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Oman raises work-permit fees for migrants and bans them from several occupations in the private sector

On January 28, 2021

Oman's Ministry of Labour announced yesterday that it has raised the fees for issuing and renewing work permits for migrants depending on their job positions, in an effort to boost its Omanisation policy. The fee rise represents a significant cost to businesses who wish to hire non-Omanis in top and mid-level job positions. 

According to the Labour Ministry, the new work-permit fees are as follows: 

  • OMR 2,001 (US$ 5,197) for Non-Omanis in top-level professions
  • OMR 1,001 (US$ 2,599) for Non-Omanis in mid-level professions
  • OMR 601 (US$ 1,561) for Non-Omani in specialized and technical professions

The cost of issuing and renewing work-permits for professions not mentioned in the above clause, along with domestic workers and farmers remain unchanged.

Previously, the fee for issuing and renewing regular work permit was OMR 301 (US$ 781), last year the Omani government temporarily reduced the fees for the renewal of non-Omani work permits by 50% in an effort to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on businesses.

Oman’s Ministry of Labour has also stepped up its Omanisation policy by issuing two Ministerial Orders to reserve a number of professions in the private sector for Omani nationals on 20 January 2021.

Ministerial Order No. 8/2021 limits the following professions in the private sector to Omani nationals only:

  1. Financial and administrative professions in insurance companies and companies operating in insurance brokerage activities;
  2. The professions of selling, accounting, money exchange, management and arranging goods in the shops operating in malls;
  3. Account auditing professions in automobile agencies;
  4. All professions related to selling new and used vehicles;
  5. All accounting professions in the activities of selling new and used vehicles in car agencies;
  6. The activity of selling spare parts for new vehicles affiliated with cars agencies.

According to the Ministerial order, non-Omani work permits in the above professions will be valid until the date of their expiry and will not be renewed. 

Oman’s Labour Ministry also issued Ministerial Order No. 9/2021 regarding driving professions. According to the order, the following profession of driving vehicles – of whatever type – is restricted to Omanis:

  1. Fuel Transfer.
  2. Transportation of agricultural materials.
  3. Transportation of foodstuffs.

The Ministerial Order, however, allows the recruitment of one migrant worker to transport agricultural materials and foodstuffs for small and medium businesses owned by Omani employers who are full-time managers, are registered with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority and are insured with the General Authority for Social Insurance, provided that the vehicle is commercial and registered under the name of the business.

Both Ministerial Orders will take effect six months after the date of their publication on 20 January 2021.

Oman’s recent Omanisation drive is part of its plan to employ 40% of Omani job-seekers by the end of 2021, and up to 85% by 2022 and recruiting 500 Omanis for leadership positions in the private sector.