Oman considers extending expat visa ban

These steps taken by the government are part of the Omanization drive to recruit more of its citizens in private companies. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 December 2018

Oman considers extending expat visa ban

  • The current ban, which is expected to expire at the end of January 2019, has halted the hiring of expats to jobs across 87 sectors
  • These steps taken by the government are part of the Omanization drive to recruit more of its citizens in private companies

DUBAI: Oman’s Ministry of Manpower is considering extending the expatriate visa ban that was implemented early this year, national daily Times of Oman reported.

The current ban, which is expected to expire at the end of January 2019, has halted the hiring of expats to jobs across 87 sectors which include information systems, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, administration, human resources and insurance.

“The decision to regulate the labour market, provide job opportunities for job seekers in these disciplines, reduce the recruitment of labour force in the country, and the ban for a period of six months can be renewed based on the results of the study and the success in providing job opportunities in these disciplines,” Salim bin Nasser Al Hadhrami, Director General of Planning and Development at the Manpower Ministry told the daily.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Manpower announced that companies will have to secure the ministry’s go ahead before they can hire expats.

A new traffic light-themed online system is currently being rolled out in Oman, in which companies’ Omanization quotas are being monitored.

Under this new system, companies that meet Omanization standards set by the government will receive a green signal online, allowing them to proceed with hiring expat employees.

These steps taken by the government are part of the Omanization drive to recruit more of its citizens in private companies, a similar push is underway across the GCC where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also been trying to increase the number of nationals in private sector employment.


Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

Updated 23 February 2020

Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

DUBAI: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said on Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy.
Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances.
"We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues," he said in the televised speech.
"We will also direct all government departments to adopt efficient governance that leads to a balanced, diversified and sustainable economy."
Rated junk by all three major credit rating agencies, Oman's debt to GDP ratio spiked to nearly 60% last year from around 15% in 2015, and could reach 70% by 2022, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The small oil producing country has relied heavily on debt to offset a widening deficit caused by lower crude prices. Also, the late Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for nearly 50 years, held back on austerity measures.
The country has delayed introducing a 5% value added tax from 2019 to 2021, and economic diversification has been slow, with oil and gas accounting for over 70% of government revenues.
Last week, rating agency Fitch said Oman was budgeting for a higher deficit of 8.7% for 2020 despite its expectation of further asset-sale proceeds and some spending cuts.
"We are willing to take the necessary measures to restructure the state's administrative system and its legislation," Haitham said in his first speech since the mourning period for Qaboos ended, without elaborating.
He said there would be a full review of government companies to improve their business performance and competence.
Oman observers have said that if Haitham moves to decentralise power it would signal willingness to improve decision making. Like Qaboos, he holds the positions of finance minister and central bank chairman as well as premier, defence and foreign minister.