Muscat : Overstayers Can Leave Without Paying Fine Now

The Manpower Ministry yesterday declared that expatriates living in the Sultanate without legal status can leave without paying fines.

The ministry has set a March 31 deadline for the illegal workforce.  Manpower Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasir bin Abdullah Al Bakri said in a statement that the decision would exempt illegal workers from paying penalties they may have accrued until December last year.

“This gives them a chance to leave without facing any financial penalties resulting from their illegal status. This step has been conducted after coordination between concerned parties, allowing for a two-month reprieve,” the minister said.

Sheikh Abdullah said the steps have been taken by the ministry following requests from businessmen, firms and other organisations in the Sultanate.

Establishments had sought a direction to this effect by which they could correct the legal status of their businesses in accordance with the amended Omani labour law.

“It is for this reason the ministry has extended the opportunity. It allows businesses and firms to correct their illegal status of any of their expat labour and to transfer them from one business or organisation to another or even for the changing of expat worker job designations. This will best help serve interest of the business,”
the minister said in his statement.

Sheikh Abdullah also declared that his ministry would continue in its efforts to apply the labour law in a fair manner to serve and organise the labour market.

“We will show our willingness in facilitating the availability of labour force in various specialisations and different experiences in jobs and for technological need of private sector – whether from local resources or from outside of the country, enabling the private sector companies to better operate and achieve their business and project objectives,” he said.

The minister pointed out that such steps are in accordance to the ministry’s trend of keeping a determined number of expatriate workers in the private sector. He also said that the expatriate workforce in the country touched 1,054,091 as of Sunday.

Last year, permission was given to private sector firms to bring in 292,449 expatriates, according to their stipulated needs, he said.

The minister emphasised that the ministry would continue to provide and facilitate its services to employers, establishments and companies in re-routing their required expatriate labour according to actual needs, which will enable its functioning and to fulfill its projects.

For the past few weeks illegal workers have been approaching their respective embassies and registering to seek reprieve.

Indian envoy welcomes the decision

MUSCAT: Welcoming the announcement, Indian ambassador Anil  Wadhwa has again appealed to Indian expatriate workforce, living in Oman without legal status to register themselves as early as possible.

“Until now, we have some 17,000 people who have registered,” he said adding, “they should do it as early as possible because they have to keep everything ready by the February 1,” he said.  


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