Printer Friendly

Nine a day become illegal immigrants in Oman.

Muscat: Nine expat workers run away from their employers every day on average in Oman, according to statistics from the Ministry of Manpower. The figures have reignited calls for investigation and debate on the causes, as the Sultanate offers an immigration amnesty to illegal expatriates to turn themselves in without penalty. According to the ministry, the construction sector tops the list of absconders. Labourers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers in the construction make up 70 per cent of absconders with salesmen and workers in showrooms in the retail sector making up the second largest number of absconders. The domestic workers sector ranks third. "The numbers of expatriate absconders in the country is rising all the time. It is not getting any better. I think it is time the government conducts a proper study why it is happening. We need to document this problem and create a database so we can learn from it. This is the only way we can solve this problem. We have to stop assuming that it is the fault of absconders and blame them. Employers need to take the responsibility as well," Hareb Al Harmi, an independent manpower expert, told Times of Oman. A Ministry of Manpower official told Times of Oman that a study has been proposed to find the reasons for workers fleeing away from employers so that the ministry can take corrective measures. Labour law While commenting on the absconding workers issue, an embassy official said that workers should follow the labour law and avoid landing in trouble by going into hiding. Rough estimates from four main embassies state that around 50,000 migrant workers are eligible to make use of the amnesty. However, the numbers of overstaying, absconding and illegal workers who have registered with the ministry up until last week was only around 3,200. Rabiul Islam, labour counsellor at Bangladesh embassy in Oman, said, "When a dispute arises, the worker should approach his embassy, the Sultanate's labour department and the court to resolve the issues other than going into hiding." "By taking a decision on their own and by going into absconding, they will land in more and more trouble," he said. An Indian social worker expressed the same view. "Absconding is not at all a solution. The workers will be ruining their life by going into hiding. Hardships they have to face as an absconder will be beyond imagination," Shaji Sebastin, a Muscat-based social worker, said while adding that the low number of workers seeking amnesty at the embassies is disappointing. However, a migrant rights activist said the reasons behind why a worker goes into hiding should also be studied in detail. "Majority of the migrant worker go into hiding after they land in a hostile situation following a dispute with the employer. But running away from the employer is not a solution. The disputes should be resolved legally. The moment they worker develops a dispute with the employer, they should seek their embassy help and resolve it," Bheem Reddy, a migrant rights activist and a legal advisor in India, said. Under the current amnesty, the government has asked all absconders and illegal workers to come forward so they can return home without punishment. In 2005, more than 40,000 went home voluntarily and about 60,000 returned in 2007. Labour inspectors, in collaboration with the police, rounded up more than 4,000 illegal workers last year, 10 per cent more than in 2013. This year so far, more than 900 have been arrested and deported. The amnesty, which began on May 3, will continue until July 31. Reporters can be reached at

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2015 Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( ).
COPYRIGHT 2015 SyndiGate Media Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:May 17, 2015
Previous Article:Egyptian troupe in a colourful dance show at Oman's ROHM.
Next Article:Do you need to cancel your Oman visa if you are leaving for another country? Our legal expert answers.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters