Working in Oman offers great benefits and opportunities, especially for workers who intend to build their career because of the Sultanate’s relatively small size, meaning, there is plenty of work to go around for people who can build a decent work history within their respective fields.
However, as the Sultanate currently limits its acquisition of foreign talents in favour of nationals through its Omanization programme, it pays to note some of the requirements which expats should undergo or take advantage of to remain working in the country despite the restrictions set in place.
[Guide] Getting a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in Oman
In line with this, foreign nationals should be aware of the no-objection (NOC) certificate, which they will need in order to be allowed to continue working in the Sultanate.
An NOC is a document issued by the current employer to their employees in order to allow them to switch to another employer, and therefore continue their work in the country. However, the NOC lets the companies have strong power over their employees.
Since the law has been passed in 2014, it has immediately had an acute effect on the expats already working in the Sultanate of Oman.
For one, the system sets up a power imbalance between the employer and the foreign employee. Many argue that the NOC may not even apply to blue-collared workers, who cannot approach the company’s management regarding the NOC, which is a common set-up in Omani companies.
However, as the law has already been set, please be guided by these steps to get an NOC from your employer:
- First and foremost, make sure that your two-year contract has been completed. Otherwise, the company may refuse to give an NOC in Oman ( e.g. in the middle of the contract, getting an NOC is based on the company’s discretion).
- Approach the Public Relationship Officer or Human Resource Officer of your company to resign from your post. Follow the procedures stated.
- Serve your notice period.
- Comply with the requirements needed of you prior to your release from the company.
- Once you have settled all the requirements, collect the NOC from the company.
In the event that you are not issued an NOC, you can either return to your own country or continue working for the same company. Do note that the issuance of an NOC is at the discretion of the company, and this decision cannot be influenced or affected by any person/entity outside of the company.
Also, it’s important to understand that you will not be allowed to extend your visa after leaving the country without an NOC. This means that you will be banned to return to Oman for work for two years.
The purpose of the NOC in Oman is to ensure that foreign workers establish a long-time relationship with their employers, as the economy of Oman is affected by the short stay of workers.
Since NOCs can be denied by a company if you are making a loss to the company, you need to become competent in the position you are given, as opportunities for work among expats are being restricted to benefit nationals. And to avoid the ban on your visa, your performance and contributions should be enough to convince the company to give you an NOC.