Thursday, June 27, 2013
44
This was in the paper (Times of Oman) on Tuesday this week, and I must admit the guy called me the night before asking me if I could write about it but it was bad timing and I declined, but now having seen the story in the paper, I really think more people need to know about it.

Tim moved to Muscat with his wife and 3 kids to start working here in 2011, running an IT company for a local family. By August 2012, the money in the company he was running had dried up and so the family stopped paying Tim. The problem being that money was still coming in, it was just not going to him. Its the cliché story: promises of payments were made but never seemingly honoured.

Flash forward nearly 1 year, Tim's been through 2 mediations with the Ministry of Manpower with no result, and now his land lord, who is in the same family as his ex-employer, who obviously has not had his rent paid, has now filed to have the Hogarth family evicted from their property by the end of this month.

The real twists in this story that I can see are two fold:

1. The ROP have his passport, which means he can't even get another job to earn money to pay his bills.

2. What on earth is the point of the Ministry of Manpower, if, after 2 rounds of mediation, a fair settlement can't be reached? Surely the Ministry makes a ruling and then the parties have to abide by it?

The family are more or less stuck here, with no way to work, shortly no where to live, and no real way of resolving their obvious grievances with Tim's previous employer.

There are more developments happening in this story and I'll update the blog later on it.

If you think you can help the Hogarth family out, drop me an email on mrsythe[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll put you in touch with them.

le fin.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whats the British Embassy got to say about a British national having his passport confiscated?

Anonymous said...

What about the British Embassy??? Have they no interest in the case???!?

Anonymous said...

Shared and then removed as was told there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.

Anonymous said...

LOL- the British Embassy wont do fuck-all. Unless you are an Arab with lots of money that wants to buy weapons of course.
I have known about this story unfolding for a while- I gather there is slightly more to it but the fact that the MoE and embassy have done nowt are undeniable.

Anonymous said...

This is most distressing. Please keep us updated. I heard he was moving into a tent with his kids in two days in the summer heat. With ROP holding his passport, it it even possible for him to leave the country?

Anonymous said...

what is the 'there is more to the story'?

Anonymous said...

British Embassy!!!! Poor guy is probably still waiting to get an appointment to see someone!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely one sided version of the story!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely one sided version of the story...Tim!!

Anonymous said...

I guess with all these hints in the comments, everyone is now keen to hear the other side of the story!

Anonymous said...

You cant blame the Embassy. The Ambassador has more important things to worry about. He is not paid to upset Omanis.

Anonymous said...

I hear that the Ambassador will defer this matter (that is enjoy a cocktail with an important Omani) to a lady called Alison who is allegedly useless as well. Are you a tax payer Tim?

Unconvinced... said...

I have been here long enough to know that these stories generally end up involving a lazy ex-pat (I am British also - but work long and hard). He probably promised the earth, and delivered diddly squat in the process. I should guess he has a cracking handicap, and a tan that makes him look like an olive.

The fact of the matter is that unless he has been incarcerated he is free to leave. A copy of a passport along with a good reason will always allow you out of your host counry. Once he returns to Blighty it will be easy to prove his rights. Maybe he simply chooses not to whilst he chases the cash.

For every story that runs like this - and gains undue media attention - I can't help feeling that the hard working ex-pats amongst get further undermined.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is the case at all....
Have you not read the story?

Anonymous said...

Well, he could have at least sent his wife and kids home before using up all the savings here to pay for an overprized villa. There is a lot of common sense action missing in that story...

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy how criticising the Embassy seems to be the default response, as though all of this is their fault?

Anonymous said...

Very sad to read this article here and in the papers. I have lived in oman for nearly 10 years and this kind of thing goes on a lot and all the time. Denying an employee of their pay is against the law in this country, unless they have proper documented grievances in place as to reasons why not to pay. I would hate to be in this situation for myself or my family. Hope it all works out for the best.

Anonymous said...

Leave after 2 months of not being paid - sitting here amassing further debts helps no-one at all. www.youcan'tteachstupid.com

Anonymous said...

