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Oman polls suggest support for two-year work ban

Oman polls suggest support for two-year work ban

Foreign workers in the country are banned for two years if they do not obtain their employer’s permission to change jobs

The majority of Omani residents agree with maintaining the country’s no objection certificate (NOC) system restricting worker movement between companies, according to online polls.

The two polls, launched by the government’s Implementation Support and Follow-Up Unit on Twitter, show backing for the system, which bans expatriates from the country for two-years if they fail to acquire a certificate with permission to move companies from their employer.

The English poll, which will close on Wednesday evening, showed 28,342 votes cast with 57 per cent in support of the NOC, 42 per cent against it and 1 per cent unsure.

The Arabic poll, with 7,117 votes cast, showed 62 per cent supporting the NOC system with 32 per cent against it and 6 per cent unsure.

However, it did not appear participation in either case was restricted to users in Oman only, leading to questions regarding the authenticity of the results.

Critics of the NOC say it restricts worker movement and makes Oman less competitive for attracting talent from abroad.

In contrast, those who favour the system say it protects company secrets and prevents workers from moving to competitors.

Oman is considering removing the NOC requirement for expats to move jobs under current diversification efforts.

However, senior officials in the government are against the complete removal of the system to protect Omani business owners.

Read: Omani officials against lifting of 2-year visa ban for expats

As the sultanate has tackled an economic slump linked to low oil prices over the last 18 months reports have emerged of companies abusing the NOC system by forcing employees to give up their end of service gratuity to obtain the certificate.

Read: Expat workers in Oman forced to give up gratuity for NOC

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