Give priority to nationals while hiring

MUSCAT, Aug 6 – The Ministry of Manpower has reiterated its stand that companies should meet the Omanisation target so that they can avoid losing their work permits. “We are keeping a close watch on the mandatory Omanisation rate in the companies. In case of non-compliance, the ministry will take appropriate legal action,” said a senior official at the ministry. He said an inspection team has been conducting checks on all establishments and firms to ensure that there are no violations. “It is better for the firms to achieve the Omanisation target at the earliest so that they can avoid losing their work permit and escape fines,” the official said.

Employers face a fine between RO 250 and RO 500 for each worker if they are short of the target. If a company fails to correct its status in six months, the penalty is doubled. In May, the ministry had penalised 161 companies for failing to abide by the Omanisation law. The total number of expatriate workers in Oman at the end of May 2018 stood at 1,830,394 as against 1,836,569 in April last year. Along with the Omanisation target, the companies have to give priority to nationals in accordance with the ministry’s directive, the official said.

“If a company has to take a foreign worker on its pay roll, it has to first check whether an Omani job-seeker is available for the job. Nationals have to be given preference over others,” he affirmed. He said the government’s goal is to facilitate citizens’ access to employment opportunities while taking into account the growth in the number of graduates. “Omani nationals should be given priority while making recruitment in the public and private sectors and expatriates should be hired for specialised jobs where no qualified Omanis are available,” he said.

The government lays special emphasis on the training of Omani job-seekers in order to enhance their skills and capacities so that they can join the labour market. In this respect, the National Training Fund has been established, and an amount of RO 62 million has been allocated to cover the cost of training programmes in the 2018 budget. As part of the government’s decision to provide jobs to Omani nationals, more than 29,000 candidates have been employed in various private sector institutions across the Sultanate between December 3, 2017 and May 14, 2018. In June last, the ministry extended the ban on hiring expatriate workers in 87 professions for another six months. The professions mainly include those in the insurance and finance sectors, public relations and human resources, engineers in architecture, civil and electrical and professionals in finance and accounts.

SAMUEL KUTTY