Oman expat labour ban: No decision yet on getting “no objection certificate” from sponsors, say ministry officials

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Muscat: The Ministry of Manpower said it has not yet decided whether expatriates who obtain a "no objection certificate (NoC)" from the current employer can work for another sponsor. "We are looking into this matter," said a ministry official.

Confirming the announcement made by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Sunday, the official said, "Employment visa will not be issued for a foreigner who previously worked in the Sultanate and has not completed two years from the date of last departure."

In response to media reports doing the rounds that there will be a ban on changing sponsors in the Sultanate, effective June 1, the Ministry of Manpower denied the report in a statement released through its Twitter account.

The tweet explained that the issue was still under study as the ministry was cooperating with the competent authorities to regularise the labour market in the Sultanate.

"The new rule will be announced later," it said.

A reliable source at the Royal Oman Police informed the Times of Oman that the law was the result of a recommendation made by the Ministry of Manpower.

"The ROP is an executive body and it has nothing to do with formulating labour law. The Article 11 in the Passport and Residence Act in Oman states that employment visa will not be issued for a foreigner who previously worked in the Sultanate and has not completed two years from the date of last departure," said the source.

He added that the law existed earlier but was kept on hold on the recommendation of the authorities concerned.

"The law is likely to protect the sponsor and the expatriate workforce, too," said the source.
He added that the law was to be activated from June 1 but since the ROP was keen on giving companies a grace period to sort out visa issues, the immigration authorities decided to activate it from July 1.

An official clarified that no employment visa would be issued after July 1, 2014 to any foreigner who has not completed two years from the date of last departure. Therefore, anyone who has resigned now should receive their visa before the deadline.

To get in touch with the reporter

Column: Will the 2-year ban work in the best interests of Oman?


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" ...An official clarified that no employment visa would be issued after July 1, 2014 to any foreigner who has not completed two years from the date of last departure..."

Is traveling to other country count as departure?
Because most of the expat use their annual leave to go to their home country at least once in a year.

An interesting statistic would be the length of employment in a company for expats and locals. It would show some interesting trends in which labour markets need to be regulated more. Mobility of labour is very important in an economy.

With this rule only some busineses benefit but the country will loose as a whole. Hope some sense prevails

Every rules have two side. 2 years BAN will make Illegal worker strength more inside Oman. Bcoz, many Companies failed to pay salaries on time due to no major works in last 2 years. These people came at Oman by huge expenses to agent, company etc. They will work, illegally without change Visa, if they will also stop NOC/Release Visa change, too. What will be actions again companies, who forcing staff to quit company due to No works, no payment to run business?? Any rules for them to pay 02 years salary and other things before quitting company??

Dear Mministry/ToO, Comments from Deepa Gopalakrishnan are more valid. Govenrment can impose ban on case to case, depending upon the period spent in Oman. It may be reconsidered.

When a country makes a law, it definitely is going to be for the benefit of its people first and then may be for the benefit of its expatriate workforce. Can anyone blame a country for safeguarding its own interests? Like already mentioned, the expatriate workforce, if one door closes, many others will open. There will be a transition problem for many. I think we will have to learn to take the positives out of it. There are many small time invisible investors here, who have either brought money from their native or have invested their hard earned money, here. The way this rule hits them would be massive in certain select cases.

Kanimozhi U are true who come who wait year every body go other country this rule no good for employees best u no bring new rules ...Time of oman plz send all idea to Rop ....

I strongly believe that talented workforce is always any countrys strength. Being an HR now it gets me really worried on how to fix the issue with pending hiring to be done.. I have staff recruited from other companies in Oman and I am confident that they can make massive changes to my organization in a positive way because of their experience and expertise..Many job profiles are such that we need experts who have local experience.. and even if someone needs to be recruited at this point before July 1, 2014 its very difficult considering the notice period, companys decision making time and processing time. No company wishes to waste its finance on hiring wrong staff in a hurry.. And no company wishes to bring someone from a different country directly in a position without ensuring if he/ she can adjust to the environment. In such cases if the staff leaves before the probation ends or if the company finds his performance tracker not upto the mark it is just an extra expense which will have no monetary or non- monetary gains,, the right person for the right job at the right time can make huge difference to the company..FOR EXAMPLE: This law can be implemented in a mutual way on people who have not finished their two year employment contract alone..Graduates who have not completed their contract can have a six month ban.. that works as a fair midway for both employers and employees.. Once an expat finishes two years with the firm he should be allowed to broaden his knowledge and help the country by fixing many other companies or industries he can possibly do during his period in the country. This helps both country and employer to grow. Acceptable, dignified and respectable Raid on illegal residents is a thumbs up always. It helps not only regularizing the labour market but also in controlling providing chance for educated and experienced people to find jobs in a legal manner and curb illegal activities. There are so many ways by which rules can be implemented with proper analysis and hard work. We just have to wait and watch.. There is no point in playing word games on a public platform like a few comments mentioned below. We need to respect each others situation and work amicably to build a better community which would believe in talent and honesty and hard work irrespective of whatever different background we may be from. I strongly believe its possible not only here but anywhere we humans want to exist co-cordially..

This two year ban is applicable for those who are completing two years in the existing visa.