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OMAN’S MIN­ISTRY OF Man­power has warned com­pa­nies they face los­ing work per­mits for their staff if they fail to meet Oman­i­sa­tion tar­gets, ac­cord­ing to re­ports. The sul­tanate has been crack­ing down on com­pa­nies that are not em­ploy­ing enough Oma­nis un­der a wider push to re­duce the un­em­ploy­ment rate among cit­i­zens.

Of­fi­cials said last month the coun­try could ex­tend a six-month ban on re­cruit­ing for­eign­ers en­acted in Jan­uary if tar­gets are not met.

This week the Min­istry of Man­power said it had pe­nalised 161 com­pa­nies for not em­ploy­ing a sin­gle Omani worker, ac­cord­ing to Times of Oman. The firms face los­ing the work per­mits for the 6,959 peo­ple they em­ploy un­less they hire more Oma­nis.

“They have to rectify the sit­u­a­tion. Vi­o­lat­ing com­pa­nies are re­quired to speed up the process and work to achieve the re­quired Oman­i­sa­tion rate, be­cause a de­lay will cause ter­mi­na­tion of work per­mits for their em­ploy­ees,” an of­fi­cial told the pub­li­ca­tion.

“We em­pha­sise that the de­ci­sion will not af­fect any worker, as long as the in­sti­tu­tion is se­ri­ous about cor­rect­ing its sit­u­a­tion and is work­ing in ac­cor­dance with the pro­vi­sions of the Labour Law.”

The min­istry is plan­ning to carry out more ran­dom in­spec­tions to catch vi­o­lat­ing firms. It pre­vi­ously said in Fe­bru­ary that 199 com­pa­nies em­ploy­ing 16,544 peo­ple were pe­nalised for fail­ing to meet Oman­i­sa­tion tar­gets.

Em­ploy­ers face a fine of OMR250-500 ($650-$1,300) for each Omani worker they are short of their tar­get.

If they fail to cor­rect their sta­tus in six months the penalty will be dou­bled.

Go­ing for­ward the govern­ment is seek­ing to in­tro­duce a short­list of Omani job­seek­ers that pri­vate sec­tor firms will need to con­sider be­fore hir­ing for­eign work­ers.

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