DUBAI: Oman’s expat visa ban has again been extended, this time to senior management positions in the private sector, as the country continues to push its Omanization policy in a bid to cut unemployment among its citizens.
Under the new rules those expats currently working in the specified roles will be able to work until the end of their current residency visas, but will not be able to renew them, national daily Times of Oman reported.
The roles will then be entirely staffed by Omanis
The roles affected by the latest decision by the Ministry of Manpower are: assistant general manager, administration director, human resources director, personnel director, training director, follow-up director, public relations director, assistant manager, and all administrative and clerical duties.
The story did not specify how many of the current 37,299 managerial and administrative roles would be given to Omani nationals.
Oman introduced the expat visa bans in January 2018 for a six-month period for certain professions.
There have been a number of extensions since then and the ban has been expanded to cover other industries and professions – during that time tens of thousands of Omanis have found work.
Historically Gulf countries have been dependent on expatriate workers to power their economies; with a 2013 study indicating as much as 71 percent of Oman’s labor force were foreign-nationals.
In Qatar, expatriate workforce was as high as 95 percent while in the UAE it was 94 percent; 83 percent in Kuwait; 64 percent in Bahrain and 49 percent in Saudi Arabia.
Some Gulf states have since launched nationalization programs to absorb more of their citizens into the labor force, as well as address high levels of unemployment.
Oman's expat population has dropped significantly since the introduction of the ban.