I disagree with "Unconvinced" that it must be a lazy stupid expat - I know many expats who have been stuck here working hard, salaries always late by their small companies, sometimes not paid, promises promises always broken.

Also you can't just leave after 2 months with a wife and 3 kids - what about schooling? Where do they go to? How do they afford to move?

But why would the ROP keep his passport after a court case? That's unusual. If there's a criminal case to answer for, then of course the British Embassy won't get involved (and by the way, they are easy to get appts with - you just go online and make it through the internet).

Anonymous said...

If finding yourself without income for whatever reason, should you:

a) Continue living in a very expensive villa
b) Buy a brand new car on HP
c) Live a millionaire lifestyle of Crystal Balls, theatre trips,social entertaining etc.
d) Allow ego to put the future of your children in the balance
e) Refuse to take responsibility for your own situation
f) All of the above

Poor kids.

Anonymous said...

ROP most commonly take passports of people who have debts, perhaps Tim and Rachel have overindulged instead of making the sensible decision to move back home. Or perhaps my opinion is skewed through jealousy of the two beautiful villas they have rented, the great 4x4s and the ability for Tim to be at home so much with his children.
For the kids sake, I really hope they resolve everything.

Anonymous said...

.....shame you forgot to mention you had three different jobs and none have gone well at all....

Sythe said...

It is certainly not the job of the British Embassy in Muscat to wipe everyone's backsides, and there is not really all that much the embassy can even do in a situation like this. I understand that the Consular section have been in regular contact with Tim regarding his situation.

In its raw essence, this story is one of two parts:

1. The guy didn't get paid.
2. The guy can't pay his rent and is now (lawfully) being evicted for non-payment of said rent.

The fact that the owner of the villa is a relative of the guys that failed to pay Tim doesn't really come into it.

Personally if I hadn't been paid in 2 months I'd file a case with the Ministry of Manpower and immediately start looking for another job.

Furthermore if this was the case with late payment, I, would send my family home at my first oppurtunity. I maintain a Canadian credit card to pay for such emergency flights. Take care of my family first, everything else comes second. Schooling is important but ultimately if I knew I didn't have money coming in, then hard choices have to be made, and if I would have to pull my kids out of school (his kids ages are 2, 6 and 9) I'd do it in a heartbeat.

The reality is, through ways that we don't know, Tim and his family are in this predicament now, and its remarkable that even after TWO mediations with the Ministry of Manpower, his employers STILL didn't pay up.

Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that it's not the embassies job to help him, but I do wonder what the taxpayer funded embassy actually does (it doesn't process passports or visas, and makes it difficult and expensive to actually get any assistance).

I guess we will never know why Tim has stayed so long to get himself into such a dire situation.

Speechless said...

Well anonymous, you're having a great time trolling. If there is another side to this, then state it clearly otherwise troll off.

If this guy was employed, he was due a salary. If the work wasn't good enough then he should have been moved through disciplinary procedures and sacked. He possibly stayed on because he knew there was no chance of winning a labour case abroad - poor judgement but not sufficient to warrant such nasty remarks.

Anonymous said...

The message from the above story is very clear:

For the most part, any expatriate who comes to work for Omanis in a family business, run a very high risk of being cheated out of their money.
The stories are countless, from the woman who set up a fertility clinic, only to be dropped weeks after the Omanis got the certs, licences and expertise that they wanted and could then do what they do best in the world: cut corners....and now we have this guy who has fallen foul of the same situation albeit on a larger scale for his family.

If you are not signing a contract with a big company like PDO, Oxy, Oman Air etc or are with the Government.... do not come to work on Oman.

The locals have not learned about employer responsibility yet, and those who do, simply don't care. As long as there is wasta and lax implimentation of the law, there is nothing that can be done.

Just thank your lucky stars that you are not from the Sub-Continent or SE Asia, as you would already have been carted off.

It is what it is, folks!

Anonymous said...

Me against my brother.
Me and my brother against the rest of my family.
Me and my family against the judge.
Me and the judge against the expat.

It has and always will be a no-win situation.

Anonymous said...

