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The New Arab Staff

Oman to end ban on expatriates switching jobs without employees' permission

Expatriates will soon be able to switch jobs without employers' consent [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 June, 2020

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Oman's no objection certificate has been a highly controversial practice.
Oman will amend a law that gives employers the power over whether exptatriates can switch jobs, the government announced on Sunday, a boon for foreign workers in the sultanate despite a recent spike in job losses.

Expatriates who want to change companies in Oman require a no-objection certificate (NOC) from their current employer, a request often refused.

This effectively tied workers to their employers and if they wished to change jobs would be required to leave the country for two years before they could be employed by a new company.

From January, a NOC is not required for expatriates who want to change jobs, so long as they have completed two-years service with their current employer.

"The foreign employees must prove that they have completed the contract with their previous employers before joining another company, but they would not need the no-objection certificate. The new rule will be implemented from January 1, 2021," the change to the law states.

Expatriates have voiced frustrations about the rule, which effectively kept foreign workers tied to their employers indefinitely, often even if working conditions were changed.

The new law should provide more competitiveness in the job market but it comes at a time when thousands of expatriate workers are laid off.

Low oil prices and lockdowns implemented due the Covid-19 epidemic have had a devastating impact on the economy.

At least 27,000 expatriate workers lost their jobs in Oman this year, the vast majority due to the coronavirus epidemic, The National reported.

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