Oman mulls extending expat visa ban

The six-month ban will expire at the end of January 2019, but may be extended for another half year
Oman mulls extending expat visa ban
The decision will depend on the success of providing job opportunities to locals in the 87 professions.
By Staff writer
Mon 10 Dec 2018 12:19 PM

Oman’s visa ban which currently limits expat jobs across 87 professions could be extended as per local job market needs, according to a top official at the Ministry of Manpower.

The six-month ban will expire at the end of January 2019, but may be extended for another half year, Salim bin Nasser Al Hadhrami, Director General of Planning and Development at the Manpower Ministry told Times of Oman.

Some of the professions fall in sectors such as information systems, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, administration, human resources and insurance.

The decision will depend on the success of providing job opportunities to locals in the 87 professions.

The ban which was imposed on January 28, 2018 was also originally aimed at regulating the labour market and reducing the recruitment of expat labour force in Oman. It was then extended to another six months in July.

The ban does not apply to companies registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development and insured with the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI).

Since February 2018, Ministry of Manpower provided 25,000 jobs to young Omanis. Over 40,000 Omanis were also given jobs in private sector companies as part of the government’s Omanisation policy.

In the past month, unemployment rate for Omanis aged between 25 and 29 years dropped 13.6% in the past month, and 11% for those aged between 30 and 34 years, as well as 7.1% for those aged between 35 to 39 years, according to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information.

However, some officials including Ahmed Al Hooti, director at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry are against the ban, stating that expat competition should occur for a better economy and that restrictions should not exist in an open economy.

Between October 2017 and 2018, the number of expat labours dropped 3.4% and currently stands at 1.7 million. The biggest drop was in the construction sector, where labours decreased 13.69% in October 2018.

The engineering sector dropped 6.8%, followed by the mining sector at 6.47%, industrial sector at 5.9%, manufacturing sector at 5.2%, finance at 2.1% and agriculture at 1.4%.

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