. This individual will come to Qatar looking for a professional job, not knowing that by his Visa status, he cannot use his credentials to work. There have seen cases of graduate that are denied employment to qualified positions, after long term search for job
because of the limitation posed by their visa category.
• As applicable in all countries of the world including Nigeria, trainee positions are reserved for Nationals of the country. Just like it will be difficult for any employer of labour in Nigeria to employ a Non–Nigerian without any demonstrable experience, while young graduates in Nigeria are looking for jobs, Qatari government also has the policy of recruiting young Qataris to development position in both private and government institution. Thus, as a prospective expatriate in Qatar, you need to be able to demonstrate skill in a particular area that cannot be resourced internally. A fresh Nigerian graduate that has no working experience, and is promised job in Qatar should have this understanding. You need to have a number of years of experience before you can be considered for position. It is better you develop yourself to that level before you look out for international opportunities. Then, employer will source for you and you do not need to pay for your visa and flight tickets to Qatar
• Within three months of entering into Qatar on work visa, you will be required to complete the process of your residence permit. This information is usually not mentioned by these unscrupulous agents to their clients. Work Visa grants you access to the country as a legal immigrant, but without the residence permit, you cannot stay in Qatar. You will still need to pay for the processing of the residence permit. Before the permit is issued, you need to undergo a medical test, anyone that fail will be deported to his home country at his own cost immediately. There have been cases of deportation based on this requirement.
• Another deception by these agents is that the Work Visa issued is a freelance Visa and you do not have to work with the company that issued the Visa. This is being economic with the truth. The fact is that, if you are lucky enough to get a job before you complete your residence permit process (Note the time limits in point 5 above and the restriction posed by visa type in point 3), it may be easy to process your residence permit under the new employer. However, if you are not able to get a job within three months, and you have to do the residence permit under the company that processed your visa to Qatar, then you cannot change job or sponsoring company until after one year. The implication of this is that you will be in Qatar without any paid employment for the next one year. That’s a whole year wasted and many in that condition are very much dependent on relations from Nigeria to send money for their upkeep or rely on the benevolence of other Nigerians in Qatar.
With the issue of the hosting right of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar, the activities of this Work Visa agents has stepped up with promises of lofty jobs on arrival in Qatar. This is nothing but a fleece. Nigerians should be guided by the information provided above in making any decision about paying through their nose to procure this “freelance work visa”. Beware!!