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Amnesty for illegal expats in Oman soon.

Muscat: Overstaying expatriates or those who have been stuck here, can heave a sigh of relief as the Sultanate is planning to offer them an amnesty soon. "An amnesty for overstaying workers will be announced soon. This will help in regulating the labour market in Oman. It will help the undocumented and stranded expatriate workers to fly back to their home country without facing any legal action," Talib Al Dhabari, head of media at the Ministry of Manpower, told the Times of Oman. "A date for announcing amnesty has not yet been finalised. We are working on it," Talib added. The amnesty offered at the end of 2009, which lasted until 2011 beginning, helped more than 60,000 overstaying workers to fly back to their home countries. A majority of the overstaying expatriate workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India had availed themselves of the 2009 amnesty offer. They went to their home countries without facing any legal action. "We have also heard about the amnesty move, but no official confirmation," an embassy official of an Asian country told the Times of Oman. In 2007 as well as in 2005, the Sultanate had announced amnesty for illegal expats in Oman. In April, authorities had enacted a new set of measures to determine undocumented migrant workers. Raids on expat homes, tighter controls on work permits and tenancy contracts, plus greater scrutiny of landlords and their tenants, were among these. During the first quarter of this year, 2,267 undocumented workers were arrested. "Offering amnesty to workers is a laudable move. I agree that some workers deliberately overstay in Oman but a majority of them get stuck after losing valid documents or because they do not have the money to renew their documentary status. Others fall in the category of having fled the sponsor due to some differences," Shameer PTK, a Muscat-based social worker who has been actively involved in earlier offers of amnesty, told the Times of Oman. "The amnesty will be like a new year gift for them," Shameer added. Reporters can be reached at reji@timesofoman.com/fahad.news@gmail.com

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Dec 29, 2014
Words:365
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