NOC scrapping to improve labour market competitiveness

Muscat: As part of the efforts to enhance the competitiveness of the labour market and improve conditions, the Sultanate has scraped the requirement of a no-objection certificate(NOC) for the transfer of a worker from one employer to another from 2021.

A NOC from the current employers is mandatory as of now for expatriates to change jobs in Oman.

This decision is based on the economic and social principles mentioned in the Basic Law of the State, and in light of the Sultanate’s accession to the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, which the Sultanate agreed to join in April under Royal Decree 46/2020.

Canceling the NOC will preserve the rights of business owners and workers through a labor contract that regulates the relationship and obligations between them, and this decision will support the Sultanate’s efforts to combat hidden trade, a statement from Government Communications said.

The statement said that the decision offers many advantages for business owners, including the adoption of the principle of labor contracts that will regulate contract relations between employers and workers in a manner that guarantees the rights and duties of the two parties.

These contracts will provide a degree of protection to employers in terms of maintaining the confidentiality.

One of the main advantages of implementing this decision is to enhance the 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.

This decision is expected to support the Sultanate’s efforts to combat hidden trade as it will reduce the ability of some employers to benefit from conditions accompanying the presence of a no-objection certificate.

Apart from ensuring the supply of skilled workforce, it will support the sultanate’s position in front of International organizations concerned over the workers’ rights, human trafficking issues, and freedom of movement of workers.

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

With regard to 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.

The application of the NOC requirement negatively affected the various international indicators of the Sultanate, including the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum’s Ease of Doing Business, where the labor market legislation is the biggest factor negatively affecting the the Sultanate.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights provides that the states recognize this right to work that includes the right of every person to have the opportunity to earn a living by freely choosing or accepting it and taking appropriate measures to safeguard this right.

Article 7 stipulates that the state recognise that everyone has the right to just and satisfying conditions of work.





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