Oman has enacted a six month ban on the hiring of expatriate workers in 10 different sectors, through a decree issued by its Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Bakri.
The temporary regulation suspends the issuance of work licenses for expatriates in sectors including information systems, sales, marketing, administration, human resources, insurance, media, airports, engineering and technical professions. Licenses issued prior to the new decree will remain valid until the expiration of their respective terms.
The move is the latest in the ongoing push to create more job opportunities for Omanis, as the small, oil-dependent nation looks to curb unemployment.
Commenting on the decree in the Times of Oman, Fabio Scacciavillani, Chief Economist at Oman Investment Fund said: “It is a way to make companies put in more effort to look for Omani professionals as sometimes companies don’t do enough to look for Omanis. This may be due to a bias they have for hiring expat workers.”
Last October, Oman’s Council of Ministers announced it planned to provide jobs for 25,000 Omanis in both the public and private sectors, starting from December 2017. In a statement regarding the decision, the Council of Ministers said they were urging the private sector to accord “Omanisation" maximum priority. “There are actions to be taken against the establishments that do not cooperate with the efforts of the government to support employment and Omanisation policies,” read the statement.
Last week, Oman’s government issued an update, saying it planned to deliver those 25,000 jobs to Omanis in the next six months. According to Reuters, the announcement followed a demonstration staged by unemployed workers at the Ministry of Manpower in Muscat.
According to the most recent World Bank data, 41.1% of Oman’s population were foreign born in 2015.