Muscat: Iraqi nationals living in Oman have welcomed the removal of their home country from a revised United States travel ban list, calling it a “good move.”
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Iraq was among the seven Muslim-majority countries, whose nationals were temporarily banned from travelling to the United States in an earlier order issued by President Donald Trump in January.
Trump signed a revised executive order late on Monday banning citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from travelling to the United States, but removed Iraq from the list, after his controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts.
The new order, which takes effect on March 16, keeps a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It applies only to new visa applicants, meaning some 60,000 people whose visas were revoked under the previous order, will now be permitted to enter.
There are around 7,000 Iraqis living in Oman. “Of course, it is a very good move,” said Iraqi expatriate Layth, who has been working in Oman since 2008.
Dr Haqi Mohammed Magdal, specialist, Neurology at the Burjeel Medical Centre, said Iraq’s removal from the revised travel ban list will also help the Iraqis in getting visas to other countries also.
“This move will not only smooth Iraqis’ entry to United States, but also to other countries where Iraqis want to travel,” he said.
Working as an IT engineer in Oman, another Iraqi resident said: “To be honest, (the original ban) made me upset and I thought that it won’t change. But good that they have changed as both the countries are fighting against terror.”
Another Iraqi said, “The new list reinforces the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many areas, at the forefront of which is the fight against terrorism.”