Oman’s two-year employment ban for expatriates who leave their jobs without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) should remain in place at least until the economic condition of the Sultanate improves, trade unions and government officials insist.
Rule brings stability in the labour market : Official
“The companies bring people, train them and somebody just leaves the company because he is offered better salary elsewhere. It [the rule] protects companies. This rule brings stability in the labour market,” Salem Al Saadi, the advisor to the Minister of Manpower, told the Times of Oman.
Asked if the rule could be relinquished in the future, he said, “It depends on the circumstances and the labour market situation.”
Manpower shortage due to the ban: Businessmen
However, some businessmen are of the opinion that the policy is leading to a brain drain within the existing expat workforce and making others think twice about coming to work in Oman, the daily reported.
Mark Pudwell, of recruitment services company Competence HR, said that the current NOC system may deter skilled job-seekers from considering opportunities in Oman.
“Some nations have recognised the fact that they cannot attract highly skilled people by restricting the terms of their contracts,” he said.
Currently, an expatriate worker can switch jobs in the Sultanate only if his/her employer agrees to grant the worker a no-objection letter.
Without this letter, the law prevents the expat from returning to Oman for work before two years.
Mohammad Al Farji, a member of the Oman Trade Union, said, “This hard rule is to control the private sector. We need to support it. Some people just run away from the company that brings them to Oman.”