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Oman to impose higher visa fees for employing foreign nationals

Oman to impose higher visa fees for employing foreign nationals

The most significant increases will apply to top/senior level, middle level and technical and specialised roles

Oman has announced that it will impose higher fees on companies that seek to employ foreign nationals in the sultanate.

Oman’s Ministry of Labour said on Wednesday that a raft of measures will be revealed in the coming weeks to boost employment opportunities for Oman nationals, particularly in the private sector.

“There will be changes in the labour law and civil service law, including raising the fees for the recruitment of non-labour manpower (administrative and executive positions), formulating policies that include an approximation between the benefits of the public and private sectors, Omanisation of some professions, setting up of mobile labour courts, and new ministerial decisions to localise some jobs,” local media quoted the ministry as saying.

A new employment application system will also be introduced to replace the existing sponsor tied labour clearance and employment visa process, law firm Addleshaw Goddard said in a note.

“In what is quite a bold move, particularly given the financial difficulties that a number of employers find themselves under the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labour has announced an increase in the labour clearance fees for recruiting foreign workers, the cost of which will depend on the seniority of the position and will no longer be a flat fee, currently OMR301 (approx $780),” said Gorvinder Pannu, a partner in Addleshaw Goddard’s employment practice.

The most significant increases will apply to top/senior level, middle level and technical and specialised roles.

Companies will have to pay up to OMR2,001 to employ a foreign national in a senior role, while the fee for the recruitment of a foreign national in a mid-level role will cost OMR1,001.

“It is unlikely (but yet to be confirmed) that there will be any reductions in the renewal of employment visas,” Addleshaw Goddard said.

The list of fees to hire expat workers:

1. In top positions: OMR2,001 ($5,204)

2. In a mid-level role: OMR1,001 ($2,603)

3. For specialised and technical professions: OMR601 ($1,563)

4. For the role of a fisherman: OMR361 ($939)

No further details have yet been released on the measures announced, including when the new fees will take effect.

Oman has been taking several steps to localise jobs in the country and reduce its dependence on foreign nationals.

Roughly 16 per cent of Oman’s expatriate workers – roughly 272,126 foreign workers – left the country in the first 11 months of 2020, after losing their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: Oman’s expat workforce down by 16% amid pandemic – report

 

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