Oman: New fees for obtaining work permit for non-Omani workforce

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17 February, 2021

In brief

New fees for obtaining work permit to recruit non-Omani Workforce

Oman’s Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) issued a Ministerial Decision (“MD”) No. 12/2021 published in the Official Gazette on 31 January 2021, introducing an increase in the fees related to obtaining work permit for recruiting non-Omani workforce. This is part of a series of initiatives taken by the Omani government recently with the aim of addressing nationalisation program targets by making the national labour force less expensive for employers to recruit. It is also aiming at serving the objective of optimising non-oil revenue of the country amid current economic conditions caused by COVID-19. 

The introduced new fees are ranging between OMR 140, which is for work permit of domestic workers and the like, to OMR 2,000, which is for top positions as classified by the MOL and specified professions set out in the MD or for employees with monthly salary of OMR 4,000 & above, regardless of their occupation.  

Special consideration is given to Small-&-Medium-Enterprises (“SMEs”) of which the respective fees for obtaining work permit can be as low as OMR 100 during the first two years of establishment subject to meeting certain conditions.

The new fees will be effective within 90 days from the date of issuance of the MD in the Official Gazette i.e. by 1st May 2021.

In detail

Work permit fees in the past

Prior to MD 21/2021

Fees for obtaining work permits for recruiting non-Omani workforce were increased for the last time in year 2016, via MD 340/2016. The fees at that time were ranging between OMR 140, for domestic workers and the like, to OMR 200 for farm workers and camel breeders, and OMR 300 for any other occupations. There were no significant changes to the respective fees from year 2016 till last month when the above-mentioned legislation amended via MD 21/2021 introducing a hike in the fees at more than 5 times of previous fees for certain cases, and specifying the fees based on the levels and types of profession and occupations.     

The new amended fees and provisions 

In line with the country’s nationalisation program and in order to address the increasingly demand for jobs by national job-seekers, the Omani government took a step forward and increased the fees for obtaining work permit for recruiting non-Omani workforce with the aim of making the national workforce more attractive and less expensive for the employers. This initiative is also aiming at meeting the country’s objective of optimising the non-oil revenue of the state. 

Beside the significant increase in the fees, the MD has also made those fees specific to different levels of positions and different types of profession and occupations. Below is a summary of the major amendments introduced in relation to the respective fees and other provisions :

Fees for obtaining/ renewal of work permit 

The respective new fees are various in amount based on the occupations and salary range. The highest fee is OMR 2,000 which is for obtaining  and renewing work permit for recruitment of non-Omani workforce at high-level professions and certain specified professions as set out in the MD (see Professions List) or non-Omani workforce with monthly salary of OMR 4,000 and above irrespective of occupation. The lowest fee is at OMR 140 which is for obtaining and renewing work permit for domestic workers and the like.

Temporary Work Permits

The MD has also introduced amendments to work permit fees related to certain professions and occupations of which temporary work permits can be obtained, when necessary, and which are for a period between 4 months to 9 months only. Different fees have been determined based on the profession whether it is of high profession, medium profession, or technical and specialised professions as specified by the MOL. 

Work Permits in the Case of SMEs

Furthermore, reduced fees have been specified for the SMEs within their first two years of establishment, except in the case of recruiting non-Omani workforce for the professions specified in the MD (see Professions List). Those reduced fees are available to the SMEs, as mentioned above, subject to fulfilling the below conditions :

  • The enterprise shall be owned by owners who are dedicated to managing it - other than retirees - registered with the SMEs  Development Authority, and insured by the Public Authority for Social Insurance, and that the age of the employer ranges between 22 (twenty two) and 40 (forty years)

  • The benefit shall be available to one enterprise only and not for other enterprises owned by the same owner

  • At least one Omani shall be employed if the license application is for a number of 6 (six workers) to 10 (ten workers). This condition is not required to be fulfilled in the case of the license application is for number of non-Omani workers less than 6.

