Radical changes to expat employment in Oman

Eudore R. Chand

Mutrah Fort in Muscat, Oman

DUBAI 7 February 2021: The Oman Ministry of Labour announced that it will be introducing a raft of measures to boost employment opportunities for Oman nationals, particularly in the private sector.

This will include amendments to the Labour Law, further Omanisation of a variety of positions (i.e. reserving certain positions for Omani nationals only), a new employment application system to replace the existing sponsor tied labour clearance and employment visa process and establishing mobile labour courts to deal with employment disputes.

Gorvinder Pannu, a partner in Addleshaw Goddard’s employment practice, said: “In what is quite a bold move, particularly given the financial difficulties that a number of employers find themselves under the current Covid 19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labour announced an increase in the labour clearance fees for recruiting foreign workers, the cost of which will depend on the seniority of the position and will no longer be a flat fee, currently OMR 301 (approx. US$780).”

The most significant increases will apply to top/senior level roles, middle level roles and technical and specialised roles.

To recruit a foreign national in a senior role, the fee will be RO2,001 (approx. $5,200); recruitment of a foreign national to a mid-level role will cost OMR 1001 (approx.$2,600) whereas recruiting a foreign national in a technical/specialised role will now cost an employer OMR 601 (approx. $1,500). It is unlikely (but yet to be confirmed) that there will be any reductions in the renewal of employment visas.

No further details have yet been released on the measures announced, including when the new fees will take effect.


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