Visa ban on expats for 87 professions extended

MUSCAT, June 24 – The Ministry of Manpower, as part of its efforts to regulate the job market, has extended by another six months the ban on hiring expatriates for a large number of professions in the private sector. The decision, taken by Minister of Manpower Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri on Sunday, will be effective from July 30, 2018. According to a statement from the ministry, private sector companies cannot hire workers in 87 professions during the period. “During the period of ban, it is not allowed to recruit non-Omani workers to the professions specified in Ministerial Decision No 38/2018,” said the statement.

The professions mainly include many in the insurance and finance sectors, public relations and human resources, engineers in architecture, civil and electrical and professionals in finance and accounts. While clarifying on the decision, an official at the ministry said: “The temporary ban does not include replacement of existing employees.” The latest figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show that the number of expatriates has now dropped to 2,033,238 or 44.1 per cent of the total population in the Sultanate. The total population stood at 4,610,075. The data for the first four months indicate the number of foreign workers fell by 18,311 or 1.5 per cent just in four months of the current year. At the end of April 2018, the number of expatriate employees stood at 1,836,569 as against 1,854,880 in December 2017.

SAMUEL KUTTY