Back when I was in high school, I remember the word “Globalization” trending nationwide. It was thrown at us on TV, on Radio, in newspapers and everywhere else. The word itself was usually associated in our school text books with the sentence “turning the world into a small village”. Of course such concept carried along hopes for global incorporation within financial and trade markets as well as the working force. That meant Globalization was supposed to make workers of any profession able to work in some other country by going through a much easier process. The same goes for business owners: they were supposed to be able to start new business outlets in other countries with significant ease, compared to pre-globalization days.
Remember I said “was supposed to”, because that simply didn’t happen. Now come on, everybody knows that the expected flow of workers and trade was from third world countries towards the west, namely USA and Europe. Now, let me ask you this: regardless of your profession, is it easy for you to work in USA or UK these days? NO. You probably have to go through tons of paperwork, examinations, licensing…etc.
Let me give you this example: I am a licensed pharmacist in Egypt. If I want to work as a pharmacist in USA I have to
1. Sit for an exam called FPGEE, which basically tests your scientific knowledge about pharmacy education and practice. There’s a big famous book called Comprehensive Pharmacy Review that you have to study for this exam. The exam fees are about 7000 EGP
2. Sit for the TOEFL exam, since my first language is not English. This exam costs about 1000 EGP.
3. Send copies of my university transcripts, my pharmacist license and other documents to the authoritative body in USA. If you want to send your documents by DHL for example, it costs about 400 EGP per pack.
4. Start an internship in USA as a pharmacy trainee or intern. This means you have to keep contacting different pharmacies and keep nagging until you can obtain a place for training. This internship usually takes a full year.
5. Apply for working visa to be able to legally work in a pharmacy as an intern or trainee. I am not sure how much this visa costs so let’s put it as 1000 EGP.
6. Let’s not forget about the flight ticket (minimum 5000 EGP) and your living expenses at that time, which I’m not even going to include.
As you can see, roughly, I’d need about 15000 EGP and two years (one for studying and taking the exams, the other for the internship). Until I’m allowed to work in USA, that’s of course if everything goes as planned and money is not an issue. Easy huh?
I can go on and give you plenty of other examples but I think you already got the idea.
I can also claim that nearly every other profession will have similar or closely related procedure, whether it’s teaching, medicine, law practice or whatever. Now remind me again what was the word? Globa-LIE-zation. It’s all about LIE. It’s the lie of making the world a small close village.
On a second thought, it might be true. I mean for an US or European national, it should be great. Let’s take a look from the other point of view.
If you are an US citizen, you are automatically entitled to work in any Arab country for example. In addition, you’ll probably earn a huge salary that is at least 4-5 times more than what a national of the Arab country with your same qualifications would earn. This is something we call in Egypt the “foreigner complex” – “3o2det el khawaga”.
In the Gulf (Kuwait, Qatar, KSA, UAE…) almost all managerial and consultant positions are filled by foreigners from USA and UK. Many job posts I have seen directly ask for an US or UK professional, as if the citizenship guarantees its holder a job in the Gulf. Did I mention that a foreigner doesn’t have to go through exams, language tests, internships or any hassle at all? Usually the company sponsors his arrival and settling in, including all paperwork and procedures.