I am a regular reader of your column in Times of Oman and have observed that most of the grievances addressed are by employees. For a change, I seek your advice as a businessman who runs a small company in Oman. My competitor recruited my technician last month whom I had trained for two years. I could not do anything so I had to leave him. Recently, my sales engineer also resigned and I have definite information that he is also joining them. He completed one year last week and didn't finish one year of his contract. He has to give me three months notice and also collect all the dues from customers whom he has sold goods. Is there any provision to ban his re-entry to Oman? -JB
This is an unfortunate situation prevailing in Oman in recent years and many of the employers are concerned about it. Several owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recently addressed a memorandum to the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in which they demanded immediate re-application of Article (11) of the Expatriates' Residence Law in the country to prevent some unhealthy trends, like poaching, which have become prevalent in Oman's labour market of late.
Recently, someone narrated the incident of a software company in Oman getting into serious trouble after seven of its employees (in a row) resigned and started their own operations by forming independent entities. Majority of the client base of the parent company got eroded in the process as the former employees snatched away bulk of the business from the company to their firms.
However, nothing can be done as of now since Article (11) of the Expatriates' Residence Law which provides for imposing a ban of two years on any employee leaving an employer is no more applicable in the country mainly due to international treaty obligations.
Pressure is mounting on the authorities to reintroduce the ban and it is up to the concerned authorities to decide what corrective steps can be taken to prevent such unpalatable and unethical practices.
I joined a new company in Sohar last month. But my son's visa (Oman visa) is still valid till June 2015, which I had taken while working with my previous employer in Muscat. My son is currently in India, but can he re-enter Oman, with the same visa? Kindly advise me on this. -IM
Since your son's visa and resident card continue to be valid, he can return to Oman and remain in the country until the end of his residence visa validity. Your previous employer should not have any objection to his presence in Oman under their sponsorship.
If the previous employer objects, you may have to transfer the sponsorship or to exit the country after cancellation to return on a new visa.
Times of Oman, in association with Khalifa Al Hinai Legal Consultants, will answer the legal queries of readers every Monday. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this column are for general guidance purposes only. They are based on facts presented to us and are not substituted for expert legal advice. Readers are advised to seek legal assistance for specific legal issues. Times of Oman and Khalifa Al Hinai Advocates & Legal Consultancy do not assume any responsibility towards anyone on this matter.