Volunteer group steps in to help residents return to Oman

Muscat: A group of volunteers in the Sultanate is helping returning expatriates and their families to overcome the challenges.

While over 100 expatriates, including their families, have returned to Oman after being stranded abroad during months of lockdowns, there are a few who are not able to go through the formalities.

With life getting back to normal in Oman, resuming job is important for expatriates. Some of their visas have expired.

Currently, approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affair after submitting a formal application citing reasons for the urgent return to Oman.

Even after getting permits, some of the residents face difficulties due to ticket fares and unscheduled flight operations.

 This support group not only works to ensure approval but also is in touch with the airlines (including national airlines of Oman and India) to help expatriates return home. Over 100 people have returned with the help of this support group.

 As people can be vulnerable to be cheated, our advice is, “We will help with whatever is possible, but just that people need to be patient and not get cheated in any case,” said Rashmi Sahay who herself was stranded in India for a couple of months during lockdown with children and husband in the Sultanate.

Rashmi is supported by Venisha Anil Sampat, Sankara Narayanan M N, Fahimur Rahman, Priyanka Singh, Rajesh Kumar Shrivatsava, Shohaib Khan,  T T  Balakrishnan, Tahir Hussain, Rinki Kanabar, Lalit Mulani, Moirangthem James, Ravi Jayanthi, Kaushik Duttagupta and Rajesh Nelson.

“Apart from people who have returned, we helped over 250 people by way of guiding them to get the approvals and process including the precautions to be taken while traveling,” Rashmi said. The group can be contacted through WhatsApp group https://chat.whatsapp.com/FyJiKuGqfeA7IfRlmnV8AI

When expatriates return to the Sultanate they must follow safety measures responsibly to curb the spread of COVID-19.

 According to the World Health Organisation and the message of Oman’s Ministry of Health for the travellers, “It is the responsibility of all the travelers to self-monitor for the potential onset of symptoms on arrival for 14 days, report symptoms and travel history to local health facilities, and follow national protocols.”

 Contacts of confirmed cases should be also quarantined or asked to self-quarantine as part of national response strategies.