Expatriates who work in senior management roles in Oman may be affected by the Ministry of Manpower’s extension of its visa ban on certain occupations in the country, as the Sultanate continues to push its Omanisation policy forward.
The latest visa ban regulates some professions and completely Omanises certain management and director positions in the country.
The decision reads: “The following professions will only be occupied by Omanis in the private sector: Assistant General Manager, Administration Director, Human Resources Director, Personnel Director, Training Director, Follow-up Director, Public Relations Director, Assistant Manager, all administrative and clerical duties.”
According to the latest Data from the NCSI, there were 37,299 expat administrators, managers, and directors in Oman in March 2019, with an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the previous year.
An official at the Ministry of Manpower said: “These numbers are general numbers for managers and administrators in Oman, not for specific occupations and different types of managers”
This means that not all of the 37,299 workers will be affected by the ban, but rather only the specific occupations mentioned in the decision.
Furthermore, there were 2,043 expats working in clerical occupations in Oman in March 2019, with a decrease of 7.9 per cent compared to the previous year.
The decision by the ministry comes after the success of efforts by the ministry and companies in Omanising some occupations.
The spokesman for the Ministry told Times of Oman, “There have been positive results from efforts to Omanise and hire Omanis in managerial and executive roles. The goal is to empower Omanis in these roles, and this is an expansion of that.”
According to NCSI reports, the number of Omanis in Administration, Director and Manager occupations in the private sector in February 2019 was 27,987 employees, registering an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the same period of 2018.
“Some of these jobs had already been covered before, such as Human Resource Directors and others, but others are new,” the spokesman added.
Employment permits for those affected will continue to be valid until their expiry, but cannot then be renewed, according to the decision that was signed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, the Minister of Manpower.
The ministry spokesman said that people currently employed will be safe until their permits or contracts expired, saying: “If the permit runs out before the employee’s contract is over, then it depends on what the contract says.”
A factory owner in Oman said that this would be good towards harnessing local talent, telling Times of Oman: “There are many talented young professionals and skilled workers in the country who would definitely fit the profile of many of the administrative jobs in the country.
With many new jobs coming in the manufacturing, logistics, transport and other sectors, this will be a move that will benefit many of the current and upcoming professionals in the country.”
A human resources auditor in the country said that this policy was one that was in the best interests of the development of the country.
“For a long time now, overseas migrants have been integral to not just the development of the Omani economy and infrastructure, but the rest of the GCC countries as well, working hand-in-hand with the local workforce in these countries to identify and fill in the gaps present, while simultaneously training local workforces to take over these jobs in future,” he said.
“But now, the companies in these countries are pursuing policies of Omanisation and other nationalisation programmes, so that their locals can get jobs,” he added.“The private sector provides many opportunities for locals to learn and improve their skill sets as well as promote growth and development.
As this happens, we can expect the number of other migrant workers to these countries to drop, which is what has been happening over the past few years.”
© Muscat Media Group