Muscat Weeks of confusion over the fate of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) and what expat workers need to do to switch jobs has prompted the Royal Oman Police’s Director General of Passport and Residences to step in and issue much-needed guidance.
Brigadier Hilal Al Busaidi, Director General of Passport and Residences, yesterday posted a long statement which specified that a business owner or an ‘authorised representative’ of the company must present themselves at the Directorate of Passport and Residences to confirm they have no objection to an expatriate returning to work in a different company in the Sultanate.
A number of expats as well as PROs of companies had expressed concern in recent weeks after returning from the Directorate of Passport and Residences for not being allowed to join a new company, despite having the NOCs.
Some even arranged the presence of PROs of former companies and their counterparts of the new employer at the same time, but failed to secure the clearance.
Yesterday, Brigadier Al Busaidi, stated that the decision to clear the confusion was taken after issues were reported over the processing of NOCs, and to tackle false NOC claims and to adhere to the current law that is in place.
Last month the Times of Oman reported how the enforcement of two-year expat ban rule had become stricter in Oman and that sponsors were expected to come in person to the immigration office to sign the NOC for approval by the ROP.
“The Article 11 of the Residency Law still remains as it is and it states that a work visa will not be issued to the expatriate who has previously worked in the Sultanate for two years after the date of departure,” Brigadier Al Busaidi said, in a statement on the
While all welcomed the Brigadier’s statement, some still had concerns over the impact on the new enforcement of regulations.
“It is great news as there is a great clarity from a top official of Royal Oman Police,” said Thasleem Khan, CEO and managing partner of Intelligent Parking and Elevator Company.
Faisal Al Wahibi, an HR manager of a private firm, said that it would be tougher for expats now to change jobs in Oman.
“Very few company representatives will be interested in giving much of their time for people who are already leaving their companies,” said Hussian Al Rabbhi, a PRO of a private firm.
Visas for women
With regard to issuing of work visas for women, Brigadier Al Busaidi said there is no strict criteria in place, except with regard to regulating the visa depending on the type of work.
“Some jobs are not in tune with the gender of the individual,” said Al Busaidi.
He added that the Directorate General of Passport and Residences must find a balance when implementing the expatriate workforce in the Sultanate with regard to the situation when dealing with visas. Visit visas too will be granted as normal according to the law governing the category. Women can apply normally like anyone else.
Expatriates who want to work in the Sultanate can apply for family joining visas if they fulfil the criteria, especially if the expatriate is working as a doctor, engineer or lawyer or anything fitting that range of work, as well as technical jobs, such as mechanics and electricians. However, the expatriate’s salary must not be less than OMR600.
Wives of expatriates as well as their children are eligible for family joining visas. Parents of the expatriate too can apply for the family joining visa given that one or both of them are dependent on them and cannot take care of themselves. Visit visas can be issued to other relatives as per the laws in place. Al Busaidi further said, “Everyone can refer to the Royal Oman Police’s official site to get details about the tourist visa, apply, and easily pay the fees online depending on the type (of visa) according to the law.”
Tourists may then receive the visa-on-arrival at ports, land borders, or the airport.
Al Busaidi said there are two types of tourist visas: a one-month visa which costs OMR20 and can be renewed for the same amount; and a 10-day visa costing OMR5 which can also be renewed for the same amount.
Meanwhile, companies will have to pay a sum of OMR 20 for issuing temporary work visa, according to a circular released recently by the ROP.
The circular issued by Hassan bin Mohsin Al Shariqi, General Inspector of the Police and Customs, stated that under the new law, the ROP will charge OMR 20 for issuing a temporary work visa.
This has come into effect since January 25, 2016.
From January 1 this year, the ROP began charging companies OMR20 to process new visas, or renewals, for all expatriate workers. Earlier, the service was free, with fees only charged for family members of expats.