So who said cape-less HEROism in the Mid-east is fun? Oi, its no-easy leaving/saving your family and the collapsing economy behind. Thus, the heroic, but self-deprived motto: "greater opportunity comes with greater DANGER and responsibility". But a residence visa is a MUST to earn that government-given Title (w/c I found satirical more than a consolation). In this light, gloomied jobseekers holding visit-visa, should by hook or by crook, obtain the saving grace of Residency within 30-60 days of visit in the newest "promised" land; or else, he/she will be sent back to point of origin w/ empty hand, shattered dream & broken heart. Expensive lessons in the mind and lots of country-photos for friendster anyway, would complement the experience. :(
The national pandemonium w/c has brought unprecedented panic to the stranded "heroes" and their equally frantic relatives all started when last July, this ever-changing UAE Immigration mandated another-clever ruling on VISA-structure & extension -accordingly meant to eschew the abuse & mis-use of visa by tourists or visitors. Pls Read here and here for further info.
While the sudden changes spewed anger among the Expatriate community and disorientation in Travel Agencies, the downsizing Order spell doom for Pinoys now marooned in the open, yet prison-environment of KISH and Qeshm Island in Iran, and in Buraimi at the Sultanate of Oman.
To back-up my today's supposed serious rant, let me share you a few of my “tourism” pix taken during our rough but meaningful times in the Persian Island together with my then fellow Tourist..err.."stranded" in smiley faces. Oh, I also remember, I became their BFF (bestfriend forever) right after my hours of arrival in the veiled Terminal :) I was surrounded w/ joking people filled with pain & sorrow inside. There is where I appreciate the true essence of giving, sharing, listening and counselling. I learnt to count my blessings too. Blessings these people are yet to see - i.e., ready visa & good job, ample budget to keep my feet and mouth around. And most importantly, a sound sleep I never had - back in "the busy City of Glamour, Dream & Gold". Above all, I had gathered interesting tales that triggers the writer in me.
But then the “forever” thing fleets everytime one's golden visa arrived. Like the UAE laws, nothing really is permanent these days. Not even the Bagong Bayani's long-wait in queue, in hunger & in thirst, in desperation & in careless abandon. And I hope not even the negligence of Philippine Consulate and its well-paid Officers.
There is SILVERLINING in every dark cloud and there is LIGHT at the end of every tunnel. May the stranded "Heroe's" FIND these sayings SOON!
Other Alarming Facts:
- Those who've been there for months, even years, survived by begging from compatriots and providing part time services to new arrivals.
- Some of them have been abandoned by prospective employers.
- Some have been driven to commit suicide out of misery.
- Stranded women migrants are forced into prostitution in order to survive.
(An Excerpt from the Letter of Ramon Bultron, Director for Asia-Pacific Migrant Workers to Manila Times dd Oct 4, 08)