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Illegal workers at Muscat airport to be deported.

Muscat: Most of the workers arrested at the construction project at Muscat International Airport will be deported soon, a Ministry of Manpower official told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

The workers were not mistreated by the Ministry of Manpower inspection team, the official insisted, responding to allegations of abuse.

It was reported at the end of May that around 1,000 illegal workers working on a project at Muscat International Airport were detained after it was discovered they held visas for other job titles.

In April, Oman declared a general amnesty for illegal workers. More than 55,000 foreigners are expected to take advantage of the offer that began on May 3 and ends on July 30.

More than 3,400 illegal foreign workers have so far applied for the amnesty to leave the country without being penalised.

7,500 illegal workers also applied to their embassies in Oman in preparation to finish their documents to apply for the amnesty, the official said.

Moreover, 752 illegal workers applied at the Ministry of Manpower to correct their status.

The official added that 214,000 expatriates workers violated the labour law in 2014.

More than 1,239 inspection visits have been paid to companies so far in 2015.

Illegal workers will be exempt from paying fines and will only have to pay for their ticket home, according to the official.

Illegal workers who wish to stay and work in Oman, can correct their status, the official added.

The amnesty does not include infiltrators, but covers those who have overstayed their visas or absconded.

Salim Al Badi, Director-General of Labour Welfare at the Ministry of Manpower, said that the authorities have intensified the monitoring of illegal workers to curb increasing violations of the labour law.

Workers who violate labour laws can be fined, deported and even face a lifetime ban on coming to Oman, said Al Badi. Companies will have to pay a minimum fine of 2,000 rials (Dh19,080) while private employers face a minimum fine of 1,000 rials.

Companies found in violation will also be banned from obtaining visas for foreign workers for one year.

The Ministry of Manpower is also studying a proposal to establish an independent company to hire foreign workers, Al Badi said.

Such a company would help regulate the labour market and minimise the number of absconding workers.

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Author:Fahad Al Mukrashi Correspondent
Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jun 11, 2015
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