As the sultanate focuses on including more citizens in the workforce at the expense of foreign nationals, the government is continuously improving its system to create an environment that would limit the number of expat workers to the minimum in industries that have a dire need for their services only.
However, for this to happen, several steps from the national government must be coordinated with various ministries and stakeholders (companies and employers) involved.
Status of Over 16K Expats in Oman to be Reviewed by Ministry
As such, the Ministry of Manpower has recently called on 67 employers owning 1,479 establishments with 8,228 expatriate workers to correct their job status as part of the move to regulate the job market, as shared in a report by the Muscat Daily.
According to the ministry, around 22 employers running 1,100 firms and employing 2,599 expatriates have spoken to its officials to solve the job status of the employees concerned.
The MoM, however, also noted that it has not been able to reach 23 employers owning 862 firms with 5,175 expatriate workers.
Nevertheless, the ministry shared that it will continue to regulate the job market in accordance with the Omani Labour Law through visits to private sector establishments.
In line with this, the MoM said, “We urge all employers to ensure that they comply with the applicable procedures of the labour law. We will take legal action against those found violating the law. We appeal to all institutions to cooperate in this matter.”
The job status of foreign workers in Oman is mainly tied to the issuance of an NOC – wherein if an expat wants to change jobs in Oman they need a release letter from their employer stating that they allowed an expat to seek employment with another company in the Sultanate. It’s important to stay on the good side of one’s employer as a person is generally not allowed to live in Oman if they are not employed. Expat workers must have sponsorship, and that sponsorship ends when employment does. Expats will be required to obtain an alternative visa immediately or they will be staying in the country illegally.
This being the case, the government has also set certain provisions in the law that would protect the rights of foreign workers against being tagged as absconding despite receiving their NOC from their latest employer.
Based on the law, an absconding report cannot be submitted “if the employer has given the worker a letter of no objection to the transfer of the worker’s services to another employer, and then reports the worker absconding before the end of the period granted to him/her, which is 30 days to transfer his/her services to another employer”, and in the case of a dispute between the employer and the employee arising before filing the absconding report.
In the case of companies/employers that fail to comply with the provisions of the labour law or its regulations, they will be suspended from receiving any services from the ministry for a year.