What is the change? Oman has extended its visa ban for foreign nationals working in 10 different industries, including information and technology, marketing and sales, insurance, and engineering.  

What does the change mean? Employers will not be able to hire expatriates to fill jobs in any of the affected positions until at least February of next year.

  • Implementation time frame: The ban will remain in place for the six-month period that began on July 3, 2019.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, including renewals.
  • Who is affected: Private sector employers and expatriates looking to take jobs in affected industries. Exemptions may apply in limited circumstances.
  • Business impact: The ban imposed a dramatic reduction in the number and types of jobs that will be available to expatriate workers.

Background: Oman’s Ministry of Manpower initially imposed the visa ban in January of 2018, aiming to help Omani nationals find jobs that might otherwise go to foreign workers. Officials have extended the ban numerous times since then. The affected industries and professions include:

  • Information and technology
  • Accounting and finance
  • Marketing and sales
  • Administration and human resources
  • Insurance
  • Information/media
  • Medical professions
  • Aviation professions
  • Engineering professions
  • Technical professions

A list of the 87 positions that were covered by the six-month expatriate hiring ban is available here. The Times of Oman reported on July 28 that the ban would be extended to four additional positions: expatriate carpenters, metallurgy workers, blacksmiths, and brick kiln workers.

Analysis & Comments: A number of countries in the Middle East have adopted immigration measures aimed at protecting their local workforces. The hiring restrictions in Oman represent one of the region’s most dramatic attempts to protect domestic workers. Employers are encouraged to work closely with their immigration provider to consider whether they will be able to recruit expatriate workers for specific jobs, or whether an exemption may be available in specific cases.

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