Oman lifts two-year labour ban on foreign workers

Oman lifts two-year labour ban on foreign workers
Oman lifts two-year labour ban on foreign workers

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Expatriates in Oman will be able to switch employers more easily after the Sultanate lifted a labour law that bans the practice unless they obtain certification.

The new amendment issued on Sunday allows an employee to move from one company to another provided they complete the two-year contract period, a statement from the Department of Visas and Immigration said.

“The foreign employees must prove that they have completed the contract with their previous employers in order to join another company and they would not need the no-objection certificate. The new rule will be implemented from January 1, 2021, ” the statement said.

The new rule replaces the 1996 rule that prohibited foreign employees from joining another company after the expiration of their jobs unless they were granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) from their employer.

Under current rules, if an expatriate does not obtain an NOC, they are banned from working in Oman for two years.

Expatriates in Oman welcomed the reform, saying that it would help the country’s foreign investment drive.

“I welcome this new rule and I personally think it will help Oman realise its ambitions to attract more foreign investments to the country,” Pakistani national Noor Saheb, a 43 year old Information Technology Engineer, said.

Other expatriates said the new rule would promote a free market in the country.

“The cancellation of the no-objection certificate is good for the country. It will make expatriates move freely within the local market. This is what is needed for Oman to be seen as a free market destination for expatriates,” American interior designer Rachel Johnson, 27, said.

The NOC rule forced expatriates to stay in the same companies instead of pursuing new careers, causing stagnation, some expatriates said.

“Now that we are getting rid of the NOC, we will see a flourishing of business in Oman as expatriates will be free to change jobs after two years. The new rule will allow them to transfer their skills to different companies and increase the business competitive mode in Oman,” Ajai Sharma, 51, an Indian real estate employee, said.

But Omani graduates see a different side to the change. They say job availability, which is currently taking a hit from Covid-19, would now be more limited.

By the end of April 2020, over 34,000 Omani graduates had been registered as looking for employement by the Ministry of Manpower.

“I know in a way this is positive for the business competitiveness and economy in general, but we need to look at the other side of the coin. This will take away some of the job opportunities for us if expatriates change jobs after two years,” Khaifa Al-Harbi, 23, an Omani business graduate, said.

Oman reported 866 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total number of people infected to 16,882 with 75 deaths.

Updated: June 7, 2020 07:43 PM

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