Oman launches new job center service for locals as expat visa ban continues

There has been an expat visa ban in place in Oman since January, 2018 to help tackle the country's unemployment. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 06 January 2019

Oman launches new job center service for locals as expat visa ban continues

  • The Job Center will help identify Omanis suited to job openings in the country
  • The service is the latest in the push to reduce unemployment in Oman's local population

DUBAI: The ongoing push to help Omanis into work continues with the introduction of a job center service that will provide information on vacancies and help identify possible candidates, national daily Times of Oman reported.

Oman’s National Center for Employment has been created to help the ongoing efforts to identify Omanis for positions that might have previously been filled by expats, the report added, adding that the service was set to open in February.

“The new center will act as a one-stop center for jobseekers, to unify employment efforts and effectively coordinate the supply and demand of job opportunities in the Sultanate,” Mohammed Al-Busaidi, Chairman of the Youth and Human Resources Development Committee at the Shura Council, told Times of Oman.
“The center will direct jobseekers towards employment opportunities in the private and public sectors.”

And the center, which is open to both the private and public sectors, will not just help people into employment, Al-Busaidi explained.

“The center will also follow up with people who have been employed and those who are yet to be employed due to their degrees, in which case, the center will provide training for those jobseekers or ensure their re-specialization.”

Under the new system companies that fail to employ Omanis identified as suitable for a position, and recruit expats instead, will not be granted the appropriate documents.

The center is the latest in the ongoing efforts to employ Omanis which started in January, 2018, with a six-month visa ban for expats in certain areas of work.

The ban was extended to other areas of work later in the year and again at the end of the year.

Since the ban was introduced there has been a 3.4 percent reduction in the expat labor force between October 2017 and 2018.

The biggest decline in unemployment was for Omani citizens aged 25 to 29 where there was a drop of 13.6 percent over the last month, according to the National Center for Statistics and Information.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate for Omanis aged 30 to 34 dropped by 11 percent, and by 7.1 per cent for those from 35 to 39-years-old.

In contrast the number of expats working in Oman dropped by 3.4 percent from 1,795,689 in December 2017 to 1,739,473 now – with the biggest drop in the construction sector, which saw a 13.69 percent reduction from nearly 651,000 in December 2016 to just under 572,600 in October 2018.


Commerzbank slapped with fine for deals with defunct Cypriot bank

Updated 05 July 2020

Commerzbank slapped with fine for deals with defunct Cypriot bank

  • Laiki, once Cyprus’s second-largest bank, was taken into administration and wound down in March 2013

FRANKFURT: Cyprus’s securities regulator has imposed a €650,000 ($730,800) fine on Germany’s Commerzbank for its role in transactions carried out by a local bank that collapsed during the country’s 2013 financial crisis.

The country’s CySEC commission said Commerzbank had been sanctioned over investment operations conducted by the now-defunct Laiki — also known as Cyprus Popular Bank — in 2011, following Laiki’s merger with Greece’s Marfin-Egnatia Bank.

Commerzbank declined to comment on the case, which followed an eight-year probe by Cypriot authorities.

The investigation, which was launched following calls by left-wing AKEL lawmaker Irene Charalambides, looked into whether the Cypriot deals may have broken laws prohibiting a company from buying its own stock.

CySEC said Laiki invested in two structured products issued by Commerzbank in 2008. Marfin-Egnatia, which was at that time a Laiki subsidiary, was an index sponsor responsible for the composition of the portfolio.

As a result of the 2011 merger between Laiki and Marfin-Egnatia, Laiki became the index sponsor, creating a conflict of interest, CySEC said.

It said Laiki and Commerzbank acted in “concert” to manipulate the market in relation to Laiki shares on several occasions in April and May 2011.

CySEC said it had not fined Laiki because it is in administration and did not want to put an additional burden on former depositors, bond holders and shareholders.

Laiki, once Cyprus’s second-largest bank, was taken into administration and wound down under terms of a €10 billion international financial assistance package to Cyprus in March 2013.

Some €4.3 billion in uninsured deposits exceeding the EU threshold of 100,000 were wiped out, and thousands of people lost their life savings.

Charalambides said she felt vindicated by the result of the investigation.

“The resolution authority should consider the possibility of civil lawsuits against Commerzbank to ensure that the funds channelled to these structured bonds, with the objective of manipulating shares, be returned, and given to depositors whose funds were subjected to a haircut,” she said in a statement.