In 2018, the Omani government announced a temporary ban on visas issued for the recruitment of expatriate manpower in several professions.
Two years later and the ‘temporary’ visa ban on certain professions commonly held by expats in the Gulf State, the Sultanate has now moved to expand the ban for expats who work as sales representatives, sales promoters, and purchase representatives.
Here are the Visas that will NOT be Renewed for Expats Working in Oman
In the latest ruling upheld by Oman’s Ministry of Manpower, expats in the country who are employed as sales or purchasing representatives will not have their visas renewed, as shared in a report by the Khaleej Times.
The decision underscores the country’s new Omanisation targets in the private sector as supported by the ministerial decision based on labor laws issued by Royal Decree No 35/2003 and Royal Decree No 76/2004, which maintain that three more professions in the field of sales are now reserved for Omanis.
These positions in the sales and retail industry include sales representatives, sales promoter and purchase representatives.
Furthermore, the decision pointed out that pre-existing work permits for expatriates in the professions falling under the banned category will continue to be valid until the date of their expiry, but cannot be renewed.
Since January 2018, there has been a ban on issuing employment visas in 87 professions, which was initially in place for six months but was later extended.
The said ban, which was extended in July, already covers a number of industries including media, engineering, accounting and finance, IT, insurance, technicians, administration and HR.
In a separate report shared by the Arab News in June 2018, Oman’s expat population had significantly dropped by 2% in the first five months of the ban – that’s 43,000 fewer expats than the same time for the previous year.
According to the ministerial decision, the aim of the visa ban is to help reduce unemployment among Omanis, but some business people fear it might discourage start-ups in these fields of work.
At the time, Saif Al Badi, head of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Al Dhairah Governorate headquarters shared: “We were hoping the visa ban for these jobs would be halted or opened for a temporary period but the decision is exactly the opposite and that will not attract entrepreneurs to start businesses in these sectors.”
Accordingly, the Omanization drive is part of the Omani government’s push to recruit more of its own citizens, a similar push has been implemented across the GCC where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also been trying to increase the number of locals in employment.
According to Balram Manji, an HR consultant in Oman, the new rules were in keeping with the growing trend around the globe.
He explained: “It is very similar to what the US and many European nations are doing in terms of prioritizing their own people.”
According to Oman’s National Centre of Statistics and Information, there are approximately 1.7 million foreign workers in the Sultanate. This new decree is in line with Omanisation initiatives rolled out by the government.
ALSO READ: How to Get NOC in Oman