Muscat: Expatriates coming to Oman on family and visit visas should not be allowed to look for work, a migrants’ forum has said.
“Allowing semi-skilled and low-skilled workers to migrate and look for a job on tourist and visit visas is not advisable,” Williams Gois, Regional Coordinator of the Migrant Forum in Asia, said.
“Sending and host countries allowing such practices will endanger migrants, especially those who are semi-skilled and low-skilled as they are more prone to rights violations,” Williams added.
Expatriates coming to the GCC countries, including Oman, on tourist and visit visas and later accepting job visas without informing their respective home countries is a common practice.
Until 2015, expatriates living on family visas in Oman were allowed to take up a job without first exiting the country and then returning to work.
In August 2015, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) directed that if an expatriate on a family or visit visa gets a job, he has to leave the country and return with an employment visa.
However, it is not necessary that expatriates must return to their home country and come back.
Normally, they go to a neighbouring country and return without informing their home country.
An official from Sri Lankan embassy in Oman said they don’t encourage people coming to Oman on a visit visa to look for jobs.
“It is not at all a fair practice. We have proper recruitment practices in place in our home country. If somebody skips past these and goes abroad in search of a job, then all our efforts to protect them and ensure safe migration go in vain,” the official added.
Bheem Reddy, Vice President of Migrant Rights Centre in India, said workers should not migrate on tourist and visit visas if they plan to look for jobs in a foreign country.
“When sending countries are trying to plug the loopholes to ensure safe migration, potential migrants should not adopt such tactics. By doing so, they are violating fair migration practices,” Reddy added.
“While accepting the job, the expatriate worker does not go back to his home country. From Oman, they just go to Dubai and come back on a new job visa. By doing so, they keep their home country in the dark regarding their job contract terms and other things. This will lead to more trouble in case the worker faces a violation,” Reddy added.
Rajeev KR, a manpower recruitment agent in Muscat, said he never favours such recruitment practices.
“I don’t want a worker to land in trouble by following such practices. If he finds himself stranded, officials in his sending country will be in a difficult situation to help the worker,” Rajeev added.
“Such practices will lead to unsafe migration,” he added.