Thursday 4th February 2010

An extension of amnesty now offers an estimated 125,000 illegal expats living in Oman an opportunity to leave the country without facing further legal action.

From the first of February this year, expatriates who are currently illegally living and working in Oman will be offered a two month window during which they can leave the country without facing any questions regarding their failure to secure an appropriate expatriate visa. All foreigners who do not have current labor cards in place will be required to leave the country during this time and those that fail to do so will face legal action. Any companies who employ the services of illegal expatriate workers will also face fines and penalties.

Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdalla Al Bakri said in a statement that illegal workers have until March 1 to leave the country. However, in order to benefit from the amnesty, workers are required to register with their embassies. He commented:

“This gives them the chance to leave without facing any financial penalty resulting from their illegal status. The step has been conducted after collaboration between concerned parties, allowing for a two-month reprieve.

“It allows businesses and firms to correct the illegal status of any of their expat workers and to transfer them from one business or organization to another or even for the changing of expat worker job designations. This will best help serve the interests of the business.

Sheikh Abdalla Al Bakri also said that the Ministry of Manpower would continue to apply the labor law in a way that will best serve the labor market:

“We will show our willingness in facilitating the availability of labor force in various specializations (…) whether from local resource or from outside of the country, enabling the private sector companies to better operate and achieve their business and project objectives,” he said.

It is believed that over 17,000 Indian, 23,000 Pakistani and 26,000 Bangladeshi expatriate workers have already reported their names to their respective foreign embassies.

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