Oman’s expat visa ban extended again

The extension was effective from the end of May. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 02 June 2019

Oman’s expat visa ban extended again

  • Visa ban extension came into force on May 31, 2019
  • Oman is working to drive down unemployment among its local population

DUBAI: Oman’s government has extended the expat visa ban for a further six months in certain professions and industries, national daily Times of Oman reported.

The ban covers a number of jobs, most noticeably in industries like sales and marketing and procurement.

The Ministry of Manpower first introduced the visa ban in January, 2018 as it worked to reduce the number of unemployed locals in the country as part of the Omanization project.

The ban has been extended a number of times since it was introduced.

Approximately 55,000 expatriates who previously worked in Oman have been dismissed by companies in one year, up to March, 2019, according to data published by the Omani government.

In Qatar, the expat 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.


Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

  • Saudi Arabia has issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to reduce spending next year by about 7.5 percent to SR990 billion ($263.9 billion) as it seeks to reduce its deficit. This compares to spending of SR1.07 trillion this year, it said in a preliminary budget statement.

The Kingdom anticipates a budget deficit of about 12 percent this year falling to 5.1 percent next year.

Saudi Arabia released data on Wednesday showing that the economy contracted by about 7 percent in the second quarter as regional economies faced the twin blow of the coronavirus pandemic and continued oil price weakness.

The unemployment rate among Saudis increased to 15.4 percent in the second quarter compared with 11.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The challenging headwinds facing regional economies is expected to spur activity across debt markets as countries sell bonds to help fund spending.

Saudi Arabia has already issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date.

“Over the past three years, the government has developed (from scratch) a well-functioning and increasingly deeper domestic sukuk market that has allowed it to tap into growing domestic and international demand for Shariah-compliant fixed income assets,” Moody’s said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This, in turn, has helped diversify its funding sources compared with what was available during the oil price shock of 2015-16 and ease liquidity pressures amid a more than doubling of government financing needs this year,” the ratings agency added.