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2-year ban for expats returns
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main point is that if somebody comes to Oman and finds that all is not as promised, e.g. no pay for 5 months, and they leave before the contract is finished then the new rule states that they cannot come back for two years. By then many have invested substantially in coming here. Please don't keep saying this is not true as you may cause somebody serious inconvenience.

The moral of the story for newbies is CHECK your contract, ask to speak to existing teachers, read the Omani press, do your homework before coming.

A friend has just alerted me to this article posted yesterday in the Oman Daily Observer. Naturally omanoman will dismiss it as being of less validity than his own view as it's only the Minister's words being reported:

http://main.omanobserver.om/?p=95078
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MG, seems you didn't read the whole article through, since the end of it has some rather pertinent information......

“However, the only exception is that the employee is leaving the company/sponsorship out of a mutual understanding with his sponsor and that his sponsor has no issue in him joining another company”, Bakri clarified, adding, “Moving from one company to another is allowed only when there is an express consent of the present employer for the employee to join another organisation.”
With an NOC (No Objection Certificate), the sponsor says that he has no issues in his employee joining another organisation whereas a ‘release’ is a case in which the sponsor facilitates his employee’s transfer to another company by signing necessary papers and so on.
The earlier is a general letter issued by the sponsor whereas the latter is a document aimed at a specified local individual/company who is the potential sponsor.
A new company can recruit an expatriate employee who is holding an NOC and through the documentation, they can ask for a release from the ex-sponsor to facilitate his joining their company.


I don't see any mention of employers being punished for allowing people to move, ie. having a visa slot blocked for doing so. Employers can still not give the release letter but if someone has completed their contract and the employer still decides to not allow them to move , then I bet that would be something the Manpower mediation can help with.

So, the rule is clearly to stop people from jumping from job to job, as was assumed from the beginning.
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nicole2010



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: OmanOman

-->"I don't see any mention of employers being punished for allowing people to move, ie. having a visa slot blocked for doing so."<--

Other articles have explicitly mentioned the previous company would lose their visa 'spot'. Here just because it's not mentioned doesn't mean that it isn't so. This article from the Observer is not well written and ambiguous at times. The rule is still unclear, but it seems that by giving a NOC to the ex employee the company will forfeit the visa 'spot'; therefore, it's highly unlikely any company would give up their visa spot to accommodate an ex employee. However, the article is very clear that job title or length of service is of no consequence or exception when it comes to the two year ban.

Another scenario is the expat finishes his/her contract (the exception to the rule OmanOman quotes) and wants to change jobs. The employer decides not to issue a NOC as that's within their rights. Normally, the ex employee can make a visa run which entails cancelling the old visa and then reentering Oman under a tourist visa (if from a Tier 1 country as defined by ROP) while the new employer obtains the new visa for the employee.

However, some employers may fail to cancel the visa when the employee leaves either purposely or due to incompetence. For example, the employee goes to the airport with plane ticket in hand, but the PRO officer from the company doesn't show up. It's kind of hard to go to mediation if you've already left the country as the ex employee did not know his/her visa would not be cancelled. And, if you visa isn't cancelled a new visa cannot be issued so leaving the country is fruitless in facilitating changing employers.

I am not sure how or if the rules fit in with the Free Trade Agreement the USA and Oman put into effect a few years ago because there is a labour section in that agreement which Oman would theoretically be bound to. The conjecture on the information on the enforcement of the two year ban is not circumspect enough. No one seems to know how this ban will play out, but, overall, I think it is negative giving the Omani sponsor more of the upper hand in an already exploitive environment. [/color][/color]

"Any expatriate employee working for a local sponsor suddenly decides to leave and go back home, can do so according to the [b]human rights[/b] <----[b] " [color=darkblue] I think this sums it up, in order to have human rights you must leave the country because if you stay you must be tied to your (master) sponsor at their whim until you contract ends with no recourse.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nicole2010 wrote:

Another scenario is the expat finishes his/her contract (the exception to the rule OmanOman quotes) and wants to change jobs. The employer decides not to issue a NOC as that's within their rights. Normally, the ex employee can make a visa run which entails cancelling the old visa and then reentering Oman under a tourist visa (if from a Tier 1 country as defined by ROP) while the new employer obtains the new visa for the employee.


I'm afraid this option disappeared over a year ago. A tourist visa can no longer be used to enter and wait for a work visa. The new(ish) procedure for all applicants, new or returning to a different employer, is that the old visa must be cancelled at departure, a scan of the cancelled visa must be sent to the prospective new employer and the new employer must then apply for the work visa and send a scan to the potential employee which will be converted into the real visa stamp on arrival. Obviously this means that the immigration authorities will be alerted to the previous employment and the date of cessation and can refuse under the new 2 year law.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

omanoman wrote:
MG, seems you didn't read the whole article through, since the end of it has some rather pertinent information......

“However, the only exception is that the employee is leaving the company/sponsorship out of a mutual understanding with his sponsor and that his sponsor has no issue in him joining another company”, Bakri clarified, adding, “Moving from one company to another is allowed only when there is an express consent of the present employer for the employee to join another organisation.”
With an NOC (No Objection Certificate), the sponsor says that he has no issues in his employee joining another organisation whereas a ‘release’ is a case in which the sponsor facilitates his employee’s transfer to another company by signing necessary papers and so on.
The earlier is a general letter issued by the sponsor whereas the latter is a document aimed at a specified local individual/company who is the potential sponsor.
A new company can recruit an expatriate employee who is holding an NOC and through the documentation, they can ask for a release from the ex-sponsor to facilitate his joining their company.


