Times of Oman
Nov 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 06:27 PM GMT
Oman expat labour law: No plan to defer two year ban on expatriate return
June 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Illustrative purpose only: Times Graphic/Files

Muscat: There is no plan to delay the implementation of the ban on return of expatriate workers, senior officials have said.

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Ministry of Manpower have refuted all rumours in this regard, Talib Al Dhabari, a public relations officer at the Ministry of Manpower, and an official at the ROP, both said.

"There is no change in the date of application of the 'two-year ban' on return of expat workers to Oman. It will come into effect from July 1. The ROP is an executive body and it has nothing to do with formulating the labour law, Talib said.

"Article 11 in the Passport and Residence Act in Oman states that the employment visa will not be issued to any foreigner who has previously worked in Oman but has not completed two years from the date of last departure," said a reliable ROP source.

"The law will be applicable to everyone," said Al Dhabari. However, he added that a no objection certificate (NOC) will not be necessary if the expat was to rejoin his previous employer.

After the 'two-year' ban comes into effect, the only way expats will be allowed to switch employers in Oman would be if they could get an NOC from their current employers, even if they have completed the period of their contract. They will then not be forced to leave the country for two years.

The ministry and the ROP clarified that an expat who has been issued an NOC will be allowed to join another company while in Oman even before the initial contract is complete.

However, businesses in Oman will lose an expat visa from their company quota if they issue an NOC to employees who want to move to other jobs within the Sultanate, say officials.

As per the rules, the  employers would have to choose between issuing the no objection certificate, and then being unable to hire another expat or retaining the employee and not issuing the NOC.

In other words, the employers would have to choose if they want to reduce the number of foreigners their business can employ, or refusing to issue the NOC.

An official at the Ministry of Manpower confirmed, "In case an expatriate leaves Oman after getting his visa cancelled, the employer is eligible for a visa in place of that employee.

However, if the expatriate joins another company on the basis of an NOC but within Oman, the old employer will not receive a visa in his place."

Curb on expats
The ministry and the ROP have also confirmed that if an employee completes the initial contract and leaves Oman, he or she could return to work in Oman within two years if he/she has secured an NOC, and uses it to obtain a new visa with their new employer before leaving the Sultanate.

A reliable source at the ROP explained that the law has been in existence since long but is being enforced now. "The ROP has decided that it is the right time to activate the law as we have received many recommendations from businessmen and enterprise owners," said the ROP source.

"The decision bans the expatriate workforce to join another company before completing two years from the date of departure," said the source from ROP.

If an expatriate has not completed two years after departure, and is called to rejoin the same company after leaving the Sultanate, then the worker will be exempted from the law.

To get in touch: fahadnews@timesofoman.com

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news