We get asked the question so often – “Why do your vacancies only state single teachers and why can’t I bring my family along to teach in the Middle East”? “Can I sponsor my family myself….”

As a recruitment agency, we must work according to the requirements given to us by our client schools.

Our schools are the ones who decide who they wish to interview and then, ultimately, who they want to offer contracts to…we make recommendations, but it is very much their call.

One of the most important requirements given to us by the schools is to only send CV’s for single travel status teachers.

The reason is that it is much easier and much more affordable hiring a single teacher than a married teacher who would also need visas, accommodation and other benefits for their families (an expensive and lengthy process for schools). Teachers with dependants are also in direct competition with single teachers and from the school’s point of view they want ‘easy’ placements…ie. single teachers.

It is however possible to sponsor your family, BUT all the expenses will be on you – and those expenses can add up. Expenses to consider would be: visas, flights, medical cover and tests, schooling (not all schools offer free/subsidised school fees) and childcare (if applicable).

We recently spoke to a teacher in Abu Dhabi who went through this process with her family and this is what she said about the costs involved:

For a female to sponsor a family/dependants they need to be on the skilled list (teachers are on this list) and need to earn a minimum salary of 10000 AED per month.

To sponsor a child approximately 1200 AED (R5 000).

Spousal sponsorship is about 1700 AED (R7 000).

Health insurance costs (family of 4) approximately 17 000 AED (R67 000).

Nursery school 2500-4000 AED pm (area dependent) (R10 000 – R18 000).

Registration and uniform 2000 AED (R8 000).

Nanny 3000 AED p/m (live out) (R12 000),

2 bed apartment in Abu Dhabi – approximately 75 000 AED p/a (R300 000) – a large portion of this has to be paid upfront (your school may give you an allowance towards this, but it will rarely be more then half of what your rental will be).

Primary school fees – approximately 65 000 AED (R262 000).

Flights – approximately 2000 AED (per person) (R8 000).

On top of the costs there are also some very important questions to consider:

  1. If you are offered a teaching position and accept, then try to sponsor your family and this falls through/proves to be too complicated – will you then follow through on your contract with the school or will you then not go as you want your family to be with you? (this is probably the most important one to consider and is definitely what the schools are worried about).
  2. You have to be certain that your spouse has a marketable skill that will allow good employment opportunities with, ideally, qualifications to back this up. Ideally you should check this and start making enquiries long in advance.
  3. You will need to do this on your own – do not expect the school to assist you and employment agencies will find you employment but are not visa agents or specialists. We would then recommend getting a visa agent to assist you.
  4. To make it financially worthwhile we highly recommend that both partners earn an income to make this decision financially viable for your family – surviving on one salary (particularly a teacher’s salary).

So, in a nutshell, yes you can sponsor your family BUT you need to make sure it is financially viable, you understand that neither the school nor the employment agency will be able to assist you and that you are then 100% committed to the school that employs you.

From the school’s point of view, there are so many factors that can go wrong and that could then result in the teacher then not following through on their contract, they very rarely request CV’s from us for teachers with dependants.

Contact us on info@sa-recruitment.com to discuss your next teaching opportunity.


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