Muscat: Labour law violations in Oman are on course to drastically fall this year in the wake of a series of raids and strong enforcement by Royal Oman Police and the Ministry of Manpower.
A dawn raid in Muscat yesterday saw almost 400 illegal workers arrested, prompting a warning from embassies and social workers for expatriates here to adhere to the laws of the land.
More than 10,000 workers have been arrested for violating labour laws and foreigner residency rules in Oman so far in 2017, but in 2016 at least 18,000 violators were arrested. In 2015, more than 19,000 people were detained, according to the Manpower Ministry figures.
The Sultanate is on course to see a drastic reduction in the numbers arrested this year, thanks to a “continuous” campaign by ROP and the ministry to weed out those living in Oman illegally.
Raids yesterday morning in Ruwi, Muscat, by Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Manpower Ministry saw the arrests of 396 people for violating labour laws and foreigner residency rules.
Statistics released by the ministry so far in 2017 show that around 10,300 were arrested between January and October 2017.
The statistics also showed that the highest number of arrests were made between July 30 and August 5, 2017, when 644 workers were arrested. In total,18,854 expatriate workers were caught during raids in 2016 for working in Oman illegally, according to ministry data.
Brigadier Abdullah Mohammed Al Sayari, the police chief of Muscat Governorate, said the campaign resulted in the detention of 365 violators of the labour law of Asian nationalities in addition to a woman and 31 infiltrators.
An official of the Ministry of Manpower said: “The ministry in cooperation with the Royal Oman Police has arrested 396 labour law violators, in Muscat on Sunday morning.”
An official of the ROP said: “This operation was carried out in just one day, and such operations are conducted continuously by the joint team between the Ministry of Manpower and the competent authorities at the Royal Oman Police in order to exclude violators of labour law and the law of residence.”
Ali Javed, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Oman, appealed for all expats to adhere to the laws of the land. “Oman is a brotherly country with immense potential. We cherish the presence of the fifth largest Pakistan expat community worldwide and encourage our citizens to adhere to Pakistani and Omani laws governing employment opportunities.”
An Indian embassy spokesman said: “The Government of India and the Indian Embassy have taken steps to ensure the process of immigration of Indians seeking to find employment abroad is undertaken in a transparent manner. It has introduced E-Migrate system for this purpose and the system has been working well. However, the possibility of someone seeking a job while visiting Oman on other visas can’t be ruled out. The Embassy has been working with the Ministry of Manpower and ROP to deal with such issues.”
An official of the Bangladesh Embassy in Muscat said: “We advise everybody to follow the labour law in Oman. In our public gatherings also we distribute pamphlets and leaflets to strictly follow the labour laws.”
He added that expats violating the labour law will be deported. “The authorities concerned will call the embassy officials once they finish all the procedures,” he said.
T. Bhaskaran, Convener, Indian Social Club Malayalam Wing, said: “We should not follow the illegal path to get into the country. If you are coming for a job, you should have a proper visa, and not come in on a tourist visa. If you have the proper visa, then you can get it cleared and get all the permits from the labour and manpower ministries, and get the legal formalities completed
“Coming here and doing this on a tourist visa will spoil the reputation of the country you are coming from, because Indians have a good reputation in Oman with our Omani friends, so if someone does that, they are not just ruining himself, but the reputation of the whole country.”