Min­istry warns over hir­ing il­le­gal work­ers

Times of Oman - - FRONT PAGE - Times News Ser­vice

MUSCAT: Oman’s Man­power Min­istry wants ev­ery­one in the coun­try to stop hir­ing il­le­gal work­ers - in an ef­fort to curb the curse.

In a se­ries of state­ments posted on­line, the min­istry re­vealed that reg­u­lar 24/7 squads are ar­rest­ing tens of thou­sands of il­le­gal work­ers - but that ed­u­ca­tion is the key to stamp out the prob­lem.

As long as ci­ti­zens and res­i­dents are will­ing to hire un­doc­u­mented work­ers, the prac­tice will con­tinue, the min­istry an­nounced, call­ing on ev­ery­one in Oman to help bat­tle the prob­lem.

A new elec­tronic reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem has also helped - but many slip through the net.

The min­istry stated that the num­ber of work­ers who are ar­rested for vi­o­lat­ing the labour sys­tem ex­ceeds 20,000 cases every year. “It is a tir­ing and costly fig­ure to elim­i­nate the ab­scond­ing worker phe­nom­e­non,” they ad­mit­ted in an on­line state­ment.

There is a lack of knowl­edge of the de­tails of the law, a spokesman said.

“In most ab­scond­ing worker cases, we find that the ar­rested work­ers work for proxy own­er­ship of busi­ness.

“An in­sti­tu­tion that is ap­par­ently/su­per­fi­cially owned by a ci­ti­zen, yet in real­ity owned by an expatriate,” the state­ment read.

The min­istry said that it has adopted new pro­ce­dures for curb­ing this il­le­gal prac­tice.

While pre­vi­ously in ab­scond­ing worker ar­rest cases, the fines to­taled OMR 100 for the spon­sor and the worker, in ad­di­tion to the ticket cost of the ab­scond­ing worker to be de­ported from the coun­try, new penal­ties for such acts have in­creased from OMR100 to OMR 1,000 for any em­ployer who em­ploy­ees an ab­scond­ing worker, and OMR 800 for that ab­scond­ing worker in a bid to curb the ab­scond­ing worker phe­nom­e­non. “As a re­sult of the new pro­ce­dures, the num­ber of ab­scond­ing worker com­plaints has in­creased and the value of work per­mits in the black mar­ket has also in­creased to reach OMR3,000, be­sides a monthly share from the ab­scond­ing worker,” MoM ex­plained.

“Af­ter re­search and anal­y­sis of the ab­scond­ing worker com­plaints, we found that the rea­son for the rise in the num­ber of com­plaints is the eva­sion of fines and penal­ties by the spon­sor who frees an ab­scond­ing worker,” the spokesman added.

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