Wednesday 14 January 2015

Relocating from South Africa to Dubai

We were living in South Africa on work and visitors visas. They expire on January 10th 2015.

We have been saying all year to the company we have to leave by december 17th at the latest because South Africa closes down and doesn't reopen until January 6th.

When I say closes down, I mean you'll get nothing done, for example my car broke down on december 15th 2013. I couldn't get it into a garage, anywhere, for repairs until January 6th.

Also as our visas were expiring we had to be out lock, stock and barrel before that date. We looked into extending our visas for a further 90 days but there has been a change in the law and we no longer qualified. We could leave and return on a 90 day visitors visa but then we wouldn't be eligible to export our cat and dog and our furniture. Our bank accounts would close, we'd have no where to live etc, etc.

Without any guidance we decided to leave December 15th, but ended up leaving on the 17th due to delays with the cat and dogs import papers. We sorted airfreight and suit cases according to our requirements of staying in SA and saving on hotels and from what we'd been led to believe the timescale was from the company in Dubai. We booked the packing and shipping accordingly and ended up 5 nights in a guest house as we were all tired of sleeping on air beds after a week.

The move to South Africa was traumatic, we were misled and misinformed on everything, it cost us 1000's to relocate, rent a house, find the deposit, opening bank accounts was stressful, I couldn't get a sim card, I was frightened and isolated, I had no car, no help, no guidance, nothing.

So upon our move to Dubai, I had the opportunity to visit prior to relocating, meet with HR, explain what happened with the last move and gain reassurances that this wouldn't happen again. I asked for everything to be put in writing and hubby requested the company used our private email for all communication, so what could possibly go wrong?

We arrived at the airport at midnight, with hotel rooms booked. They hadn't booked a taxi for us, but we could sort that.

The following morning hubby goes to the office, I travel to the house to meet the cat and dog. The pet people have hubbies South African phone number, so it's decided I take that and hubby can call me from the office if there are any problems.

I obtain a sim card form the supermarket, hubby collects his bosses car, the house is filthy and none of the repairs have been carried out. No one is answering their phones and hubby informs me that his work visa application hasn't been made.

It just goes down hill from that point on. Complaints to HR and the relocation company are met with 'but we told you that' er no you didn't otherwise we'd have packed additional luggage rather than air freight, we'd have kennelled the pets instead of having to go back and forth to the house twice a day as it was inhabitable and all the stuff we needed to stay in the house is still sitting in South Africa waiting for the residency visas to be in place.

We now discover to activate our visas we have to leave the country and re enter and in my case I have to leave Dubai before the 16th January to extend my 30 day stay and then leave again to activate the visa.

Until hubbies residency visa is in place we cannot ship our air freight, or release our container from customs, which arrived over the christmas period, even if the house is ready for us to move into we can't until our stuff arrives and we are in our 2nd hotel because the company only booked the first one until December 30th which we didn't find out about until they asked us to check out within the hour.

The move is stressful enough, we have the kids with us, this time we moved a cat and a dog, this may be the 2nd relocation we've made but every country is different to move to and from. The only difference this time is I have a phone, I can use public transport and I'm not fearful for my safety to get out and about and explore what Dubai has to offer.

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