Muscat: More than 19,000 expatriate workers have applied to the Ministry of Labour to leave the Sultanate in the last 11 days.
19,528 applications were filed with the authorities during the period from November 15 to 26, 2020. According to data released by the government, 966 applications were made by workers without a valid work permit while 8,517 applications were filed by those who had lost their jobs or quit work. 9,581 applications are by active workers while 463 applications are from workers who have had their permits cancelled.
Based on their way of entering into the Sultanate the applicants number as follows: 18,601 expatriates have a work visa, 136 have a family joining visa, 164 a relative joining visa, 418 had a visit visa, 34 had a tourist visa and 174 were without documents.
Starting from November 15, the Ministry of Labour started receiving applications from expats who wanted to leave the Sultanate with exemptions on all fees and fines. These exemption applies till the end of the year dated December 31, 2020.
The ministry added, "Non-Omani workers who have expired passports must visit their countries' embassies in the Sultanate to renew their travel documents, then they should visit the Ministry of Labour's office at Muscat International Airport to complete the departure procedures, taking their travel documents, travel tickets, and PCR certificate, as well as committing to the requirements of their destination country."
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 OMR2.