Muscat: Employers in Oman must obtain the required documents before recruiting an expatriate worker in the private sector or will be charged with hefty fines and penalties if they fail to comply with the applicable regulations.
Moreover, expatriate employees will also be subject to punishment if they don’t fulfil the legal procedure before taking up employment in Oman, and if they are caught working for another employer besides the authorised one, said top lawyers.
In a series of articles about Oman’s rules and regulations, entitled “Know Oman”, experts guide readers on their rights and responsibilities while working and living in Oman.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, representatives of Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm, a leading legal office in Oman, explained the penalties for non-compliance with the law in the Sultanate.
“This matter is regulated mainly by Article 114 of the Omani Labour Act, which details sanctions for different unlawful situations,” said Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Zadjali, Chairman of Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm.
“First, this article defines the punishment for employer(s) who are employing unlicensed expat workers – meaning not fulfilling requirements of Article 18 and not obtaining the labour card. Such employer(s) will be punished by paying a fine of not less than OMR1,000 and not more than OMR2,000 for each worker. In addition, the employer will also bear the expenses related to the repatriation of the workers and will be prevented from bringing expat workers for a period not exceeding two years,” Al Zadjali explained.
He added that in case an expat worker, for whom the penalty was set, entered the country illegally or left work at his/her authorised employer to work for a new one, the penalty would be doubled.
Another spokesperson of the law firm defined the second part of the article that treats situations where employer(s) intentionally let expat workers, authorised to work for them, work for another employer(s).
“In such a case, these employers will be punished by being imprisoned for a period of not more than one month and paying a fine of not less than OMR1,000 for each worker, or will be subject to one of these two penalties. The penalty will be multiplied depending on the number of workers concerned and the employer(s) will be prevented from bringing expats for a period not exceeding two years,” the spokesperson said.
However, in case of recurrence, the courts have the power to set up a more severe penalty for the employer(s), he added.
Adding to this, Article 113 bis of the same law sets further punishments to those who commit, help or support the employment of expats with another employer rather than the authorised one.
“These perpetrators will be imprisoned for a period of one month and pay a fine between OMR1,000 and OMR2,000, or will be subject to one of the two penalties,” the expert said before adding that “a non-Omani perpetrator will also be expelled from the country on the employer’s expense and banned from entering the Sultanate for good”.
The expert added that Article 114 clearly states the punishment expat employees will face if they failed to abide by the rules and regulations and entered the country without appropriate permissions from the authorities, or worked for another employer rather than the authorised one.
“Such employees will be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one month and pay a fine between OMR400 and OMR800, or will be subject to one of the penalties. Their work permit (if any) will be cancelled and they will be repatriated to their home countries on the expense of their employer(s) and will be banned from entering the Sultanate for good,” the expert said.
Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm ([email protected]) was established 11 years ago and is serving clients through its offices in Muscat and Sohar, as well as operating on a request basis in other areas, such as Duqm.
It offers legal representation across a wide range of practice areas that include labour law, corporate, commercial, contracts, banking and finance, international trade, foreign investment, insurance, maritime law, construction and engineering contracts, international arbitration, intellectual property and more.