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Oman resumes issuing new work visas; tourist visas still suspended

Oman Sunday 29/November/2020 22:10 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman resumes issuing new work visas; tourist visas still suspended
The facility is available to those who had previously been given permission by the Ministry of Labour to apply for foreign worker visas.

Muscat: Companies and individuals with Ministry of Labour clearances can now apply for expat visas online. They can now submit requests for employment and housemaid visas online, a senior Royal Oman Police official has said.

The facility is available to those who had previously been given permission by the Ministry of Labour to apply for foreign worker visas, but were unable to do so because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The doors to issue work visas in Oman have now been opened,” he said. “Non-Omani workers and housemaid visas can be applied for electronically. Applications can be submitted either through the Royal Oman Police website, or through Sanad offices. At the moment, however, applications for tourism visas are still suspended.”

Humaid Al Maharbi, who runs a Sanad office in the wilayat of Amerat in Muscat, said, “Yes, it is now possible to electronically apply for new work visas as well as housemaid visas, through Sanad offices, or directly, through the website of the Royal Oman Police.

Many citizens and residents came to my office to verify this, and had quite a few enquiries, which included the process of applying for an employment visa through the Sanad centre. They also wanted to know the requirements for such an application.”

Manal Al Saqri, another Sanad office owner, said she had received more than 20 requests for expat work visas after the facility was made available.

She said, “I have received many calls from families who want to apply for housemaid visas through my office, and many more people called me to enquire about the availability of this service. I have registered applications on the ROP website to procure visas for housemaids.”

“This is a very important decision for many people, especially in those families where both the mother and father are working, which means a housemaid is required to take care of the child,” added Al Saqri.

“I myself had to send my daughter to Nizwa, because there was too much work in my office, it required continuous follow-up, and I was unable to take care of her properly.”

An official at the Ministry of Labour told the Times of Oman that plans were being drawn up for fresh permits to be issued to those who wanted to apply for expat worker visas. “Only those who have previously obtained permits from us to obtain visas for non-Omani workers and housemaids can currently do so.”

“These permits have a validity of 15 months, so some of those who applied for them received clearance to apply for visas before the coronavirus pandemic began, and before the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19 decided to temporarily suspend issuing visas for new expatriate workers. At present, the ministry is working on providing permission to apply for work visas to those who approach us now. But as it stands, only those who have previously received permission from us can apply through Sanad offices or the Royal Oman Police website,” the official explained.