MUSCAT: Oman has issued a six-month ban on the issuance of work visas for expatriates in ten sectors, including information systems, engineering, aviation and certain technical professions.
The complete list of sectors covered by the temporary ban is: information systems, sales, marketing, administration, human resources, insurance, media, airports, engineering and technical professions.
According to Times of Oman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, the sultanate’s Minister of Manpower, issued the new regulation, which will begin with immediate effect.
According to Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist at Oman Investment Fund, who was quoted by the Times of Oman, the move is part of a strategy to “Omanise” the labour market and is designed to encourage the private sector to hire for these skilled roles from within the country.
“It is a way to make companies put in more effort to look for Omani professionals as sometimes they don’t do enough to look for Omanis. This may be due to a bias they have for hiring expat workers,” he said.
Over the last decade, the expat workforce in Oman has almost tripled, according to Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information. It has risen from 660,950 in 2007 to 1,825,603 people in 2016.
The latest decree does not include companies owned by employers wholly devoted to management of their establishments which are registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development and insured with the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI).
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has also imposed a restriction on the expatriates from working in 12 sectors from the next Hijri year.
According to Jeddah-based newspaper Saudi Gazette, Saudi Labour and Social Development Minister Ali Al-Ghafees on Monday issued a ministerial decision in this regard in an attempt to ‘create more job opportunities for Saudi citizens’. – Samaa