Crackdown on labour law violations

By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: Dec. 17: A total of 79 illegal workers, including 59 women, were arrested last week by the inspection team of the Ministry of Manpower in the Muscat Governorate. They were arrested from Muttrah, Bausher and Seeb. Most of the raids were conducted in the early hours of December 9 in co-ordination with the Royal Oman Police (ROP). According to eyewitnesses and sources, most of these workers were released, except for a few, including women, who were not able to present their legal status along with their sponsors.

“A number of workers in Oman are working independently and not with their sponsors, which is illegal as per the law. Even women workers, who are supposed to work only as maids with their sponsors, tend to work elsewhere,” said an expatriate worker who was witness to the arrests. The ministry recently increased the visa fee for employing domestic workers, which is hoped to curb this problem to some extent. “Fee for recruitment, work permit and registration of workers will remain at RO 141 each for hiring up to three people. If the number exceeds four, then RO 241 each has to be paid as fee,” said the ministry. 

Between December 4 and 12, the ministry arrested 468 illegal workers, including 344 from commercial enterprises, 53 farm labourers and 70 domestic workers. A number of runaway workers were also arrested during the period. As per a ministry statement, 417 foreign workers were deported for violating provisions of the Labour Law. Last week, the ministry ensured a compensation of RO 25,000 for a worker who was illegally terminated by a company. According to Salim bin Said al Badi, Director-General of Labour Welfare at the Ministry of Manpower, the Labour Law has provisions to settle disputes amicably between parties.

In the last few months, the ministry has compensated national and expatriate workers to the tune of RO 38,000, which include end of service gratuity and unpaid wages. The official said RO 238,000 was paid as compensation in different kinds of labour disputes in 2015. The largest compensation paid to a worker last year was RO 22,000.