It is not about whether this particular person is lazy or hard-working. His professional qualities and spending habits are irrelevant. The big issue is that Oman has no real enforceable rights for non-citizen employees.
Alia

Anonymous said...

So what happened, Sythe?

Is he living in a tent now?

Alhamask said...

http://timhogarth.wordpress.com/author/g4rthy/

Anonymous said...

I have just read Tim's latest post, and will say what I have to say on here as it leaves me in no doubt that people get to read it.

First of all, there is no publicity, negative or otherwise for these Omanis unless you publicly name and shame them - regardless of what the law states.
Calling them "Zippy & George" by the way, is actually doing you no favours at all and to be honest, shows you up to be a bit of a twat.

In fact, being a twat is what got you into this situation already. You should have left - and my guess is that you know you should have left.

Here's some life lessons for you:
You don't get to dictate who your parents talk to about the dire situation you are in.
You have failed utterly in your family responsibilities and the moment you picked up the telephone to ask your mother for help...all bets were off. She can talk to whoever she likes.
Your childish response of falling out with her over it, is like a giant mirror that reflects the type of person you are.
My guess is that this same attitude got you where you are with the Omanis.

Same as with your father-in-law: if you phone him up looking for help, you don't get to dictate how he goes about it, or how he reacts to the situation you are in.

Your deplorable level of arrogance is outweighed only by your naivety. A naivety which has clearly wreaked untold damage on your poor kids.

I have zero sympathy for your wife who must have had enough grey matter between her ears to see that things had gone awry long ago.

Delete your blog. This is not a game, Tim and it is certainly not a Star Wars movie.
Your family come first and your paltry excuses for staying here are insulting to the intelligence of the people you are posting them to.

Forget about the bloody furniture. Use the money to get your wife and kids out. Ask for financial support from your family on each side. Crash on someone's sofa. There will be at least one who will do that for you.

If the in-laws can't send money, then your wife takes the first job that comes up and she can send you money.
The fall is very hard when it happens, but you have to man-up and do what is right.
All the sob stories and the whining is getting you nowhere.

Grow up! You're an absolute disgrace.

Been there said...

I wonder how many 'anonymous' trollers there really are?

I have been caught in the non-payment trap twice - once because of non-payment of final dues (ended up in the court) and the second in a very badly thought through start up. This ended up with dribs and drabs of payment over 18 months (not unlike salary payments). It is easy to get caught up in belief that the people you are dealing with are honourable and this is something you have to let go. As for the court case, winning is one thing - getting payment is another. Start to make plans to get out if payment is not immediately made and make arrangements to get your trustee to pay off your debts

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see a real honest 'welcome to the Gulf Guide' for newbies. It should include...the facts that most employers will cheat you at some stage. With Omanization, corruption within the Gov't has become rife, this includes Manpower. It's a shame but..here is what you do.

1. When your situation even just begins to sour. Leave.
2. First time you don't get paid. Leave.
3. Second time you don't get paid. Why are you still here do you think this is London ? !
4. You don't want to leave cuz you like the beach and you bought a new car. Ha ! Sell the car back even at a loss. Resgin..leave and come back with a new job.
5. You get robbed (home) ..move immediately..they will be back. They know your schedule and they do watch you.
6. Don't take out any loans or use any credit. Then you can always come back to a new job.
7. You can leave and go to Dubai where it's not as bad, but it does happen...and there is even less there you can do about it than in Oman. It's worse.
8. Suck it up, and leave.
9. Don't buy anything big the first year of a new contract until you are sure they pay what they say, and you get your annual leave too. Sometimes they wait till you take your holiday and don't deposit the funds..or pay your airticket for the holiday. You come back to work..and never see the money...they got you now.

10. Don't buy ANYTHING BIG for the first YEAR..did i say that already....

11. Oman is not a rich country...it's a welfare state and they have their hand outs from an overly generous Sultan who is very kind to his people. They take advantage of him.

12. Now you go to Qatar...where it's become an odd and secretive place...where bloggers have gone off line ....mmm....something is going on there...and it isn't human rights..right.

