Illegal expats in Oman get grace on amnesty

MUSCAT — An estimated 125,000 illegal expatriate workers in Oman will get another opportunity to leave the country without legal action or 
fines following an extension of the amnesty announced by the government earlier.

By A Correspondent

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2010, 12:55 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:42 AM

According to Omani Manpower Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, overstaying expatriate workers will get a two-month grace period beginning February 1.

The exemption covers all foreigners whose labour cards were not renewed by December 2009. Bakri said the move was in continuation of the efforts to organise the labour market and assist employers in systematising their workforce.

Oman had amended its Labour Law last year to say that those who employed illegal workers would be held accountable along with the employees. Sponsors of illegal workers would also be fined.

With the new regulation, many companies stopped employing illegal or irregular workers, as labour checking began both in private offices and in residential areas. A large number of workers in the low-level category were left without jobs.

According to Bakri, extending the amnesty was necessary. Many employers wanted to seize the chance to organise their establishments in accordance with the Omani Labour Law.

Illegal expatriate workers are mainly from India. The Indian Envoy in Oman, Anil Wadhwa, welcomed the move. Already, more than 17,000 illegals are reported to have given their names to the embassy for repatriation.

Ministry statistics say expatriates in the private sector number 1.05 million as of January this year.

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