I don't see any mention of employers being punished for allowing people to move, ie. having a visa slot blocked for doing so. Employers can still not give the release letter but if someone has completed their contract and the employer still decides to not allow them to move , then I bet that would be something the Manpower mediation can help with.

So, the rule is clearly to stop people from jumping from job to job, as was assumed from the beginning.


You really are determined to lead people down the wrong path aren't you? Come on, who do you really work for?
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, the article doesn't mention that specifically but it is quoting from the Minister and is the most explicit information from an authority that we have seen so far, rather than " a reliable ROP source" or some such.

I think the end part that I quoted is quite detailed from the Minister and would have mentioned that point about visas being blocked, which is an important one. In this case, the omission of that point is a very good indication.

We have to spend a fair amount of time speculating about decisions here in Oman but most often, some justification can be seen for the rules they make. In this case, they clearly want to stop the job hopping which puts a strain on the system and employers.
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just posted a response before seeing your new one MG...

what are you on about? This might be the third time you've made a reference that I am getting paid to post here. Who exactly am I supposed to be working for and to what end?

That part of the article is probably the most relevant to this discussion and supports my earlier assumption, as much we can see so far. Sorry, that it might just prove me right - is that why you're upset?
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Job-hopping is part of it but I suspect that Omanisation is also involved. Don't see how the article supports anything you've said. You've consistently implied it will not happen and if it does it will not affect professionals. It's clear it has happened and will affect everybody and as Nicole states omitting to mention something doesn't mean it's not there.

Let's imagine for one minute the scenario; Potential teacher wants to come and wants to hear/read reassuring information. He/she sees reads your posts and decides to come. They don't need to bring much money because you've dismissed the idea that they may not be paid for many months. They reckon that if they don't like the job they can try to find another one here because of your claims. They arrive, it all goes wrong, the College they are in isn't really a University as they've been told, their accommodation is disgusting, the salary doesn't arrive...But hey, it's all ok because omanoman said so. Oh, no, it's not ok.....

Will you feel bad?
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

omanoman wrote:
what are you on about? This might be the third time you've made a reference that I am getting paid to post here. Who exactly am I supposed to be working for and to what end?


If it sounds and reads like a recruiters defender then......
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, thanks for considering that my posts hold so much more weight than anyone else, really, you're too kind.

please read my posts again - the ones that sharply respond to your inflammatory remarks about Omanis are not relevant to this discussion. look at what I have said about these employment issues

- not getting paid? go to the labor office, if it is indeed a pervasive and common problem affecting many teachers, then a group together can easily afford legal representation.

Look at your contract, the labor law - for heaven's sake man, I posted a link to the labor law, have you forgotten that?

the new visa regulations? read my posts again, when did I say it would not happen? And I speculated that it may not apply to teachers who FINISH their contracts. I am not disagreeing with anything, only speculating like we all have to. I stand by the assumption, based on what we have seen so far and specifically that last article, that employers won't be punished by having a "madoniya" or visa allotment taken from them. That is a HUGE penalty and the minister chose to neglect it in his otherwise quite thorough interview?

So, now we're having a silly cat fight on this forum because you can't read very well or simply won't because of this growing obsession with my covert recruiting agenda. I wish I was getting paid.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

omanoman wrote:


the new visa regulations? read my posts again, when did I say it would not happen? And I speculated that it may not apply to teachers who FINISH their contracts. I am not disagreeing with anything, only speculating like we all have to. I stand by the assumption, based on what we have seen so far and specifically that last article, that employers won't be punished by having a "madoniya" or visa allotment taken from them. That is a HUGE penalty and the minister chose to neglect it in his otherwise quite thorough interview?.


It wasn't one of the questions he was asked maybe? I make my judgements based on what has been in the press and at the moment it's clear that employers who issue a NOC will lose the visa for that person.
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But it's not clear, as if anything is when policy announcements are changed only days later.

In the flurry of articles and announcements in early-mid May about this, I could find just the one that had the ROP stating that the employer would lose their replacement visa spot if they issue an NOC. After that, silence and only additional "clarifications" from Manpower, Majlis Al Shura and the Chamber of Commerce, none of which repeat that very important point - I find that omission to be significant.

Since, there were several articles clarifying that, indeed, an NOC will be allowed after the 2 year period, then we have a pretty good idea of where we stand. The new rules are clearly focused on stopping any movement between jobs before the 2 years have been completed. Even an NOC will not help if the worker leaves before 2 years.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 797
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="omanoman Even an NOC will not help if the worker leaves before 2 years.[/quote]

Exactly my point and exactly why people need to be very clear about what they are entering into with all of the potential pitfalls.
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, the way I see it (and the way it has been reported) is this:

If you just up and leave, do the "runner" as they say, then you're out for 2 years

If you leave on good terms but don't get an NOC..... 2 years

If you want to change jobs before the 2 year visa is up, good terms or not......nope, the NOC won't help

If you finish your two years, get an NOC, you can be transferred to another company or get stamped out at the airport and fly back in for your new sponsor.

So, the rules work very well in stopping people hopping from job to job or being poached by rivals - as was stated in the beginning from industry sources. And it could help in some Omanization activities for certain areas. After the huge backlash /reaction, the NOC rules were announced as being re-activated.

The NOC itself has some merit as a procedure but of course it can be withheld by a spiteful or malicious employer - I think the issue of official sanctions for offering one is dead. That is why they clarified that an NOC is not valid for someone who has not completed 2 years - it is the deterrent they need. Otherwise, as Nicole suggested, Oman is subject to articles in the WTO and can't be too restrictive on freedom of labor movement.
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omanoman



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, that's why I'm here too, MG, just trying to help.

for free too, I might add.
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