The below tables illustrates the respective new fees for obtaining or renewing work permits for the non-Omani workforce, including the license/renewal fee of OMR 1 per work permit :

Sr.No Work permit to recruit & register the data of non-Omani workforce (non SMEs) Total Fee for Registration including OMR 1 fee for Issuance/Renewal  per worker
1

For occupation of high level professions as specified by the MOL and professions listed in the MD (refer to Professions List) or Monthly salary of OMR 4,000 and above irrespective of occupation

2,001
2

For occupation of medium level professions as specified by the MOL  or Monthly salary of OMR 2,500 to OMR 3,999 irrespective of occupation

1,001
3 For occupation of specialised & technical professions as specified by the MOL 601
4 For occupation of a profession of an artisan marine fisherman 361
5 For occupation of any other profession not included in item numbers 1 to 4 above 301
6 For domestic workers and the like (1 to 3 workers) 141
7 For domestic workers and the like ( 4 workers & more) 241
8 For farm workers and camel breeders ( 1 to 3 workers) 201
9 For farm workers and camel breeders (4 workers & more) 301

Other applicable fees :

  • Fee for updating changes in the data of a worker - OMR 5
  • Fee for transfering the worker from an employer to another -  OMR 5
Sr.No Work permit to recruit & register the data of non-Omani workforce (SMEs) Total Fee for Registration including OMR 1 fee for Issuance/Renewal  per worker
1

For 1 to 5 workers subject to fulfilling certain conditions (applicable only during first two years of establishment of the SME)

101
2

For workers from 6 to 10 subject to fulfilling certain conditions (applicable only during first two years of establishment of the SME)

151
3 For occupation of professions listed in the MD (refer to Professions List) subject to fulfilling certain conditions 1,001

*Note : In the case of recruitment of more than 10 non-Omani workers, the reduced fees mentioned-above will cease to apply.

The Professions List :

First: Information systems professions

Information systems security & protection specialist Geographic information systems specialist
Electronic computer networks Electronic maintenance of programmed machines
Electronic Computer maintenance Electronic Draftsman
Electronic monitoring equipment assembly agent Electronic Technician - Communications
Electronic technician - Control devices Electronic technician - Medical devices
Electronic technician - Radio transmission Electronic technician - Programmed machines
Electronic technician - Computer networks Computer programmer
Electronic computer engineer Electronic computer operator

Second: Marketing and Sales professions

Sales specialist Stockist

Commercial Agent

Commercial Manager

Purchasing and logistics specialist

Third: Administration and human resources professions

Business Administration Specialist

Public Relations Specialist

Human resources specialist

Administration Manager

Fourth: Media professions

Media specialist

Pages organiser

Paper-drying machine operator

Binding machine operator

Book decoration machine operator

Paper-polishing machine operator

Paper-dye machine operator

Invoice printing machine operator

Cylindrical printing machine operator

Rotary printer operator

Offset printing machine operator

Colour printing machine operator

Flatbed printing machine operator

Paper-folding machine operator

Paper-coating machine operator

Advertising agent

Fifth: Medical professions

Dresser

Pharmacist Assistant

Medical coordinator

 

Sixth : Airport professions

Flight guide Stockist

Tickets inspector

Aircraft Take Off Monitor

Air traffic controller

Aircraft Landing Monitor

Airport passenger transport monitor

Ground guide

Seventh: Engineering professions

Architect

Survey engineer

Civil engineer

Electronic engineer

Electrical engineer

Mechanical Engineer

Project Manager

 

Eighth: Technical occupations

Buildings technician (building supervisor)

Electronic technician

Road technician (road controller)

Mechanical technician

Laboratory technician / soil mechanics

Steam turbine technician

Lab technician / construction materials

Gas networks technician

Construction technician

Transfer stations technician

Generating stations technician

Electrician technician

Thermal coefficient technician

Maintenance technician

Chemical technician

 

The takeaway

For many years, the fees associated with work permit of recruiting non-Omani workforce was to some extent a fixed cost that does not vary based on the level of position, salary range, or type of profession to be occupied by such workforce. With  the amendments brought by the MD, it is no longer a flat fee, and therefore, employers  may have to assess the impact of such significant increase in fees on their businesses in terms of recruitment costs compared to the needs and  benefits of hiring non-Omani workforce. The major impact would be in terms of high to medium level professions, hires with monthly salary between OMR 2,500 to OMR 4,000, as well as the specified professions as set out in the MD.  

The initiative of introducing the new fees is among other developments expected to take place in respect of the labour market in Oman such as the new labour law which is expected to be issued within the first quarter of year 2021 and the change in work permit system which will be replaced by a new electronic employment system, as per a statement made by His Excellency the Under-Secretary of MOL during a press conference.

Contact us

Omar Al Sharif

Oman Country Senior Partner, PwC Middle East

Tel: +968 2455 9118

Darcy White

Partner, Oman Tax Leader, PwC Oman

Tel: +968 2455 8154

Gaurav Kapoor

Tax Director, PwC Middle East

Tel: +968 2455 8180

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