In an effort by the Omani government to “Omanise” the labor sector, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, the sultanate’s Minister of Manpower, announced the issuance of a six month temporary ban on work visas for expatriates in 10 sectors including information systems, engineering, aviation and certain technical professions.
Records show that over the past few years Oman has seen and increased insurgence of expatriate workers in the country. according to Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information. It has raised from 660,950 in 2007 to 1,825,603 people in 2016. The government wants the companies to employ more people from the country instead of from outside.
In the announcement, the authorities revealed ten sectors on which the ban is applicable including administration, airports human resources, engineering, information systems, insurance, marketing, media, sales and technical professions. However the ban will exclude companies owned by employers wholly devoted to management of their establishments which are registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development and insured with the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI).
Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist at Oman Investment Fund, commented on the ban saying, “It is a way to make companies put in more effort to look for Omani professionals as sometimes they don’t do enough to look for Omanis. This may be due to a bias they have for hiring expat worker. This is a period that is long enough to hire Omanis for whatever positions and after this they can analyze whether they have had the desired effect of this ruling. It will also help identify mismatch or gaps in the labor market.”
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