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Oman News

Fact Check: Has Oman decided to deport foreign workers working in certain professions in April?

info@thearabianstories.com

Monday, February 18, 2019

The news story was shared widely on social media panicking the migrant community in Oman. All they wanted to know is whether its true or not.

MUSCAT: By Sunday evening a news report by Arabia Today titled ‘Oman decides to deport all foreign workers working in these professions at the beginning of April 2019’ had gone viral.

The Arabia Today story read that “The Sultanate of Oman announced some painful decisions for the residents of the Sultanate, which would reduce the percentage of their presence and replace the citizens instead of them in many jobs and sectors, according to a plan put to end many of them before the end of this year.”

“Some sources pointed out that the Sultanate of Oman announced the prevention of renewing residency in 36 professions for residents over the age of forty and to terminate their services and deport them from the Sultanate permanently.”

It also added that “The government in Sultanate of Oman started the process of settling the professions, which aims to reduce the number of residents inside the country and replace the citizens instead. Also, some government sources announced the decision to prevent the renewal of residency in 36 professions for residents over the age of forty to give the opportunity for young cadres and graduates to work in the Sultanate and end the unemployment crisis.”

There is no such decision taken by the ministry. It is totally untrue. What we have is a six month ban on issuing fresh visas for certain jobs. That was renewed recently. Nothing else.

Senior Manpower Official

The news story was shared widely on social media panicking the migrant community in Oman. All they wanted to know is whether its true or not.

However, a fact checking done by The Arabian Stories, reveal the news story is false.

Talking to The Arabian Stories exclusively, a senior official from the Ministry of Manpower in Oman said that the news story by Arabia Today is untrue.

“There is no such decision taken by the ministry. It is totally untrue. What we have is a six month ban on issuing fresh visas for certain jobs. That was renewed recently. Nothing else,” the official told The Arabian Stories.

There has been a ban on issuing employment visas in 87 professions since January 2018, which was initially in place for six months, but was later extended.

And Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has extended the ban to include purchase and sales representatives and workers in the construction, cleaning, and workshop sectors from Dec. 1, 2018.

The existing ban, which was extended in July, already covers a number of industries including media, engineering, accounting and finance, IT, insurance, technicians, administration and HR.

Ministry decision number 487/2018, states: “Permits for non-Omani manpower will cease to be released for the next six months for the following professions: sales representative/promoter, purchase representative. permits for the replacement of existing employees will continue to be released.

However, the Ministry of Manpower has made it clear that this does not include the permits that were issued before this decree. Those expats may continue to work until the end of the visa period, but small and medium enterprise (SME) owners and developers are allowed to continue to hire expat workers, according to Article 2, which states, “This decision does not apply to business owners who are registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, or to the owners insured by the Public Authority for Social Insurance.”

In June 2018, reports showed Oman’s expat population had dropped 2 percent in the first five months of the ban – that’s 43,000 fewer expats than the same time for the previous year.

The aim of the visa ban is to help reduce unemployment among Omanis, but some business people fear it might discourage start-ups in these fields of work.

The Omanization drive is part of a government’s push to recruit more of its own citizens, a similar push is underway across the GCC where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also been trying to increase the number of locals in employment.

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