[Oman] Two-Year Labour Ban On Foreign Workers Lifted

10 JUN 2020

A new amendment to Omani law will make it easier for Expatriates in the country to switch employers, The National reports. 

Oman has lifted a labour law banning the practice of switching employers without a no-objection certificate. The department of visas and immigration said that the amendment, issued on June 7, will now allow an employee to move from one company to another as long as they complete the two-year period set by the contract. 

“The foreign employees must prove that they have completed the contract with their previous employers before joining another company, but they would not need the no-objection certificate. The new rule will be implemented from January 1, 2021, ” the department reportedly said.

The new rule replaces the 1996 order prohibiting foreign employees from joining another company after the expiry of their contracts unless their employer granted them a no-objection certificate (NOC). If an expatriate does not obtain a NOC, under current rules they receive a two-year ban from working in Oman.

Expatriates in the country welcomed the reform and said it would help Oman with its 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,” Noor Saheb - a Pakistani national working as an IT professional - said.

Other expatriates believed the new rule would promote a free market in Oman.

“The cancellation of the no-objection certificate is good for the country," Rachel Johnson - an American interior designer - said. "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.”

Some expatriates said the certification rule caused stagnation by forcing expatriates to stay in the same companies instead of pursuing new careers.

“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," Ajai Sharma - an Indian real estate employee - said. "The new rule will allow them to transfer their skills to different companies and increase the business competitive mode in Oman.”

Omani graduates, however, see a different side to the change. They say job availability, already taking a hit from Covid-19, become more limited.

More than 34,000 Omani graduates had registered with the ministry of manpower for employment by the end of April.

“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," Khaifa Al-Harbi - an Omani business graduate - said. "This will take away some of the job opportunities for us if expatriates change jobs after two years.” (Quotes via original reporting)

Oman reported 866 new Covid-19 cases on June 7, increasing the infection count to 16,882. There have been 75 deaths.

Source: The National