In what can be defined as a major blow to the expatriate workers living and earning in Oman, the Gulf country has ordered the state-owned companies to fire all the foreign nationals working there. And as per the policy of Omanisation, the Omani nationals will have to be appointed at their places.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs has clarified that the Omani government has assured to take care of Indian people. Also, the policy does not specifically target Indians. The MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “The policy is decades-old and is not India specific. The Omani government has assured to take care of Indians in the country. The policy does not target Indians.”
Implementation of Omanisation policy
The process is the implementation of a policy known as Omanisation that was launched during the former Sultan’s rule. Omanisation is a policy enacted by the government of Oman in 1998 which aims at replacing expatriate workers with trained Omani personnel. The Sultanate of Oman sets quotas for various industries to reach targets in terms of the percentage of Omani to foreign workers.
After reaching the government-mandated goals the companies are provided with a ‘Green Card’, that means they get press attention and preferential treatment in their dealings with the government.
Around 8 Lakh Indians are stranded over there in Oman
As per estimates around 4.4 lakh of Indian workers are stranded in Oman while some other estimates say that there is a maximum of 8 lakh of Indians in Oman. The order of the firing the foreigners was issued on Wednesday as a part of the financial guidelines. The order applies to the State-run companies but there is a fear among employees that the private sector can also follow the guideline.
Mohammad Ibrar who is a Hyderabad native and Salalah-based transport supervisor said, “As of now, I am not affected by it but it would get chaotic if one day my company asks me to pack my bags and leave suddenly. The order has caused a lot of panics. Some people I know will be affected by it.”
The gulf country is already scuffling with low prices of crude oil and economic slowdown caused due to a novel coronavirus epidemic. Oman is a small energy producer and its debt has been rated as junk by major rating agencies.