Labor Laws Concerning Migrants in Oman
The following document is in reference to Oman’s Labor Law that governs workers in the private sectors. If you work in a private company, you are entitled to receive the rights guaranteed by the labor Law.
There are exceptions. If you are a domestic worker (working in a private house as a maid or gardener), or an employee in armed forces, public security organizations or state administrative organ and other government units, you do not fall under the protection of the Labour Law. This means in terms of work, you are only protected by what is mentioned in the contract with the employer, which is enforceable through a civil court.
Section I: Labor Laws for Private Sector Workers
1. Should I be charged a recruitment fee?
It is prohibited for recruitment agencies to charge fees to workers.
2. What are the necessary permits I must obtain before I can start working?
The employer must obtain individual employment visas for each worker that has to be sponsored. The employer must submit an employment visa application to the Immigration Department of the Royal Oman Police.
Once the employment visa is cleared for the worker by the employer, the expatriate must obtain a residence card to legally reside in Oman for the duration of employment. This is done when the foreign employee reaches Oman.
Upon arrival, workers must visit the Civil Status Department of the Royal Oman Police to obtain the residence card within 30 days of entry. The employee will undergo a blood test at a medical center and fingerprinting. Once the data has been collected, the Directorate General of Civil Status will issue the resident card to the employee, which is valid for two years.
Employees need to provide:
- Two recent passport photographs
- Original passport
- Copy of the passport
Once the employment visa and residence card has been received by the employee, they may commence work with the employer in Oman.
3. Can my employer confiscate my passport?
o. It is prohibited for employers to confiscate workers’ passports. Workers do not need an exit permit to leave the country.
4. What should the employment contract include?
The contract must be drafted in Arabic, and each party must retain one copy. This will list the conditions of employment and include a detailed job description, including a clear list of rights and responsibilities. The contract will be shared with the worker before they migrate to Oman.
5. Is there a minimum wage that I am entitled to?
There is no law mandating minimum wage in Oman.
6. Am I allowed to join a trade union?
Yes. All workers are allowed to join trade unions.
7. Am I entitled to a minimum wage?
There is no applicable minimum wage for foreign nationals working in Oman.
8. How often should I be paid a wage?
Employers have to pay workers at least on a monthly basis through the Wage Protection System to an accredited bank, within seven days from the end of the period when wages become due. Employers who make late payments are subject to a penalty of OMR100 (US$260) per employee.
9. What are the legal working hours, or maximum hour limit in Oman?
Workers cannot work for more than nine hours a day, 48 hours per week. Workers must receive at least a 30-minute break for every six hours of continuous work done. During the month of Ramadan, the maximum working hours shall not exceed six hours a day, or 30 hours a week for Muslim employees.
Workers are entitled to 2 rest days a week.
10. How much should I be paid for working over-time?
Overtime compensation depends on the type of day when the task is performed.
- During weekly working days
- 125 percent for daytime hours
- 150 percent for nighttime hours
During weekly rest:
- 200 percent
During national holidays:
- 200 percent
Overall working hours – initial and over-time combined – cannot exceed 12 hours per day.
11. Am I entitled to an annual leave?
Workers are entitled to 30 days of full paid leave upon completion of six months of service. They are also entitled to a paid, six-day emergency leave once a year.
Workers can also ask for up to ten weeks of paid sick leave per year, with payment divided as follows:
- 1st and 2nd week – gross wage;
- 3rd and 4th week – three-quarters of gross wage;
- 5th and 6th week – half of gross wage; and
- 7th to 10th week – one-quarter of gross wage.
12. Am I legally allowed to join a trade union?
Yes. All workers can join a trade union.
13. Will I receive an end-of-service gratuity?
Yes. All workers are entitled to an end of service gratuity that amounts to the 15-day basic salary for each year of service.
14. What is the legal procedure for resolving a dispute with my employer?
Workers who allege unfair dismissal have 15 days from the date of dismissal to apply to the Ministry of Staff. The ministry will attempt an amicable settlement of the dispute.
If a settlement is not reached within two weeks, or if one has been reached but one of the parties refuses to implement it, the matter shall be referred to the competent court. In case of other types of disputes, the worker must first follow the grievance procedures set down by the employer, 15 but if unsuccessful or no procedure is in place, the worker may apply to the Ministry of Staff, which will attempt an amicable settlement.
15. Do I need my employer’s permission to change jobs in the state of Oman?
Workers can change jobs with the employer’s permission at any time. Transfer of a migrant worker’s sponsorship to another employer is permitted if:
- the employment contract with the existing employer has ended or was terminated (evidence must be shown);
- the new prospective employer meets Omanization requirements;
- and the new prospective employer has been granted the requisite labor clearance from the Ministry of Staff as being authorized to employ the migrant worker.
Employers can file absconding charges against workers. Workers have 60 days from the filing of the absconding notice to object and submit their evidence. If the absconding charge is not disputed, the worker may be subject to a fine that ranges between OMR400 (US$1,040) to OMR800 (US$2,079), deportation and an entry ban.
Section II: COVID-19 Related Developments in Oman
Authorities have announced a reduction to the labor clearance fees for expatriate employees from OMR 301 to OMR 201. This cost is incurred by the employers.
- Authorities have allowed the renewal of expired residence/labor cards of expatriate employees who have been unable to return to Oman during the lockdown period and cancellation of fines for non-renewal.
- Authorities have issued temporary work visas for expatriate employees.
- The Ministry of labor has confirmed that employers who face financial hardship may terminate their expatriate employees, subject to all entitlements being paid out and repatriation arranged. However, employers should exercise caution as ultimately, the Oman courts will be the final arbiter in deciding whether such terminations are lawful.