Ban on high-ranking jobs to expats

Muscat: In a major decision on Sunday, the government has retained several high-ranking job positions for Omani nationals. According to a ministerial decision announced by Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, foreigners are banned from being recruited to a number of managerial positions.

In addition to this, the decision also bans recruitment of expatriate workers to all administrative and clerical occupations in the Sultanate. However, article two of the decision states, “those foreign employees who are currently holding the same positions can continue till the expiry of their present contract, but shall not be renewed afterwards”.

The positions include assistant general managers, administration mangers, director or manager of Human Resources, manager for employee affairs, training managers, follow-up managers, public relations managers and assistant director or managers. “The decision shall come into effect from the day of its publication in the Official Gazette,” said a statement from the ministry.

Recruitment ban on expatriates in select professions was introduced a few years ago to regulate the Omani labour market and encourage more job opportunities for citizens. The Majlis Al Shura had called upon the minister of manpower to replace all the expatriates occupying top positions in the private sector, including the post of chief executive officers, with nationals.

The government has already set up National Center for Employment to aid the ongoing efforts to identify Omanis for positions that might have previously been filled by expats. In December last, the ministry said it was retaining some top positions in the education sector for Omani nationals.

The positions included Director/Head of Admissions and Registration Department, Director/Head of Student Affairs Department, Director/Head of Quality Assurance Department and Director/Head of Career Guidance Section. The move from the ministry is the latest addition to the freeze on expat visas, which was first issued across 87 professions at the end of January 2018, and then extended for another six months last July.

Data from the National Centre for statistics and Information (NCSI) shows that the number of working in the Sultanate has decreased in the recent past following the strict implementation of Omanisation of various jobs by the government. According to NCSI figures, the number of expatriate workers at the end of March this year stands at 1,776,325 showing a decline of 3.5 per cent against 1,782,406 during the same period last year.

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