Knowledge and content manager at Fragomen, Marcin Kubarek, shares his thoughts about the effects of Oman’s extension of its expat recruitment ban in many industries.
Development of the country’s human resources is a shared responsibility of the private and government sector, and it needs that foreign companies in Oman not only recruit the local workforce but also aims on providing several training programmes.
What does it signify? Extending the suspension on recruitment of foreign nationals in several industry sectors indicates that the Omani government stays very keen on addressing the problem of a high unemployment rate among its citizens, specially young people. Unemployment among Omani youth og age between 15-24 reached 48.7 percent in 2017, which is a great concern.
Will it assist in resolving the issue? Development of the country’s human resources is a shared responsibility of the private and government sector, and it needs that foreign companies in Oman not only recruit the local workforce but also aims on providing several training programmes.
On the other hand, the government must reply to any existing loopholes in the country’s education programme and encourage more skill-based education that meets the demand of the labour market. It is not an effortless or fast process, but few regulatory changes signify that the government will proceed to stress the importance of skills development rather than quantitative Omanisation.
These efforts have recently given a lot to the employment of a greater portion of some 25,000 Omani citizens the government plans to appoint in the coming months.
Is this a temporary solution? There are already signs suggesting that the ministry will proceed to extend the suspension in its drive to promote the employment of Omani citizens in foreign nationals.
The labour market proceeds to be monitored and the selection of sectors that are subject to suspension is done depending on the qualifications of Omani jobseekers who are ready to take up employment, and therefore we can expect few modifications to be made to the list of affected professions in the future.
What else will the ministry do? While the suspension has had a serious effect on foreign companies deploying foreign nationals on permanent contracts, the ministry is at present working on adding its labour regulations to address rising demand for temporary work allows and for the ease of mobility of workers between entities.
And as it is with any type of restriction, it may seem to hamper foreign investment in the country, but on the other hand, the increasing flexibility for short-term employees will proceed to attract business.
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