Expats expected to spend more as salary cap for family status cut in Oman
October 3, 2017 | 8:56 PM
by Times News Service
Apart from boosting the retail, real estate, the move is likely to reduce the number of violations and abuses.

Muscat: Expatriates are expected to spend more of their income within the Sultanate, thanks to a new ruling by the government that has reduced the minimum salary required for acquiring family status.

Read here: Expats with salary OMR300 can bring families to Oman

An expatriate employee now needs only OMR300 to bring his family members to Oman, according to the new amendment, an official source at the Royal Oman Police (ROP) confirmed on Tuesday. Earlier, the minimum salary for a family joining visa was OMR600.

“This decision came following a recommendation from Tanfeedh, which shows that the Shura Council will take the suggestions submitted to them seriously, and recommend the implementation of the ones, which benefit the Sultanate,” Ahmed Saif Al Barwani, member of Shura Council and vice chairman of the Youth and Human Resources Committee, said.

“This decision like any other decision has its positive and negative aspects, but I believe that its positive reflection on the Sultanate is more than the negative ones.”

“There are approximately $4.3 billion transferred abroad annually by only expatriates and not companies; therefore, this decision comes to ensure that at least some of these amounts remain in the Sultanate and are not transferred abroad, since they would already have their families in Oman.”

“This decision also has a positive effect on the behaviour of the expatriate, because in my opinion the fact that expatriates have their family near them could help reduce the number of violations and abuses that may be carried out by them.”

“There might be other negative effects regarding this decision related to the increase of the number of expatriates in the Sultanate and thus increasing other problems related to them, but as I’ve already said the positive aspects are more.”

Fabio Scacciavilani, chief economist at the Oman Investment Fund, said: “In a way it a good ruling as remittances will stay in the country and they will get to be with their families, but the officials must ensure that people who bring their families can actually afford it.

“One way of doing it may be to look at the location in Oman as cost of living differs a lot between Muscat and other cities. Secondly, the number of dependents is also important as you can’t support a lot of people with only OMR300.”

Welcoming this step, A H Raja, vice chairman of the Pakistan Social Club, said this will help some expats bring their family members for some time.

“I personally think, OMR300 is very little money to stay with your family for months. But this rule will help expats to bring their family for some time,” he said.

He also suggested the government should think of reducing the rents and providing lower income groups with some affordable housing so that expats can bring their family and stay in Oman.

According to Imtiaz Sikder, a financial advisor at a reputed firm, the ruling is likely to boost the economy. “The retail and real-estate sectors will surely get a big boost. Also, the health sector will get a major boost with this as thousands of expats with families in India will bring them to Oman. I am sure it will have a good overall effect on the economy of the Sultanate. It is a very good decision by the government.”

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news