Raids on illegal workers intensify

MUSCAT, MAY 30 – As part of its efforts to combat violators of immigration and residency laws, the Ministry of Manpower has intensified searches on bachelors staying illegally in the city. In raids conducted at the end of last week by officials from the Directorate-General of Labour Welfare at the ministry, more than 70 expatriates were rounded up from a house in Athaiba area. According to sources, the workers included infiltrators, those who have been absconding from their work places or overstaying even after the expiry of their work permit and the so-called ‘free visa’ holders.
Salim bin Saeed al Badi, Director-General of Labour Welfare, said that the ministry has a specialised team of officials to deal with the presence of illegal workers in the city.
“Acting on complaints from residents that a large number of illegal workers were staying in building in Athaiba, a team from the ministry in coordination with other departments raided the places of their stay and arrested 74 persons,” he said.
While urging building owners not to rent out houses to illegal workers and unmarried bachelors in residential areas for families, al Badi said, “This will have negative impact on the society”.
He also appealed to citizens and residents to inform the department if bachelors were found to be staying illegally in their areas.
Around 524 workers have been arrested so far this year from Seeb, Bausher, Muttrah and Qurayat for various violations.
The challenges from illegal workers are many, given the fact that the Sultanate hosts millions of workers of different nationalities from around the globe.
This, according to experts, pose significant social challenges and implications, not mention the different customs and behaviours that have become widespread in society; among other dangers. In March this year, the Muscat Municipality, following a court order, served notices to bachelors to vacate their residences if they were staying in family areas. A circular issued by the municipality made it mandatory for landowners to make clear in rental contracts whether they are renting out their properties to families or bachelors.

SAMUEL KUTTY