Dubai: More than 500 low-paid security staff stand to lose their livelihoods after they were handed termination notices, XPRESS has learnt.

The move comes after World Security’s long-standing association with Nakheel ended recently.

World Security personnel had been manning Nakheel sites including Jumeirah Islands, Village & Circle, Palm Jumeirah and Al Furjan for years.

Staff were notified of the termination in batches from July. However they say they could have been kept on ‘leave without pay’ till further contracts were secured. “We are told our company has two new contracts coming up in December. They could have retained us, it was only a matter of a few months,” said a security guard on condition of anonymity.

“My friends from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal already have or will find jobs, but we can’t because if we leave we cannot come back due to the restriction on our work visas,” said a Bangladeshi security guard employed for over two years at a company site in Jebel Ali Free Zone.

“The only way out is if we get our visa transferred within the free zone or find a local sponsor — both seem improbable.”

He said it all started in June when the company issued letters for internal job postings. “We were told our company had a new contract for which there would be internal postings and we were asked to line up in batches for an interview at a camp at a designated time on a designated date. We were warned that those who secured grade C would be terminated, while those with grade B would be sent for re-interviews and given some extra months as trial time. Those with grade A would move to new clients,” he said. “However I got a termination letter as soon as I reported to one such camp. There were no interviews, no nothing,” he said.

Many workers end their employment this month and several drivers and ‘lead guards’ have been asked to fill up.

Sonia Khiari, the HR Manager of World Security, said: “We feel sorry for such people, especially the Bangladeshis who cannot come back on a work visa, but if they ask for it, we are happy to give them some extra ‘stay’ on our visas to help them find jobs. Some good ones may even be given priority during fresh hiring for future projects.”

World Security is part of Dubai World and had been named Security Company of the Year at the Middle East FM Awards for two consecutive years.