By Beatrice Thomas
Private sector companies are warned they will be blacklisted if they fail to hire enough locals
Omani private sector businesses have been warned they face being blacklisted by the Ministry of Manpower if they fail to meet new laws requiring them to hire more Omani nationals, it was reported.
In the latest local jobs plan to take shape in the GCC, from March 1 companies will be required to co-operate with the Ministry by creating job opportunities for nationals regardless of the strength of the company, local media reported.
The first wave will apply to companies categorised as “excellence”, “international” or “consultancies”, while the deadline for Class I establishments is April 1 and Class II firms is May 1. Those categorised as Class III and IV have been given a June 1 deadline, the Ministry reportedly said.
It said companies which fail to hire locals under the so-called Omanisation policy may not have visa renewals granted for their expatriate employees.
Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri said while small and medium-sized business owners can hire expatriate labourers for work, the ministry had encountered a rising number of cases where owners were working in public or private sector institutions and had left their businesses to be managed by expatriates.
“This is a type of hidden trade that will not be welcomed in the Sultanate,” he said.
However, Ahmed Al Salhi, who owns a transport and furniture installation business, criticised the new policy.
“I have only two expatriate workers and the company's monthly income is between OMR200 ($519.41) and OMR800 ($2,077.65). Being a fourth grade company, I cannot afford recruiting nationals as the minimum salary for an Omani is OMR325," he said.
Mohammed Al Busaidi, a Shura Council member, said on Twitter that Omanisation was targeting the middle and upper grades.
However, he warned it would fail unless the community was adequately consulted.