Companies warned against hiring illegal workers

MUSCAT, March 27 : In a stricter tone, the Ministry of Manpower has cautioned companies and individuals against hiring of workers staying illegally in the Sultanate.
“It is illegal to hire a worker without proper documents from the authorities concerned,” said an official at the ministry.
Companies or individuals who are illegally bringing workers to Oman or providing them with jobs must be prepared to face strict action under the prevailing laws, he said.
“An employer is not allowed to enter into a contract with any person for the purpose of providing jobs to foreign employees unless he obtains a licence for the purpose,” said the official, quoting the Omani Labour Law.
Citing Article 20 of the Law, he said no person is allowed to practise the business of supplying foreign workers unless he obtains a licence in this regard.
According to the official, many companies are hiring ‘undocumented’ workers, while citizens and residents are providing odd jobs like domestic help, cleaning, gardening, etc.
While urging people to cooperate with the ministry, he said the ministry has been adopting several steps to stamp out illegal labour in the country.
“If there are not enough expatriate employees in the country, then appoint an Omani national,” advised the official.
Thousands of illegal workers are arrested and deported every year despite authorities’ warning to companies not to hire them.
“Many of these workers are either those who ran away from their sponsors or entered the country illegally,” he said.
There are thousands of workers hired by ‘fake’ companies.
According to the amended Labour Law, both sponsors and employers, if caught for such violations, can be fined up to RO 2,000.
They could also be barred from using ministry’s services for two years, with the employer being ordered to cover the costs of his workers’ return expenditure.
Workers can be charged up to RO 800 with deportation and a ban from working in Oman. “Illegal workers are not only an economic threat to the country, but they also threaten the country’s social fabric,” the official added. Many, who find themselves in desperate situations, resort to theft and drug dealing to survive.