Registration begins for expats to leave during grace period

Muscat: The Ministry of Manpower has opened the registration for expatriates who wish to leave the country permanently during the grace period, starting today until December 31.

“The service aims to facilitate the procedures for permanently leaving the non-Omani workforce, and exempting employers from all fees and fines resulting from the expiration of work permits.  Residents who have expired work permits or are registered as absence without Leave (Runaways) can apply to departure during this period.”

Expatriates in Oman have been urged to take benefit of the fine- waiver scheme as they are exempted from all fines and fees (starting Sunday) until December 31, the ministry said in a message to the embassies.

“Registration can be done at the embassies, the ministry’s website, and Sanad offices. Seven days after registration, the expatriate worker can visit the Ministry of Labour office at Muscat International Airport seven hours before the flight departure. They should carry a valid ticket, travel documents, and the PCR test valid for 72 hours.”

Speaking to the Observer, an official from the Ministry of Labour said that the scheme will be in force from Sunday and people can start registering at the website with more details to be provided by the concerned embassies.

If the expatriates do not have proper documentation (like a lost or expired passport) they have to get in touch with the embassies concerned.

All embassies have started sending messages to the nationals directly or through social organisations on the scheme.
“I hope that my embassy sends a clear message guiding us to complete the formalities and return home smoothly. It has been tough here without jobs,” said a Bangladesh national who is working on-call basis.

According to the Ministry of Labour: “Non-Omani workers who have expired passports must visit their countries’ embassies in the Sultanate to renew their travel documents, then they should visit the Ministry of Labour office at Muscat International Airport to complete the departure procedures, taking their travel documents, travel tickets, and PCR certificate, as well as committing to the requirements of their destination country.”

The decision to exempt the expatriates who wish to leave the country for good and their employers from any fine and fees will help regulate the labour market, said the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in a statement.

Redha bin Juma al Saleh, Chairman, OCCI, said: “The decision will contribute significantly in adopting new policies to protect the market from illegal employment and reduce the financial burden on private sector companies and establishments as they can reduce the number of workers in the light of the current economic conditions.”