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:. Expat package or local hiring contract?

Sent by: S.


Hi Eugenie,


I have a friend who lives in Dubai and she suggested that I should not relocate unless I get an ex-pat packages. Because she said once I am there employers waive the housing and medical benefits and they also give you half the salary that they would have given if you were dealt as an expat. Is this true?


From your experience what would you suggest me to do? I already had an offer for a Senior Supervisor in an Educational Institution there but they only offered a salary which I found a bit low for the job in question. I also had an interview with a consulting firm and they are asking me to have the second interview once am there in September, so I am thinking they will most probably going to offer a local hiring contract and not an expat package.


My partner insists in me coming over there and then he said I will find a good job, but I don’t want to relocate and earn peanuts… if you know what I mean…otherwise, I might as well stay in Greece! Your advice is greatly appreciated!


Thanks a lot,





Dear S.

Your friend does have a point in that it is important to get, if not an expat package, then a good package which includes enough of a Housing and Transport allowance for you to cover your costs.  On the other hand, it is not necessarily true that if you stay in Greece and seek jobs that they will automatically offer you such a package or that they won't if you are here.  It is based more on the company/organisation, their compensation and benefits policies and how well you negotiate.

Many companies will try their luck.  If the candidate accepts a low salary, then great!  If not, then they will bargain with you until you both reach a mutually agreed level or they reach a limit they feel they cannot cross.  Many organisations do not have proper grading structures, etc., as is done in the more developed countries.  Each contract is negotiated separately and depending on how desperate they are to fill a job and how useful they think the individual candidate will be, they may pay exorbitant amounts or peanuts!

This particular salary you mentioned is quite low, especially if they do not mean to complement it with additional benefits or allowances.  Naturally, in educational institutions the package will be a little lower than in other industries as the hours are less and the holidays more, in addition, they tend to always recruit wives so that they know that accommodation is already provided by the husband's company - an easy way of getting out of paying more. 

I must agree with your partner, though, that it is probably better to actually be here when you are seeking a role as it is easier to see the institution, judge for yourself if they are the right organisation to work for, but you can also research what is reasonable in the education field and also maybe look for opportunities outside of pure education - ie. training or other. where the packages are actually better.  Having the advantage of time - ie. if you are not desperate for a position - will give you the chance to find something more suited to you and your needs (financial and otherwise).

I should warn you that you are likely to hear a whole lot of different views, many of which are based on hear-say or on the experiences of a few individuals, which do not necessarily reflect the full picture. 

Having been in this country almost all my life and having worked in HR for the past 10 years (I am still involved here in Dubai where I am now working on an HR Consulting project), I have seen a wide range of situations and speak from vast experience.  Naturally, each person's situation is different and there is no magic answer.

I hope my advice above is of some service to you.  In the meantime, I'm always available on email!

All the best!


04 July 2008



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