The recent announcement of a long-term residency scheme for expatriates in the Sultanate has evoked a positive response from business people in the country. Those who received the permits on the launch day, called it a move that can reinforce an entrepreneur's confidence to do business in the country and have a more extended plan of action to build, establish and grow.
They appreciated the government’s move to inject positivity into the system and at the same time called for some major steps to ensure that Oman's economy bounces back with a thumping speed.
Renaissance CEO Stephen Thomas, who is in Oman for more than three decades, found it an honour and recognition of the work done by everyone at Renaissance Services and not just him.
“I am both humbled and honoured by this, but I believe this is a recognition of the work done by everyone at Renaissance Services and not just me...the long-term residency scheme allows the holder to set up a business that employs at least ten Omanis and to invest in industrial, commercial, or residential property in Oman. The investor residency card is another tool in the government’s suite of measures to attract investment into Oman. Initiatives like this contribute to the goal of diversifying the economy as part of the Oman Vision 2040 plan,” he said.
Yusuf Nalwala, Managing Director, Al Ansari group of companies, remembers coming to Oman in February 1977. Long term residency programme, according to him, is a positive step towards reinforcing an entrepreneur's confidence in the country.
“Any business needs time to settle and flourish. Two-year visas did not give that encouragement. Although the visa got renewed every two years, yet it did raise concern. Now, this system is going to change people's perception. In fact, it clearly shows that the government cares and encourages people to trust and prosper along with the country,” he said after receiving the long-term residency permit on its inaugural day.
Commenting on the possibility of the revival of the economy, Yusuf Nalwala said, “Sustainable recovery for the economy normally comes from the GDP. Oman is witnessing increased oil prices, positive steps by the government to reinforce confidence in the investor. If both these factors continue, Oman's economy is bound to bounce back with a thumping speed.”
“The business community has suffered a lot due to Covid restrictions and lower cash flow in the market for the last two years. A positive outlook will replace this pessimistic approach. That certainly will give impetus to the economy. Most importantly, the government must continue to promote business. Make all bureaucratic procedures simplified and take bold, inclusive steps that do not differentiate from locals and expats. This common rule, common treatment will imbibe confidence and belongingness...These are the motivators and promoters of the economy,” he said.
Kiran Asher, Group Managing Director Al Ansari group, said, “The scheme coupled with other initiatives like the 100 per cent business ownership are a boon for the investing community and will help build the confidence. The long term residency scheme is a definite attraction for foreign investors, as it lends stability and longevity to businesses in Oman.”
“In the Middle East region, Oman is considered a home away from home for many. Its beauty, peace, cleanliness, tolerance towards all religions, varied education institutes, and hospitality are key reasons people want to stay in the country.
This scheme will now formally allow investors to make this their home. For long term residents like myself – this is a comforting move as Oman is my only home and this scheme allows me to comfortably make it my official home,” he said.
Sasikumar Moorkanat, Managing Director & CEO of Moon Iron & Steel Company, called it a confidence-building measure among the business community.
“Personally, it is quite an honour to be among the first recipients of the long term residency in Oman. I fully understand the depth of responsibility and the confidence the country has reposed on me. I would like to give back to the Sultanate only the best. MISCO has been able to generate jobs in hundreds with our manufacturing plant in Sohar Industrial Estate and we aim to do so much more at different levels with more projects in the pipeline.”
“Oman has immense potential to emerge as a production hub in the non-oil sector. With the abundant resources available in this country, a lot of diversification is possible, and it is great to see the government supporting investors to realise that potential,” he said.