Over 100 members of the OABC have attended a highly anticipated event focusing on laws, regulations and incentives related to Omanization and training. OABC members were given a unique opportunity to directly engage with high level directors from the Ministry of Manpower to receive clarifications and share their experiences and challenges with corporate labor practices in Oman.

Representatives from the Ministry of Manpower included Mr. Mohammed Al Hinai Sheikh, Minister Advisor for Human Resource development, Mr. Salim Naseer Al Hadrami, Director General of Development and Planning, Mr. Salim Abdulaziz Al Mashakhi, Director General of Employment, Mr. Harib Al Mahrooqi, Assistant Director General of Directorate of Vocational Standards and Curriculum Development, and Mr. Abdulla Murad Al Mullahi, Director of International Organizations and Foreign Relations.

Insights regarding the recently announced two year ban on expatriate workforce visa renewal, limited labor clearances for women, possibilities for reduced Omanization requirements and other labor law key changes were put forward to the ministry representatives by the event moderator, Ahmed Al Barwani, who heads the Al Tamimi law office in Oman. Additional questions from the audience were highlighted in a Q&A session following the dialogue.
“Our main objective today is to help the American business community in Oman to better understand and comply with Omanization legislation,” said Ali Daud, Chairman of the OABC, adding, “the OABC platform is directly focused on adding value for our membership and supporting the business community advocate for the change that makes it easier to do business.”

The questions put forward were reflective of the increasing challenges faced by the private sector and particularly faced by foreign companies that have been discouraged by stringent Omanization requirements and paradoxical government mandates. For instance, the government’s recent move to unify its pay scale has increased the attractiveness of the public sector, while the government increases pressure on the private sector to create attractive jobs for the local workforce.

Sarah Jackson from AMIDEAST, who is also a long standing member of the OABC, commented, “The OABC is really pleased that the Ministry of Manpower made this event possible by enabling its representatives to engage with our members in an open and direct dialogue. It was an extremely valuable session, and we are hopeful that we can host similar events in the future that will contribute to expanded cooperation between the public and private sectors.”

Last month the OABC had organized an event focusing on trade and investment in Iran in light of the status updates on Iran Sanctions, where its membership heard from Peter Harrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counter Threat Finances and Sanctions at the U.S. Department of State. Earlier in the month the OABC also played a supporting role in the US Trade Mission to Oman 2014 under the patronage of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, which hosted 20 US companies representing a variety of sectors on a formal trade delegation visit to Oman.

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