DUBAI: Oman’s visa ban on certain professions has been extended for a further six months as the country continues in its push to cut unemployment among its citizens.
The ban extension issued by the Ministry of Manpower will see a continued freeze on the issuance of visas for people working in the construction and cleaning industries, national daily Times of Oman reported.
There are exceptions to the extension including small and medium enterprises registered with the Public Authority for SME development.
Oman introduced the expat visa bans in January 2018 for a six-month period for certain professions.
There have been two extensions since then and it has also 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.
The 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.
Between December 2018 and November last year, a total of 60,807 expatriate workers left Oman’s labor force or an equivalent 3.6 percent reduction in their numbers.
Oman's expat population has dropped significantly since the introduction of the ban.