In a bit of a surprise move over the weekend, in today's papers the ROP have announced a shift in policy for employment visa's here in Oman. As of July 1st, 2014 expatriate workers here in the Sultanate will not be able to change employers without a 2 year absence between jobs.
This is a return to a previous policy that was in effect here in Oman a number of years ago. What isn't made clear is that with this old law/policy there was a No Objection Certificate that an employer could sign and allow the speedy transfer of a worker from one job to another. That hasn't been made clear here.
As an expatriate worker here in the Sultanate, I don't like this because it limits my options for employment, and thus life, here in Oman. Fortunately for me, I have a great job and a great employer - and long may that last. But for many, this policy shift is not going to be a good thing. As an employer here (I'm not), suddenly I have an extra-firm grip on the ball's of all my employees. What are they gonna do if I don't give them a pay rise? They're just going to suck it up, or leave the country - they certainly can't join my local competitors.
I'm all for Omanisation, there is a huge domestic population growth here and something must be done to address this issue. However I feel that Omanisation needs to be paired with much better education standards and an adjustment in the mindset of at least some Omani workers here. I can't really understand why many unskilled labour jobs here are not 100% Omanized - eg road sweepers/gardeners/garbage collectors/gas pump attendants/car washers. Surely these should all be Omanized, no?
Let's say you are an international business, looking to open in Oman, and you want to make sure you have locally experienced staff in key positions in that business - this rule stops that from happening if the key staff are not Omani, or the staff you put in place will be at the very least 2 years outside of Oman, and thus not up to pace with the current market conditions.
What do you think of this new ruling? I'm sure it's going to help increase the opportunities for Omani's to get jobs - but at what cost in the long term of the economy of Oman?