Curbs on granting visas in Oman to workers from Bangladesh

Energy Tuesday 27/September/2016 21:50 PM
By: Times News Service
Curbs on granting visas in Oman to workers from Bangladesh

Muscat: Restrictions aimed at reducing the number of Bangladeshi workers coming to Oman have been implemented, a senior police official said.
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“There is a move to decrease the number of Bangladeshi workforce in the Sultanate. It’s not for all professions. The focus is only on (reducing) the unskilled workforce. Sanad offices have been directed by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) to follow these instructions,” the senior official said.
The official added that the police have adopted such measures, given the increase in the number of certain nationalities coming to Oman.
Recently, the Times of Oman had reported that there are hundreds of ‘free visa’ workers in Hamriya and other locations in Muscat looking for temporary jobs.
According to the latest Oman government data released last month, until July, there were 659,366 Bangladeshis working in Oman, reflecting a 1.2 per cent increase from 651,820 in June.
The June numbers were 1.9 per cent higher than the May numbers. In May, the numbers were 639,899. In December 2015, the number was only 590,170. A senior official from the Bangladesh embassy in Oman said they have not been officially told about the restrictions.
“We have not received official communication and also the increase in the number of Bangladeshi workers is contradictory when officials say there is a control that has been put in place for issuing visas for Bangladeshi workers,” the official stated.
The embassy official also added that they have not come across a significant number of cases claiming that they were denied visas for Bangladeshi workers.
An official from a manpower supply agency confirmed they are facing hassles in bringing in Bangladeshi workers.
“We can say that the ratio is 10:1. If we have 10 visa clearances, then we can get one visa for a Bangladeshi worker,” Sateesh Kumar, manager of the Durar Al Aliya manpower supply agency, said.
An official from a Sanad office in Ruwi also confirmed there is a restriction in place. “There is a restriction. It is not as easy as in the past to get a visa for an unskilled or semi-skilled worker from Bangladesh,” the official, who didn’t want to be named, said.
A construction company official said due to restrictions imposed on granting visas, they have been forced to hire ‘free visa’ workers, which is a violation of the rules.
“Sometimes, to meet the project completion deadline, we are forced to hire ‘free visa’ workers. The government should issue visas for genuine contractors,” Sunil Kumar, a construction company official in Muscat, said.
Talib Al Dhabbari, an official at the Ministry of Manpower, said the issue of job clearances depends on the company’s records and its projects.
“However, with visas issued by the ROP and other offices, they can impose restrictions,” the Ministry of Manpower official added.
Government data revealed that there is a significant increase in the number of unskilled workers coming to Oman. June-July data revealed there was a 2 per cent increase in the number of illiterate workers coming to Oman and a dip in the number of skilled workers, who are holding higher degrees.

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