What is the change? Oman is instituting a new rule that bans foreign workers from re-entering the country to work for at least two years since their exit if they have not completed their employment contracts for the full duration.

What does the change mean? Foreign workers’ ability to change jobs in Oman will be curtailed.

  • Implementation timeframe:July 1.
  • Visas/permits affected:Work permits.
  • Who is affected:Foreign nationals working in Oman or wishing to work in Oman.
  • Impact on processing times:None, but it will limit the number of expatriates able to apply for work permits.
  • Business impact:The rule will discourage foreign workers from changing jobs and will prevent companies from “poaching” foreign employees from rival companies.

Background: In 2012, the Ministry of Manpower announced that it wanted to reduce the proportion of expatriates in the work force from 40 percent to 33 percent. The re-entry ban will prevent foreign workers from signing a contract with a new employer if they have not completed a contract with the previous employer. They will have to wait two years to return to Oman. After earlier confusion that the ban applies to all workers, the Ministry of Manpower stated that it only applies to workers who had not completed employment contracts with their previous employer. In addition, workers who have not completed their previous contract and are called to rejoin that employer are exempt from the two-year ban.

BAL Analysis: The new rule is expected to stabilize employment for businesses because foreign workers will be less able to jump from job to job.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Oman. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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