‘We won’t cut expat work permits if companies hire Omanis’
May 15, 2018 | 9:32 PM
by Times News Service
Employers who ignore Omanisation targets risk having their expat work visas cancelled

Muscat: The issuing of work permits won’t be stopped if violating companies meet the required Omanisation targets, the Ministry of Manpower has said.

The announcement comes in the backdrop of the Ministry of Manpower’s revelation that 161 companies had been penalised for not employing a single Omani worker.

Action has been taken against establishments employing up to 40 people each and 6,959 people in all, for not hiring Omani nationals, the Ministry of Manpower revealed .

Moreover, an official at the Ministry of Manpower told the Times of Oman that the ministry will not deal with these companies as long as they violate the Omanisation target rule.

“They have to rectify the situation. Violating companies are required to speed up the process and work to achieve the required Omanisation rate, because a delay will cause termination of work permits for their employees,” the official said.

“We emphasise that the decision will not affect any worker, as long as the institution is serious about correcting its situation and is working in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law,” he explained.

The official explained that more random inspections will be conducted at companies to make sure they are complying with the Omanisation rules.

Many in the Sultanate have called upon firms to be proactive in meeting the Omanisation requirements after 161 companies got penalised over the same.

Alkesh Joshi, partner at Ernst and Young, said that companies should meet the Omanisation targets head on.

“We should encourage companies to achieve the Omanisation targets, numbers wise, and qualitatively as well. They should tap into the market and find Omanis with pertinent skills. But if they don’t find the right people, they should employ Omanis and train them, so that they will meet the requirements and create skilled labour at the same time,” he said.

Make a plan

“Companies should start strategising and have a plan for recruiting enough Omanis. Otherwise, it’ll end up being an exercise to just hire an enough number of Omanis. One should emphasise on quality as well,” Joshi added.

In mid-February, the ministry had revealed that it had taken action against 199 establishments employing 16,544 people for not hiring Omani nationals.

Labour Code

According to Article 114 of the Labour Code, any employer who does not comply with the prescribed Omanisation rates shall be punished by a fine not less than OMR250 and not more than OMR500 for each Omani worker who is required to be appointed.

The employer shall correct the percentage of Omanisation within six months from the date of discovery of the violation, and double the penalty if the violation is repeated.

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