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.


Lebanon’s new finance minister to meet IMF official

Lebanon’s new Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni met with IMF Alternative Executive Director Sami Geadah in Beirut on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2020

Lebanon’s new finance minister to meet IMF official

  • Beirut could be forced to increase VAT and cut welfare if aided by the IMF

BEIRUT: The new finance minister of debt-saddled Lebanon said he would meet with a senior official from the International Monetary Fund on Saturday for a “courtesy visit” and not bailout talks. Ghazi Wazni’s meeting with IMF Alternative Executive Director Sami Geadah comes as Lebanon grapples with its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
It follows a meeting on Friday between Wazni and a delegation from the World Bank led by its regional director Saroj Kumar Jha.
“It is a courtesy visit which aims to get to know the IMF team,” Wazni said.
“The discussions will not focus on an economic rescue plan, which is being prepared (separately) inside government,” he added.
Wazni assumed the post of finance minister on Tuesday with the formation of a long-awaited cabinet that faces huge economic and political challenges.
The previous government resigned on Oct. 29, two weeks into a protest movement demanding the removal of politicians deemed incompetent and corrupt.
Wazni comes into the post at a time when the plummeting Lebanon pound has lost over one-third of its value against the dollar in the parallel market.
Lebanese banks are tightening restrictions on dollar transactions amid a liquidity crunch.

BACKGROUND

Lebanon’s previous government resigned on Oct. 29, two weeks into a nationwide protest movement demanding the removal of politicians deemed incompetent and corrupt.

The economic downturn has raised questions over whether Lebanon will turn to the IMF for a bailout — an option the government has yet to comment on but which some officials regard as inevitable.
Last month, former prime minister Saad Hariri discussed a possible economic rescue plan with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, further fueling speculation of a bailout.
If Lebanon does turn to the IMF it may have to increase its value-added tax, slash subsidies to the state-owned electricity company, tackle rampant corruption and enact a raft of structural reforms, according to previous IMF recommendations.