Muscat: Embassies have asked expatriates with expired visas and other documents to make use of the opportunity offered by the Ministry of Labour to permanently leave the country, without paying any of the associated fines.
The Embassy of India in Muscat is offering to waive the fees required to process applications of those who wish to leave the country.
“The Government of India has approved the issue of Emergency Certificates free of charge for those who do not possess a valid passport,” said the embassy in a statement. “EC application fee and Indian Community Welfare Fund charges will be waived for those applicants who do not have the means to pay these fees.”
Money charged by BLS – the organisation handling the processing of forms on behalf of the embassy – will also not be taken from those who cannot afford them. For other Indian nationals, BLS will help with all formalities related to these forms for a fee of OMR 2.
Similarly, a statement from the Embassy of the Philippines said, “OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) in Oman who wish to leave permanently, particularly those with expired work permits or have been reported to have absconded from their employers (runaways) are encouraged to avail themselves of the programme.”
Expats intending to exit Oman through the programme must first register themselves on the Ministry of Labour’s website. Applications will take seven days to process, and once completed, they can then go to their respective embassies to fill in the aforementioned forms, as well as collect any travel documents required.
Indian expats requiring an emergency certificate can either approach the main BLS office in Muscat, or the Global Money Exchange offices in Salalah, Nizwa, Duqm, Sur, Sohar, Ibri, Buraimi, Shinas and Khasab.
“In order to avoid crowding at the collection centers in the nine locations mentioned above, social workers are hereby authorised to submit the applications in bulk at the collection center after getting the signatures of the individuals verified by Honorary Consular Agents of that area,” added the Embassy of India. “Emergency Certificates will be issued in three to four working days depending on the number of applications.”
The Embassy of the Philippines added that “to assist OFWs in Oman, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office will set up a desk at its premises. The desk will assist OFWs with the online registration process and attend to their other concerns with this programme.”
Once all of these procedures have been completed, on the day of their departure, expatriates leaving Oman permanently must arrive at the airport seven hours before their flight is scheduled to take off.
They need to bring with them their confirmed travel tickets, valid passports and/or travel documents, and a negative COVID-19 PCR test result valid for up to 72 hours.
Expats have been advised to buy their departure flight tickets and do their COVID-19 tests only after clearance to leave is received from the ministry. The programme allowing expatriates with expired paperwork to leave without paying any of their labour-related fines will run until 31 December, 2020.