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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Expat free exit scheme extended till June 30

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The free exit programme, announced by the government for those expatriates residing in the country even after the expiry of their residency status, has been extended for three more months. The programme will now end on June 30, 2021.


This is the second time the date has been extended. The scheme was first announced on November 15, 2020, with validity till December 31, 2020. That was extended till March 31, 2021, and now, till June 30.


A Twitter message from the Ministry of Labour said that due to the ongoing pandemic, the closing date for illegal emigrants to register for free exit on the ministry’s website will be June 30.


This period allows all undocumented workers to leave the country without any fine or legal implications. The Ministry of Labour has urged all who have not yet registered to come forward and register online and use the scheme. All undocumented workers and overstaying visitors can register at the ministry’s website (www.mol.gov.om) or through Sanad offices.


“No application for change in labour status will be entertained after June 30,” said the ministry, noting that expatriate workers benefiting from the grace period, should leave in three months, or by June 30, 2021.


Speaking to the Observer, Munu Mahawar, Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate, said that campaigns among the Indian citizens have been on since November 2020, resulting in nearly 3,000 people registered for exit through the scheme.


“Out of those 3,000, as many as 2,000 secured approvals to travel and the rest 1,000 applications will be processed in due course. All those who have secured the out pass will be leaving before the extended grace period,” he added.


He further said that the ‘Air bubble’ agreement between Oman and India is working well, and there are 6,000 seats from Oman to India and an equal number back to Oman.


PENALITIES


After June 30, all applications and approvals for the free exit will be cancelled and any further delay in registering online will entail the penalties prescribed in the law,” said Salim Said al Badi, Director General of Labour Welfare at the Ministry of Labour.


Meanwhile, representatives from different community welfare wings have informed the Observer that nearly 70,000 expatriate workers have applied to rectify their status, and around 50,000 of them have been able to leave the Sultanate.


“Out of the registered nearly 70,000 expatriates, there are only about 4,000 Indians. I am sure there are some more who are either not aware of such a scheme or are not bothered about any facility,” said P M Jabir, Secretary at the Social Welfare section of the Indian Social Club.


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