NOC, balancing act for employees and employers

Muscat: The government’s decision to scrap the NOC (no objection certificate) rule from 2021 is generally termed as employee-friendly, but it promises enough protection to the employers.

As per the details listed recently, apart from giving a grace period of six months to implement the rule, the new decision will allow employers to have mutually-beneficial clauses in a job contract.

An employer will be allowed to have a legal (non-disclosure) agreement to keep the work secrets even after the worker has moved to work with another company or a business owner.

On the possibility of the worker moving to a direct competitor, the owner can work in on a non-competition agreement ensuring that the employer does not move the worker to the direct competitor after the end of their contract period.

Speaking to the Observer, a senior executive of a leading business firm in Oman said, “Ultimately, employment is a contract between two parties. If there are clauses/terms offered and accepted between both the parties then that will hold well.”

He added that some safety clauses might be necessary if an employee in senior positions is moving to the competition. “Employment is a contract and the terms have to be mutually agreed between both the parties.”
The government stated that one of the main advantages is it will raise the level of competitiveness of the Omani worker compared to the expatriates by reducing the wage gap between them.

“The decision will also contribute to reducing cases of non-Omani workers running away from employers, especially those under pressure from employers who have the right to issue a no-objection certificate and deprive a person to work in the sultanate within two years of the end of his contract,” the statement said.

The Lieutenant-General Hassan bin Mohsen al Shariqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs, through his decision 157/2020 amended some provisions of the executive regulations of the Residence of Foreigners Law, which was published in the Official Gazette.
As per the decision, the expatriate resident visa may be transferred from one employer to another who has a license to recruit workers, provided the evidence of the expiry of contract or termination of the employment contract is presented with proof.

There should be an approval of the competent government authority on the second employer’s contract with the expatriate, as per the rules.

The transfer of the resident permit of the family members of the expatriates to the new employer will be allowed.

Article 2 states that until the necessary conditions for their residency transfer are met and the transfer procedures are made the responsibility of the first employer remains valid in everything related to the residence of the expatriate.

Business Owners had earlier raised concerns over the possibility of slowing of productivity in private sector institutions due to labour leakage of skilled and trained expatriate labour to the competitors.

It will also weaken the local companies as the foreign workers may try to establish their own companies, especially in light of the new foreign capital investment law.