|Image taken from the Times of Oman|
Well of course by now you probably all have read the news that the ROP have had a policy change in the way it's handling issuing of employment visas.
The news broke last night when the Times of Oman posted an update which confirmed that if you leave your job and leave Oman, you can't come back to work in Oman for two years - even if you have a NOC.
Immediately the first thing that comes to my mind is quite simply.... but what if I'm already here in Oman and want to change my job?
Well the last time I did that, I had to fly to Dubai and back - thus technically leaving Oman. The reason I had to do this was simple: even though I had a NOC (this was back when you didn't even need a NOC, but I had gotten one anyway) my old employer had me down as a painter, and my new employer had me down as a decorator. Not really, but similar analogies - and anyway this meant that I couldn't transfer my visa as planned as it was for a new job description.
This meant that they couldn't (wouldn't) transfer my visa, it meant I had to cancel my visa and leave Oman (and then return). Which means that given this new policy from the ROP, basically everyone here who changes jobs will be unable to now, because they'll have to do that return flight to Dubai (or somewhere else outside of Oman).
And so here comes the bit that makes me scratch my head:
If an employer has agreed to release an employee, and another employer has agreed to employ that same employee, and they've signed a NOC, and the new employer has a valid labour clearance for this person - what on earth do the ROP care about this?
I'm sure there is a perfectly good reason for this, but I honestly can't think of it at the moment.
The only thing this appears to do is get rid of expatriates who want to change their jobs here in Oman. The argument that it will reduce the number of expats in Oman is nonsensical because an employer with a valid clearance will simply employ another expat instead.
So following that thought, what does the ROP have against expats who are already living and working here? Is it a veiled threat to make people not change jobs? I can't believe so.
I hope we get a bit of clarification because this just doesn't make any sense at all!\
Well it seems that the Oman Observer today have learned a new piece of the puzzle and they posted this story.
Essentially, if the authorised representatives of both companies are present at the ROP office, confirming there is no objection to the release of the employee, the ROP will still allow the transfer and issue a new visa.
Apparently this is because there have been a number of fake NOC's in the past.
Now, I happen to know that this certainly wasn't the case earlier this month when an employer I know had arranged to have his PRO, and his new employee's old PRO visit the ROP at the same time to sign the NOC and allow the new transfer and they were rejected. This week.
So... whats next?!