13. Kuwait...uhhh...desperate.

14. Saudi...only with a wife/husband...so you won't die of loneliness and hate your whole life.

15. Oman...has gone downhill..it's true. And it will get much much worse before it gets better. I wish H.M. was aware of all the corruption in his gov't ...i am sure he has no idea how bad things are now.

Anonymous said...

oops point 7.

yes it's a contradiction. But what i ment was..Dubai is a shiny place and has a lot of jobs. And there is corruption but because it is so big you don't feel it as often as in Oman. But ..when things do go pear shaped it's worse cuz your employer can have you arrested for approaching the labour offices for mediation...

What ? what do you mean ? how can that happen...?
Well..let me tell you..they fabricate a story about you...maybe say you stole a laptop or a chair or said a some 'bad words'..... anything they say means you are guilty. The end.

law ?! what law ? It's Dubai. It is basically ..law-less..but hey it's shiny.

Be careful said...

To add to Been there:

http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Court-allows-Indian-expatriate-to-go-home-on-health-grounds-2ea5

Anonymous said...

@Be Careful....I was just about to post that!

This is the reality of Oman. And there are far more oxygen thieves like the employer in it than the locals like to believe.

Have a look at the queue out the door at the courts, all full of expats who have not been paid for months and in some cases years.
And to add insult to injury, the standard tactic of withholding passports is still going strong in Oman despite it being illegal to do so.

"It is company policy" - I heard this from an Indian drone when asked about why they took passports of the staff at one of the largest companies in the country.

Teh guy involved in the case covered in the Muscat Daily, needs to be dragged out of his house and jailed.
But until the ROP and the courts start respecting and acting on the laws that His Majesty has laid down for them, this type of thing will keep on.

Tim Hogarth....you have a snowball's chance in hell of getting your RO60,000 back from these guys. At a guess, they are already shifting assets into the names of others and will go down the poverty road with the courts and offer you 1000 rials to settle the case, or even worse: 200 rials a month.

Time to pack your bags and leave, which , as the rather direct poster a few comments up stated, you should have done long ago.

TMI said...

I'm sorry but I don't have any sympathy for Mr Hogarth at all. Yes it is wrong for his Omani company to stop paying him, but why hasn't he taken any responsibility for himself and, more importantly, his family? Why on earth embarrass his wife and kids with all the ridiculous whining on his blog? To be owed 60,000 OMR must mean he had a rather large salary. Where are the savings from the year he'd already worked in Oman? Have some pride and take care of your family yourself instead of going around looking for handouts to support your lifestyle! If you really don't have access to ready cash then how about BORROWING some and paying it back when you return to employment rather than setting yourself up as some kind of charity with a trustee?! Seriously?! Shaming your parents and in-laws online is pretty despicable. I hope your kids never get to read your blog in years to come. They would be mortified.
You didn't get paid - it sucks! but you've shown incredible naivety. Why didn't you just take your family and leave? Oman is what it is. You can't go there with your British attitude and expect things to work like they do in the UK. Why on earth would UK MPs be interested in your plight? Have a bit of dignity and stop being a media whore. Education is free in the UK for your kids and, if you're really so poor I'm sure our lovely welfare state will take care of you all with a nice council house and some benefits. You're obviously enjoying sunny Omani life too much and don't want to return to the dreary UK! Am amazed your wife hasn't left of her own accord. Find it very hard to believe that she could support your shameful online rantings. It may be an unfair situation but suck it up and move on! I don't know how you can live with yourself when you are sponging off the kindness of others. What kind of ex-pat with a young family has no savings and no back-up plan? Wholly irresponsible!

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure why people are being so incredibly harsh on some one who is clearly having a very tough time and in a very difficult situation a long way from the safety net of home! Regardless of how naive they have been, regardless of what they should have or could have done to not be in the mess or more importantly what they haven't done doesn't warrant some of the quite vicious comments made here. The attacks clearly come from people who know them or know of them and maybe they know another side to the story, but it seems there are some quite opinionated people here willing to dish out anonymous retrospective advice and virtually kicking a family when they are down at their very lowest. On the other hand there are some very valid points being made, like sell your furniture, don't ship it and don't ask others to either, sell your jewellery, get your wife and children home ASAP, MP's back at home won't give a shit etc etc etc what none of us know is how bad things might be at home, or what has happened at home to prevent them rushing back. This happens more often than you expect in this region so they are not the first and they won't be the last, but for those of us lucky enough and sensible enough to not be in this mess could at least refrain from kicking a family with young kids when they are down! If there is another side which makes those posters spew the above vitriol then at least put your comments in context.

