Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Beware of attractive overseas work offers - Teacher warns others after bad experience

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

After being sold the idea of travelling to the Dominican Republic to work as a teacher at a particular school in the summer of 2017, Alwyn Allen jumped on the opportunity.

He told The Gleaner recently that he did an interview at that country's embassy in St Andrew and was given the green light to travel there. However, after spending roughly eight months in that country teaching English without a permit, Allen is back in Jamaica to warn fellow countrymen to beware of such opportunities.

"I went with two ladies from Jamaica. Before we went, the people from the school said they would take care of permits, insurance, apartments, and so on," Allen recounted. "They had us working without identification cards and permits for months. I was told one day that immigration was taking away Haitians. I didn't want them to mistake me for a Haitian and throw me into Haiti. So, I went to the principal to complain, and we got ID's and insurance, but no permits. They asked me to teach other subjects, so I ended up teaching science for them."

 

UNFAIR TREATMENT

 

He continued: "I was being paid US$500, and they were to pay me extra for the science, but they never paid me. I complained that it was not fair, and the principal threw me out of the apartment on March 20, 2018, and said I had to go home. I am worried somebody may check my file at other embassies and, in their mind, conclude that I stayed overtime in a country without a permit. But it was not my fault," he insisted.

The Gleaner spoke to Thomas Marley, Jamaican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who said that Allen visited the embassy after he ran into difficulties. For protection, he implored Jamaicans heading to the Dominican Republic for work to ensure that they register with the embassy when they arrive in that country.

He disclosed that the laws in the Dominican Republic allow for a person to work for months without a permit. "You can come here as a visitor, get a job, and stay while your permit is being processed. Once your documents are filed, they don't trouble you." Marley explained.

"However, you should register with the (Jamaican) embassy so we can help you," he advised. "The Jamaican teachers working here were never registered. We had no prior knowledge [of Allen] until he had a problem. But, I will be following it up after the Easter holidays to make sure that the other Jamaicans are legal and not getting into trouble," he assured.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com