“This decision will work to regulate the labour market and contribute significantly in adopting new policies that will protect from illegal employment,” said Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This will reduce the burden on private sector companies and institutions.”
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“I would also like to praise the efforts made by the government in collaborating with OCCI, the representatives of the private sector, and listening to our requests and solutions to enhance the country’s position, promote investment, improve its economy and raise the private sector’s contribution to national income,” he added.
“We had approached the government on quite a few occasions to allow our citizens who were in Oman and facing challenging conditions because of the pandemic, to go home, without paying any of the fines due from them, because they were finding it hard to do so,” said Mohammed Golam Sarwar, the ambassador of Bangladesh to Oman.
“We are glad this decision has come, because there are unfortunately many foreign individuals here who tend to overstay their visas. This will come as a relief to many of them. To help them with the processes required, we are going to take the help of volunteers from our community organisations in the country.”
KK Ahsan Wagan, the ambassador of Pakistan to Oman, said in this context,
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we set up elders’ committees in a lot of the major towns and cities to help Pakistani expatriates who needed assistance. The numbers to contact them have been circulated through our WhatsApp groups, which has thousands of subscribers, and we will be sharing their contacts again, so that they can be reached by expats who need to leave soon.”
“There are, unfortunately, thousands of expats here who have overrun their visas in Oman,” he added.
“For obvious reasons, they do not contact their embassy for assistance, so it is sometimes difficult to help them, but I ask all of them to make use of this service, and thank the government of Oman for their wise decision to help expats during this time of need.”
Representative of the Embassy of India, said,
“During the last amnesty, approximately 2,300 Indian nationals left the country. We are awaiting more details on the recently announced decision of the Ministry of Labour to exempt fines of the expatriates who wish to leave the country for good. The embassy will make a suitable announcement in due course of time. We will be facilitating and issuing travel documents in all such cases.”
A decision issued by the Ministry of Labour, taken in keeping with the recommendations of the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, allowed expats who plan on permanently leaving the country between 15 November and 31 December, 2020, to not pay any fines with regards to documents related to the ministry, such as employment visas, commercial registration and resident cards.
Expats who wish to apply for this waiver from the Ministry of Labour need to visit the relevant office at Muscat International Airport, where they need to present their travel document, tickets, and proof of having tested negative for COVID-19. They must also meet the requirements of the countries for which they are departing.
According to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, nationals from Bangladesh form the highest portion of the country’s expat community, at 550,471, as of last September, followed by Indians (449,431) and Pakistanis (176,550). Expats from the Philippines, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Uganda also have a significant presence in the country.
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