Oman expat visa ban extended to more professions

The visa ban has been imposed on various industries since January 2018. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 27 November 2018

Oman expat visa ban extended to more professions

  • The initial visa ban was imposed for just six months, but was extended
  • The ban is part of the Omanization project aimed at getting the local population into work

DUBAI: Oman’s government have announced plans to extend the ban on issuing visas to expats wanting to work in the country, national daily Times of Oman reported.

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.

Now 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.

“This law will apply to all private establishments, replacing the earlier decision. Finally, this law will apply starting from November 30.”

In June 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.

Saif Al Badi, head of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Al Dhairah Governorate headquarters told the Times of Oman: “We were hoping the visa ban for these jobs would be halted or opened for a temporary period but the decision is exactly the opposite and that will not attract entrepreneurs to start businesses in these sectors,”

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.

Balram Manji, an HR consultant in Oman, said the new rules were in keeping with the growing trend around the globe.

“It is very similar to what the US and many European nations are doing in terms of prioritizing their own people.

“In America, before the Bureau of Immigration proceeds with any visa issuance, they always ask the company in question if there is an American who will do the job.”

UBS annual profits soar to $4.9 billion

Updated 2 min 19 sec ago

UBS annual profits soar to $4.9 billion

  • UBS had seen its 2017 results hammered by US tax reforms
  • Net income for the whole of 2018 was still up 25 percent from the previous year

ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS saw its net profits leap by almost five times last year to $4.9 billion (€4.3 billion) despite “challenging conditions,” it said Tuesday.

UBS’ 2017 results were hammered by US tax reforms that forced banks that operate in the United States to book substantial one-time losses in the final quarter of that year, but which were expected to be mostly favorable beyond that.

Excluding the impact of changes in US tax laws, UBS net income for 2018 as a whole was still up by 25 percent from the previous year.

“I want to thank all UBS employees for a very successful 2018 in overall challenging conditions,” chief executive Sergio P. Ermotti said in a statement.

He underscored geopolitical tensions, increased protectionism and trade friction, and financial market volatility, all of which weighed on investor sentiment in the second half of the year.

“We’ve seen some normalization in markets early in 2019, we will stay focused on balancing efficiency and investments for growth, in order to keep delivering on our capital return objectives while creating sustainable long-term value for our shareholders,” Ermotti said.

Commenting on the fourth quarter 2018, he added: “The strength of our strategic choices and diversified franchise once again came through ... as we delivered a resilient performance despite historically tough market conditions.”

Net profit in the quarter came to $696 million, below an average analyst forecast compiled by the Swiss agency AWP, of $751 million.

Transactions by clients in the Americas and Asia Pacific region slumped, with the investment bank unit posting a plunge of 84 percent in pre-tax operating profit owing to a difficult market environment.