Anonymous said...

To those saying that he should have got out the first time his salary wasn't paid, 2 things

1 Leases taken out here are taken for the year, if he'd left he'd still have owed that rent. And he'd moved all his possessions here.
2 He undoubtably would have been dripfred a steady stream of lies, 'oh there is a problem, but don't worry, the money will be here soon.

The sheer number of people being cheated out of their pay by employer still refusing to pay up after being taken to court is shocking. Employers who cheat employees out of wages and withhold passports are guilty of slavery, nothing less, and should be incarcerated for a very long time. THEN fined treble of the sums they owe their victims. It would help if the courts paid the sums owed to employees, let them home, then pursued the employer for repayment.

Anonymous said...

I see one of the directors of his company has a degree from the bogus 'Cambridge International University'. Boasting about a fake degree on your profile page would make me a tad suspicious. Either the person doesn't know they have a fake degree or they are not above being economic with the actualite. Either way not a great sign.

Anonymous said...

Oh la la here we go woe is me and shake my money tree.

Omani's see expats as 'temporary' even if they are your 'friends'. One told me once, we know one day you will all leave, and we will still be here.

I stand by what I said, and know to be true.

And I do not know this family.


Listen up people. When things go a little bad, that means they are going to turn to hell in the Gulf. That is a truism you can bet your 'belongings' on.

Is a sofa and a tv worth your freedom ?
Walk away. If you're able to, do it legally, if not, run.

Jobs can be had anywhere in the world. It may take a few months to get back on your feet, and you may have to 'suck it up' and swallow your pride. Say goodbye to the turquoise ocean, all the lovely parties etc...but that is part of 'sucking it up'.

I recall one girl posting about her home robbery in Oman. She was so 'shocked'. Really ? Robbies in the world are quite common, and in Oman from expats, almost expected. Well, she went on and on posting how she was 'a victim', and how she needed everyone to help her out. Not sure if she was indirectly asking for a financial boost, but it seemed so. This person had not lost their 4500 US dollar a month job, nor their home, only a few 'things'.

So now we have John Blightly saying he ain't moving an inch till the world helps him get a gallion dollars back from a country that functions under a dictatorship.

hahahahahaha.....

fool. Yes.

If you find your salary has 'mysterious' been reduced one month, then the next month and they keep saying it's accounting errors...then a third month....hey...wake up and leave.

If they don't give you your salary one month at all. Say thanks for the memories and leave. Find a new country and happiness.

If you don't believe me ask your local 'consolue' what to do. I already know, they will advise you to cut your loses and leave. But try it....

If management changes, take it as a state of caution and start to minimize your belongings, get ready to leave.

Don't buy a new car for the first twelve months. Till you have passed probation, received all your travel allowances and holiday pay, and know that you are in fact working for a semi reputable company.


Now you resigned. Been there four years or more or less. You had no problems. Suddenly they say, we are keeping some of your dosh for this reason or that reason. Well, suck it up, and leave as you had planned. If you can file a few gov't papers to try to get your money back, do it, but have zero expectations. It may come thru or not. But count on not.


Being nice to the family who have been living like kings but unemployed is not productive. Some people need a kick in the butt. And clearly this husband and wife do/ did. It takes two to parent and both are responsible for decisions made. Unless this is 1950 ?

Get over yourself and realize that most of the world lives in a non democratic reality. If you choose to move into that reality for a period of time, expect the unexpected, and always be ready to walk away.

Anonymous said...

According to Facebook Tim and family were in the UK as of August 1st. Dunno if this is temporary or not, but they were celebrating their sons birthday and all seems to be fine.

Anonymous said...


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Angelica said...

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