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Omani job hunters to get priority over expatriates
November 29, 2016 | 10:01 PM
by Shruthi Nair/[email protected]
Shahswar Al Balushi, CEO of the Oman Society of Contractors and the man who led the labour market lab during the six-week government think tank, said humans will be removed from the process in an effort to allow everyone – expats and Omanis - to work together for the future of Oman. Photo - shutterstock
 
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Muscat: Bosses will have to interview and hire Omanis before getting work clearances for expatriate staff, under a new automated online system proposed by Tanfeedh. Shahswar Al Balushi, CEO of the Oman Society of Contractors and the man who led the labour market lab during the six-week government think tank, said humans will be removed from the process in an effort to allow everyone – expats and Omanis - to work together for the future of Oman. With the click of a mouse, company bosses opting to operate in the Sultanate will soon be able to find out if they meet government approved Omanisation rates. Only when they meet the criteria for staff Omanisation will the clearances for migrant workers be given. Speaking exclusively to Times TV from Oman’s new convention centre, in the middle of the project’s three-day public consultation on 121 proposals, Al Balushi said: “We are looking at automating it, so the human factor should not be there."

Also read: 'No Objection Certificates should stay in Oman but be fairer' “As a private sector company it is your job to ensure that you meet the criteria. We have agreed now that the way to achieve Omanisation has been made more lenient and given more options. We have agreed now to automate this and remove the human factor out of it. “So, if you go into the system and you need one hundred people, one hundred labor clearances, you will put it into the system. The system will be linked to a national employer system at the job centre. The job centre will look for Omanis who meet your requirements, for Omanisation or the people you’re requiring. “Let’s say you need an engineer or a quantity surveyor. Visa clearance is applicable to expats but first, do we have these people available, Omanis, to do the job or not? The Omanis are going to be given preference by saying to you as a company: here’s the list of Omanis who have these qualifications and this is what you’re looking for. “Interview them, and take what you need.”

Tanfeedh’s Labour Lab leader Shahswar Al Balushi talks to Shruthi Nair.
The radical overhaul of the labour clearance system should make it much easier to do business in the Sultanate, Al Balushi said. He added: “Omanisation rate should be X and that also has been looked at. What is the reality? Where are we today? Let’s start from where we are and build to reach the aspiration of whatever target, whether you are in construction, tourism, logistics, so let’s build it correctly, and grow correctly, and once the system is in place then you don’t need to go to the Ministry of Manpower, you do everything online. Everything online “The system will automatically tell you that you meet the requirements or you don’t meet the requirements, and if you don’t meet the requirements what do you need? You need to get numbers and even there we facilitated it. We gave options on how to achieve that. For example you take training for employment which we count as Omanisation or you take students in their last year of university, make them an offer, and register them with PASI, (Public Authority for Social Insurance) they can be counted.” Al Balushi said the system would encourage campus placements, career counseling and encourage students to know more about the workplace. He added that companies who fall short of the required rate can also pay into a training fund to gain Omanisation “credits” on the system. “We are saying ‘OK you did your best, you got 8 out of 10. There are two missing for you to meet, don’t worry about it. Buy them’. “Pay OMR325 per month into the training funds and we will count them - say you have reached the Omanisation target. They pay the money into the system,it goes into the training fund. “It’s very simple. It’s very transparent and it’s very easy.” The proposals have been welcomed by many.” An automated system can streamline the recruitment process. It will help employers to find the right candidate. Automated systems can also guarantee transparency. Hidden trade can be eliminated when the system is adopted. It will good for the candidates too. If they are fit for work they will stand a fair chance,” Mohammed Khaldi, trade unionist, said. Sunil Kumar KK, a senior official at Najmat Al Fujairah Trading Construction Company, said: “In the current system, we struggle. Let it be streamlined and automated as per Tanfeedh’s proposal. Getting the right candidate is the lifeline of any company. So, if the automated system comes into practice it can help us a lot,” the official added.





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