Al Bassam Group, which runs a failing institute and a group of supposedly prestigious Saudi schools, might as well be deemed a criminal enterprise for gross violations of Saudi Labor Law and the Saudi criminal code. After three years in the Kingdom, this was the organization which led me to finally pack my bags and relocate elsewhere..and I've worked for some pretty bad schools!
Al Bassam Group is headed by Dr. Yousuf Bassam. I can only describe Yousuf as a cross between a stereotypical miserly Jew in traditional Arab clothing and a self-entitled, eight year-old brat who's been denied a new toy.
Yousuf relies heavily on his p*k*stani lapdog, Imtiaz Ahmed-Taj Janda. Imtiaz, who constantly reshuffles his names, is a compulsive liar. He's claimed to have attended Cambridge and Harvard, although curiously he never took either the TESOL or IELTS. He also claimed to have managed "a dozen IB schools in Egypt, although in reality he's only worked as a teacher for p*k*stani International School in Cairo, Egypt, where he contributed to such prestigious publications as this: http://www.p*k*stanschool.edu.eg/Downloads/RJA.pdf
The core group of teachers are all Egyptian or Syrian; in other words, they all have limited work opportunities in the Kingdom. By contrast, no Westerner has lasted longer than a year, and that's very telling. The head teacher, Abdallah El-Sawry, an Egyptian, is better suited to ISIS than an educational institution, as he demonstrates a constant disdain for Westerners.
All of this seems laughable, which to a large degree it is, but there are serious consequences when these people make decisions which affect the quality of life for ex-pat teachers.
For example. an American woman, Sandy, had the misfortune of accepting a position with Al Bassam. Almost immediately, Imtiaz began harassing her. He was constantly at her apartment trying to gain access, and demanding that she make coffee for him. Under Saudi law, this is strictly prohibited. However, when she reported his misconduct, Yousuf launched an investigation into her, and she was swiftly terminated without any real cause.
Similarly, a British girl, Freya, was hired by Al Bassam. When she arrived, no one picked her up from the airport. Thus, she had to make her way from the airport to a hotel on her own - something which is pretty dangerous for a single Western woman in the Kingdom. When she did make contact with Al Bassam, she was picked up from the hotel and basically abandoned in an apartment without the slightest concern from the company to ensure she had necessities, like food, water, clean sheets or Saudi currency.
After seeing the operation, Freya didn't feel comfortable continuing with Al Bassam and resigned. Imtiaz immediately came to her apartment and told her that she could not resign, nor could she leave the Kingdom. He then decided to drive her out to a remote location and tell her that he wanted her to think of him as her husband and that he would tend to all of her needs. Needless to say, she fled back to the U.K. at her own expense.
The aforementioned are both part of an ever growing and worsening pattern of misconduct. Most teachers are not given insurance as required under Saudi Labor Law; and, every teacher who left Al Bassam after completion of their contract was denied their legally entitled holiday pay and completion bonus. Several had money outright stolen by Imtiaz, in the form of extra days being docked where someone was absent, or a refusal to pay sick days irrespective of the documentation.
In my own personal situation, Imtiaz decided to have my apartment broken into while I was away on holiday. Some cash and a Dunhill lighter were stolen.After I reported the incident to Al Bassam, Imtiaz decided to slander me by showing my colleagues a legitimate doctor's note I submitted for sick days and insisting it was a forgery. Further, he then tried to have me terminated.
As a result, I had to escalate the matter to Yousuf who proceeded to have both me and the incident investigated. When Yousuf finally concluded his investigation, he admitted that Imtiaz's actions rose to the level of wrongdoing, but then immediately belied it with demands that I show Imtiaz the respect he deserves as the Assistant Project Manager because Al Bassam would not be taking any action against him. Needless to say, I immediately resigned. He responded by threatening to withhold my wages if I reported the incident to the police or any outside agency.
Contrary to Yousuf's threats, I did report the incident and it is pending investigation. If there's one thing I've learned from my time in the Kingdom, it's that there are only two types of organizations worth working for: the in-house programs for large corporations, like Aramco, SESP or Saudi Electric and proper universities. It's best to avoid third party providers, like IIL or IGIT and private schools and institutes.Definitely avoid this place like the plague.
For a native speaker with actual credentials, there really aren't any. The pay isn't very good, there are no bonuses and they'll try to "nickel and dime" you out of anything they can.
Al Bassam might as well call itself the Ministry of Misinfornation with the volume of lies told on a daily basis. Unlike most KSA institutes they'll try to get you to pay your own travel costs and reimburse you later. The reburs*m*nt will almost certainly be lower than what was paid. Expect similar issues with the calculation of overtime and holiday pay.
Advice to Management
Fix your moral compasses.